Three bushfires burning in the Snowy Valleys and Greater Hume regions merged into one massive fire more than 550,000 hectares in size on Friday night.
Soaring temperatures and gale-force winds saw the Dunns Road, East Ournie Creek and Green Valley fires come together into a huge multiple-front blaze.
The Rural Fire Service and other emergency services crews, as well as residents, spent Friday preparing as best they could for what was forecast to be extreme weather conditions.
As of 10.30pm on Friday night, the fire was burning out-of-control on a number of fronts, threatening properties in Tumbarumba, Ournie, Mannus, Mount Adrah, Tumbaloma, Tumblong and Adelong.
The Hume Highway was closed in both directions between Tarcutta and Coolac due to bushfire activity and motorists were being urged to delay non-essential travel.
A severe weather warning for damaging winds was issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, firefighters were concerned the gusts would increase the risk of ember attacks and bring down trees left weakened and burned after fires swept through the area last weekend.
Speaking from the fire control centre at Tumut ahead of the deteriorating weather, Bradley Stewart from the Rural Fire Service said firefighters were expecting an afternoon of low humidity, high temperatures, windy conditions and an unstable atmosphere.
He warned the winds were also likely to blow down trees that were burned in fires that swept through the Batlow and Tumbarumba areas last weekend.
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