Hundreds of people have been rescued from beaches and tens of thousands have been told to evacuate with more hot weather and strong winds set to worsen Australia's devastating bushfires.
With over 200 fires already burning, and more predicted, the country's navy launched what has been billed as the largest peacetime evacuation in Australia's history.
Thousands have already fled at-risk coastal areas, creating traffic gridlock in places, and firefighters escorted convoys of evacuees as fires threatened to close roads.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrew declared a disaster across much of the eastern part of the state, allowing the government to order evacuations in an area with as many as 140,000 permanent residents and tens of thousands more tourists.
"If you can leave, you must leave," he said.
Around five million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land have burned, at least 19 people have been killed, and more than 1,400 homes have been destroyed.
This week, at least 448 homes have been destroyed on the New South Wales southern coast and dozens were burned in Victoria.
Ten deaths have been confirmed in the two states this week, and Victoria authorities also say 28 people are missing.
Fires are also burning in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
The navy is evacuating hundreds from the Victorian coastal town of Mallacoota, which has been cut off for days by wildfires, forcing as many as 4,000 residents and tourists to shelter on beaches.
Landing craft ferried people to the HMAS Choules offshore.
Commander Scott Houlihan said 963 people had signed up for evacuation by sea and more had been airlifted to safety.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had called for calm on Thursday, before visiting the fire-devastated town of Cobargo.
Footage showed Mr Morrison being confronted by a group of angry locals , one of whom shouted he should be "ashamed of himself" and said he had "left the country to burn".
Eyewitness: Evacuees flee with little more than hand luggage
By Tom Cheshire, Sky News correspondent in Mallacoota
The evacuees walked down the quayside with the little they were allowed to take on board: hand luggage, pillows, teddy bears and even a sausage dog.
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They'd been stuck in Mallacoota, in Victoria, since Sunday, without power or with the roads blocked. Now the Navy was giving them a way out.
It was a complex operation, suited to the military. Around 1,000 people signed up to leave. Two large boats, HMS Choules and MV Sycamore, waited for them in open water.
To get there, though, they had to take small boatloads. Amphibious craft called LARCS rolled out of the water and up the pier to collect people. Ferried to the big boats, evacuees were then set for a 20 hour voyage south to safety.
We left Mallacoota by boat and took some evacuees with us. They included a funk band who'd been scheduled to play New Year's Eve there but who ended up fending off fires from the venue. They were more than happy to leave.
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