The death toll from the NSW fires has risen to seven after the body of a man fleeing the NSW south-coast fires was found in a burnt-out car near Yatte Yattah near Lake Conjola this morning.

Three people were confirmed dead today, two found in separate vehicles and another in the family home. The fatalities are on top of the father and son found dead in Cobargo on New Years Eve and the firefighter who died near Albury when his truck rolled in a freak firestorm.

“Today we have the three deaths. The police have confirmed at Yatte Yattah, a body found in a vehicle there, which is near Lake Conjola," NSW police deputy commissioner Gary Worboys said.

"One at Sussex Inlet, a body in a vehicle. And ambulance officers have told us about a body that they have located as well, deceased. Unfortunately, I hate the number of homes we’ve lost but at the end of the day this is about people’s lives. That’s the most important thing right now."

Tragedy as NSW bushfire death toll rises to seven_1
Inset: RFS volunteer Sam McPaul, left, pictured with wife Megan, tragically died in a truck rollover.

176 homes have now been lost in the NSW south coast fires

Hardest hit was Conjola Park where 89 homes have been lost. In Malula Bay 40 homes are confirmed lost and in nearby Rosedale 15 homes were destroyed.

In the nation’s capital, huge smoke clouds have forced hundreds of residents to wear face masks in Canberra where the air quality was the worst in the world at 9.30 am according to international air quality index, pipping New Delhi as the worst of the worst.

Australians evacuated from land in the path of deadly bushfires still burning on Wednesday are spending the first hours of 2020 awaiting news of whether they still have homes to return to.

At least one family is facing an even more anxious wait, with a 72-year-old man still missing north of Cobargo in NSW.

It comes after a father and son were confirmed dead on New Year’s Eve after fire took hold of their property near the small village. Patrick and Robert Salway were trying to save their farm when the blaze tore through the town.

The deaths of the father and son at Cobargo follow Tuesday morning’s confirmation that a newlywed firefighter who was expecting his first child had also died in a freak ‘firestorm’ that flipped his truck.

While in major cities crowds spent New Year’s Eve marvelling at fireworks spectaculars, firefighters across multiple states were still battling out of control fires.

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In NSW, fire conditions are expected to ease on Wednesday after a cool change – which brought brought gusts of up to 80km/h and dry lightning strikes – crossed the state.