More than 30 people have been injured, a lot of them firefighters.
Vivian Chaplain's daughter-in-law has told how she spoke to her on the phone as flames engulfed her home.
"The situation is very serious", she said in a statement. She was in an absolute panic.
"We haven't heard anything more today ... the whole area is still on fire", she said. There's fire everywhere. I need the boys here now'.
"We still haven't got intelligence from a number of the fire grounds that we know have been impacted dramatically", Fitzsimmons told Nine Network television. "That's when me and bub got out of there, but my partner's parents stayed back to try and protect the house and animals". "I tried so many times".
Some 100 blazes pockmarked the New South Wales and Queensland countryside, around eight of them remained highly unsafe.
About 1,000 firefighters are attempting to tackle the blazes in New South Wales, supported by water-bombing aircraft.
Fire officials say there were almost 100 active fires in New South Wales on Friday, with dozens reaching "out of control" status.
Hundreds of people fled their homes along a 500-kilometre swathe of the eastern seaboard from the Queensland state border south to Forster.
Shane Fitzsimmons, New South Wales Fire Service Commissioner, said they have sent out more than 1,000 firefighters and over 70 aircrafts working on the fires, as well as dozens of heavy planter machinery.
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A body was found in a burnt-out building on Saturday afternoon after fires swept through the township of Johns River near Taree.
Another five people have been reported missing in the vicinity of the same fire.
Mr Fitzsimmons said the blazes they battled yesterday - at one point fighting 100 fires, a record 17 of which were at emergency level all at once - had them in "uncharted territory", with seasoned firefighters of some 60 years experience saying they had never seen such conditions.
"Unfortunately, many people have called for help but due to the size and speed of the fires we couldn't get to everyone, even by road or helicopter", the agency tweeted.
"It is a very volatile and very risky set of circumstances that we are experiencing right across these fire grounds in New South Wales". "There are really grave concerns that there could be more losses or indeed more fatalities".
Rescued koalas have been treated in the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, in which creature carers are feeding them chamomile leaves and formulation and bandaging their wounds.
One blaze cut a destructive path through this community near Taree.
The annual Australian fire season, which peaks during the Southern Hemisphere summer, has started early after an unusually warm and dry winter.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says her thoughts are with all those affected by the fires.