A bushfire emergency forced residents to evacuate homes at Bawley Point on Thursday as a northwesterly wind pushed fire into the town.
Two helicopters water bombed the blaze as it reached the western side of Marramarang Road, one of the town's main streets, where multiple homes fronted on the eastern side.
There are unconfirmed reports of one home being lost in the blaze.
Bushfire moved up behind properties at the north of Bawley Point as residents began to evacuate to the beach in the afternoon.
Marine Rescue Ulladulla evacuated some residents from Bawley Point's shore to Ulladulla, while others left their homes and stayed at the town's coastline watching fire reach the water to Bawley Point's north.
Firefighters defended homes as a thick blanket of bushfire smoke descended, darkened the town and reduced visibility to 100 metres.
Fire skirted around the back of the Bawley Point Bushfire Brigade's sheds and threatened properties near Thrush Street.
Bawley Point resident of 14 years Brett Cuthbert evacuated his home and stayed at the shoreline, while his son earlier was evacuated to Ulladulla by boat.
After a northwesterly pushed the fire across Willinga Lake towards Bawley Point a southerly change in the late afternoon had Mr Cuthbert relieved, but fearing for the homes of others.
"We've never had a fire through here for as long as I remember," he said.
His house is close to bushland and could have been in the fire's path if the southerly hadn't arrived.
"Tonight and tomorrow I would've lost my house, my parents would've lost their house," Mr Cuthbert said.
"I knew it was coming and I had my motorbike, I could've taken it up the tracks but on the other hand, it's not worth your life."
Bawley Point resident Damien Gillard watched as fire edged onto Marramarang Road's western side. He was looking out for spot fires but was ready to evacuate down Tingira Drive to the shore if fire began destroying properties.
"There's no other neighbours around, anywhere I see fires around I'll get onto it and when it gets too big I'll head off out of here," he said.
You get more comfortable with it, the closer it gets to you. I'm just going to stay here, hang, and defend my property.
Resident Brett Croan evacuated his home, leaving on his motorcycle, as the fire moved towards the back of his Shearwater Crescent property at Bawley Point.
Firefighters moved hoses behind houses as they prepared to defend them.
"I don't need to be here, the boys will take care of the place. See how we go," Mr Croan said.
He had lived at Bawley Point for 18 years and had never seen fire get so close.
"It gets pretty frightening and serious now, and I got to get going," he said.
Earlier on Thursday afternoon fire hit the edge of Willinga Lake and jumped across before it raced to Bawley Point town.
Jon Cleary, living south of Meroo Lake, put out two spot fires on his property as the blaze edged on the lake nearby his home.
Fire crews battle to save homes on Thrush Street in Bawley Point on Thursday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
A westerly or northwesterly change threatened to push the fire towards his property.
"We're just hoping it doesn't cross Bawley Point Road into our place," Mr Cleary said.
Flames on the lake edge were roaring as Mr Cleary watched the fire intensify.
"You can start to hear it now. You get that freight train noise," he said.
Mr Cleary, who lived in Duffy during the 2003 Canberra fires, was alone defending his property from the blaze at Bawley Point.
He said it was almost a relief to have the fire get close after days of warnings and sleepless nights.
"You get more comfortable with it, the closer it gets to you," he said.
"I'm just going to stay here, hang, and defend my property."
Bawley Point resident Alan Swanson at 2.30pm waited at his newly-built property on the town's northern edge as fire approached with a strong north westerly wind.
His daughters had evacuated on Friday to Ulladulla and he stayed behind to defend the home.
"I've hosed it down but it evaporates very quickly," he said.
Mr Swanson had boarded windows and cut back vegetation.
His plan was to drive to the beach if the fire got too close to his home.
"I'll stay while I still have access to Bawley Point," he said.
"If it becomes panicky there's lots and lots of fire crew here and there's a house I can stay at. And of course, I can swim."
Mr Swanson, a woodworker who previously studied at Canberra, said the anxiety made him focused.
"I feel reasonably safe. I'm concerned that it's the only house I own and I did make it myself," he said.