llawarra firefighters will be on high alert on Thursday, with heatwave conditions forecast across the region.
Temperatures are expected to rise significantly across much of the state, with the mercury expected to hit 38 degrees in Wollongong and Kiama and 40 degrees in Albion Park and Nowra.
The fire risk will increase throughout the day as the heat intensifies and combines with strong gusty winds, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
NSW Rural Fire Service Illawarra District Manager Superintendent Greg Wardle said additional crews would be on standby at the Albion Park control centre due to the dangerous fire conditions.
"We will have increased incident management team personnel in the fire control centre and five applications on standby, ready to assist neighbouring districts or to provide a heavy weight of attack to any fires in the Illawarra," he said.
"Rain has helped some of the significant fires surrounding the Illawarra, allowing fire crews to consolidate containment lines.
"However the bush is still dry, and fire can develop very quickly under the conditions that are forecast for Thursday.
"There's huge areas of fire edge that crews continue to control and mop up, and aircraft will also be in use as surveillance to try and pick up any movement in these contained areas."
The Green Wattle Creek fire in the Southern Highlands, and the Currowan Fire which has spread up the South Coast and into Kangaroo Valley are currently at 'advice' level.
"Should the Currowan fire develop and break containment lines, especially in the Carrington Falls areas, it would be a concern for the Illawarra," Supt Wardle said.
"Similarly with the Green Wattle Creek fire, if it breaks containment and crosses the Hume Highway it poses some concern to the Illawarra as well."
Supt Wardle urged residents to be vigilant on Thursday, and consider their need to go into any areas of bushland.
"We'd ask residents to consider their need to undertake activities like bushwalking for instance," he said.
Total fire bans are now in force for the South Western, Far Western & North Western fire areas. Severe fire danger is forecast. Hot, dry & windy weather will make fires difficult to control. Important that you & your household know what to do if threatened by fire. #NSWRFSpic.twitter.com/YXrigwVejr— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 21, 2020
"We'd also ask those who live near bushland to be prepared, to review their bushfire survival plan, and if they see smoke or fire to dial Triple 0."
Supt Wardle said the rain had given crews a welcome reprieve from duty, to ready them for the remainder of the bushfire season.
"Since September in the Illawarra we've deployed 124 strike teams all across NSW," he said.
"That's a significant amount of movement which has seen 2351 personnel deployed across different areas.
"The easing in conditions over the last week has allowed our members to recuperate, undertake maintenance and repair on their equipment, and to regroup for the rest of the season.
"There's still a long season ahead of us."
Meantime there's a chance of a thunderstorm on Thursday evening before the mercury drops to the high 20s on Friday and into the weekend.