A fire that could double in size was the worst-case scenario presented to South Coast residents at a community meeting at Ulladulla Civic Centre on Friday afternoon.
NSW Rural Fire Service incident controller for the Currowan fire Mark Williams told a large crowd that firefighters were doing the best they could in the circumstances.
He said weather conditions were expected to be "benign" over the weekend, but they were preparing for another challenging day on Monday and into next week.
"It is possible, although we will be putting every bit of effort to make sure that doesn't happen, that this fire could double in the size it currently is and we could be here for many, many, many weeks yet," Mr Williams said.
"We have a large amount of wilderness to the west - beautiful wilderness that we all love and enjoy - which once it gets fire in the landscape there is difficulty to contain and once we've got it in that landscape we have to fall back to the known options which could, and worse case scenario, see the fire to the north progress up to Braidwood Road, and as far south as Moruya.
"Make no bones about it, I'm not here to gloss over anything, but I need the community to be aware this is a fire emergency, it is a matter we are treating significantly."
Mr Williams said over the coming days firefighters would conduct backburning (which will create a significant amount of smoke), but given the level of drought stress on the vegetation, there was only a 50-50 chance of it being effective.
"We are pouring every single resource we possibly can, given the priority levels across the state with the other fires that are going on around the area... to get this under control as soon as possible."
He said they were "quietly hopeful" that the forecast easterly will bring high humidity and less intensity to the fires.
"No significant rainfall is forecast until February or March next year. This drought is going to continue and continue to dry out the landscape and increase the fire threat through the summer. This is what we're up against."
The fire started on November 26 and the cause, thought to be a lightning strike, will be formally investigated.
As of Friday there were in excess of 200 firefighters on the ground, more than 50 firefighting units, 40 heavy dozers and tree lopping equipment "and the like", 12 aircraft, and 27 people in incident management.
"It's a 24/7 job, a huge task, a logistical nightmare," Mr Williams said.
Local crews were being assisted by Victorian crews, and four specialists from the US were expected to arrive on Tuesday, December 10.
Mr Williams praised everyone who had heeded the warnings and advice.