Australia bushfires: 'Significant damage and destruction' - Blazes continue to rage out of control

Heavy winds have complicated firefighters' efforts to contain raging bushfires across Australia.

Dozens of blazes continue to threaten lives and it's feared many properties have been lost overnight.

Thousands of people are fleeing coastal towns, but some residents in areas of NSW are being told it's too late to leave.

The death toll from the devastating fires since New Year's Eve stands at 13.

"At midnight (local time), with the threat still not over, there are seven fires at emergency warning and 11 at watch and act," the NSW Rural Fire Service said on Twitter.

About 1am (local time), there were still multiple bushfires burning at the highest threat levels, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said.

"Right across these fire grounds we are increasingly getting reports of significant damage and destruction," said NSW Rural Fire Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.

"Some areas alone are reporting at least 15 properties alight in some locations," Fitzsimmons told ABC Australia on Saturday night.

Victoria declared a state of disaster earlier this week and issued two additional "evacuate now" alerts overnight.

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