Cooler weather across New South Wales and Victoria has given fire crews a chance to get on top of about a dozen fires still burning across the south-east of the country.
All bushfire alerts for the two states were reduced to advice status overnight with fire crews concentrating efforts on taking advantage of cooler weather to build on containment lines.
Late yesterday residents who had fled the townships of Glenmaggie and Seaton, ahead of the large bushfire in the area, were able to go back to assess damage to their properties. Twenty-one homes were destroyed in the area.
The NSW Rural Fire Service says of the 84 fires burning across the state, the blaze causing the most concern is near Coonabarabran in the north-west, which covers 53,000 hectares and has destroyed over 50 homes.
Follow our live coverage for updates throughout the day. (All times AEDT.)
5.27pm: NSW Police are appealing for information about a suspicious bushfire that started at Willans Hill in Wagga Wagga on Thursday night.
Detectives say the fire was deliberately lit and are looking to speak to anyone who was in the area when the fire started around 11.00pm.
4:37pm: An update on the situation in New South Wales:
4:31pm: Firefighters in Victoria hope today's backburning operation will help them contain the blaze which started near Aberfeldy in Gippsland on Thursday.
Fire crews spent today backburning a 180-hectare area of bushland near Glenmaggie and Heyfield.
Firefighter Brian Barwick says the process is necessary for reducing the amount of dry fuel near communities.
The reason why we need to burn these areas out is that if we can't get a mineral earth edge on, then the fire's just going to tickle along on days like today, and then when it gets a bad day it'll just take off. So obviously the whole aim is to get black edge up to a road or a mineral earth break, where we can be pretty assured it's not going to jump on a bad day.
3:22pm: Firefighters in north-west New South Wales spent the morning strengthening containment lines at a major blaze burning in and around the Warrumbungles.
Rain helped to ease the threat throughout the morning, but farmers are concerned it could be weeks before good feed returns for their livestock.
About 200 firefighters and 12 aircraft have been taking advantage of the weather to control the fire.
1:00pm: A short time ago the NSW Rural Fire Service shared this photo of the Yallambee homestead, near Young, on their .
12:15pm: CFA's Lee Miezis says a 180-hectare backburning operation is underway near Glenmaggie and Heyfield, and crews have set up defences at Licola. He says crews will be trying to take advantage of today's milder conditions, before the warmer weather returns on Thursday.
It's spread has certainly slowed and that has enabled crews to really focus on back burning and other operations to consolidate containment lines.
ABC cameraman Patrick Rocca took this photo of the fires near Seaton a short time ago.
11:05am: Victorian authorities say backburning operations are underway to limit the available fuel for the 56,000 hectare fire north-west of Sale, which is burning in difficult terrain. Crews have also been sent to reinforce defences at Licola, about 15 kilometres away from the fire. The CFA's Lee Miezis says smoke from the fire may even be visible in Melbourne. He says crews are trying to get on top of the fire before the warmer weather returns at the end of this week.
We've had backburning operations throughout the night and we'll be undertaking a fairly critical 180 hectare backburn to reduce the fuel load in some unburnt areas around Glenmaggie and Heyfield. That will cause a lot of smoke in that area.
10:16am: Peta Carlyon reports on the easing threat in Victoria's Gippsland region.
9:40am: The NSW Rural Fire Service says 142 fires are now burning across the state, and 29 of them are uncontained. However, Brydie O'Connor from the RFS says conditions are a lot milder across the state today, but more lightning is expected.
We're seeing temperatures generally in the mid-20s, into the 30s. In some areas such as in the Coonabarabran area we're seeing in the mid-30s, however the key difference with yesterday is that we're not seeing those strong winds, so there is a bit of reprieve, however the bureau have advised that we are likely to see some more lightning today.
Lucy Carter reports from the small village of Tooraweenah in New South Wales on the latest on the destructive bushfire near Coonabarabran.
9:24am: Victorian authorities say fire crews are starting backburning operations near Glenmaggie and Heyfield. The fire is expected to double in size before it is brought under control. Incident controller at Heyfield, Michael Masters, says while the blaze is not threatening any communities, it is critical for people in the area to be aware of the changing conditions.
The fire is still behaving erratically. Fire behaviour even overnight when it normally dies down is quite vigorous and so during daylight hours, temperatures heat up and relative humidity drops down, we're seeing increases significantly in fire behaviour.
8:16am: Reporter Peta Carlyon joined ABC News 24 from Heyfield a short time ago. She said residents of the nearby Seaton were hoping to return to their properties for the first time today to see what sort of condition they are in.
There's no immediate threat today to these communities. CFA volunteers... heading out to the fire, they're more containing the fire that's burning around in private properties. They say they'll be able to do solid work today. The threat still looms because the fire is burning in forest in hard to access areas and the threat might come back to some communities later in the week when it heats up. As for now, and today, the immediate threat has passed for now.
It is burning in quite remote areas and residents are up in the town of Licola, a hamlet in a valley right up in the alps, say they expect that fire potentially to reach them in four days time. They also say if it gets more into the forest it is could burn all the way to NSW because of the high fuel loads. That's more uncertain at this time.
7:45am: Deputy incident controller in Coonabarabran, Eric Claussen, says about 200 firefighters, heavy machinery and 12 aircraft will be out battling the blaze today. He says the fire has been persistent in the south-western corner. Milder conditioners are expected over the next few days.
We've still got a lot of work to do but the conditions now really allow us to take hold of it.
7:00am: In New South Wales it has rained in the area near the Warrumbungles National Park at Coonabarabran, where a major fire continues to burn.
A fire in the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, north of Sydney, was contained late last night, but is still creating a lot of smoke. The Rural Fire Service (RFS) says all of the 120 fires burning across the state are at advice alert level or lower.
The RFS's Brydie O'Connor says crews will work today to consolidate containment lines before hot weather returns later in the week.
The focus for us is certainly going to be up at that very large 53,000 hectare fire in the Coonabarabran area. There were 400 firefighters on that fire yesterday... we've had a number of firefighters still working on that one overnight. Certainly it will take more than a few days to fully bring that one under control.
We have got a window of opportunity here. We saw the easing of conditions yesterday, it is likely to extend for another few days, and we are putting as many resources on these fires to take advantage of that before the return of that hot weather later in the week.
Victorian fire crews will take advantage of forecast cooler conditions today to work on building containment lines around a major bushfire burning in Gippsland in the state's east. The fire, which broke out in forest on Thursday, has moved through 55,000 hectares and is expected to keep burning for several days. CFA incident controller Michael Masters says the perimeter of the fire is about 200 kilometres, and stretches through mountainous terrain.
Our focus is trying to build containment lines to keep the fire on the west side of the Macalister River. Our crews are working very hard to do that with large bulldozers and other pieces of earthmoving equipment backed up with our firefighting crews.