Australia's Prime Minister has been confronted by angry residents during a visit to a fire-ravaged town, with locals calling him an "idiot" and telling him to "p*** off".

Scott Morrison visited the town of Cobargo in New South Wales (NSW) where a father and son died on Monday as bushfires raged in the area.

Locals criticised Mr Morrison for the lack of equipment provided to deal with the fires in the town.

"Every single time this area has a flood or a fire, we get nothing.

"If we were Sydney, if we were north coast, we would be flooded with donations with urgent emergency relief," one resident told him.

Another resident refused to shake Mr Morrison's hand, while others heckled him, shouting at him to "don't come back. You're not f****** welcome".

The Prime Minister also visited firefighters of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service in nearby Quaama, where one of them refused to shake his hand.

Mr Morrison said he understood the "very strong feelings that people have, they've lost everything".

The PM had come under criticism for taking a family holiday to Hawaii in December as wildfires ravaged parts of Australia.

A firefighter refuses to shake Scott Morrison's hand. Credit: AuBC/AP

The 51-year-old cut short his family holiday two days after two volunteer firefighters died battling the blazes.

At the funeral of Geoffrey Keaton on Thursday, his toddler son received posthumous bravery and service awards on behalf of his father.

Geoffrey Keaton's toddler son receives his father's posthumous award. Credit: Twitter/NSW Rural Fire Service

Also on Thursday, a week-long state of emergency was declared in NSW.

It comes as evacuations continue and thousands flee a vast "tourist leave zone" on Australia’s wildfire-ravaged eastern coast.

The military has also begun evacuating people trapped on the shore further south.

Ahead of higher temperatures and strong winds forecast for Saturday, likely worsening conditions, Victoria's premier Daniel Andrews also declared a state of disaster for the state - the first time such powers have been used.

Cooler weather since Tuesday has aided firefighting and allowed people to replenish supplies which had been running low in cut-off towns.

Vehicles formed long lines at petrol stations and supermarkets, with traffic gridlocked as highways reopened.

The fire has destroyed homes. Credit: Matthew Abbott / New York Times / Redux / eyevine

With conditions expected to worsen, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a seven-day state of emergency beginning on Friday morning due to the "unpredictable nature of firefronts".

She also urged people to follow the advice of the emergency services to "stay safe".

  • Dan Rivers looks ahead to the weekend and evacuation plans in place

"Given the worsening conditions we know that are ahead of us on Saturday, given what our state's been through in the last few days, especially on New Year's Eve, we will be declaring a state of emergency from 9am tomorrow (Friday) that will last seven days," she said.

Boats are pulled ashore as smoke and wildfires rage behind Lake Conjola, Australia. Credit: AP

“There is every potential that the conditions on Saturday will be as bad or worse than we saw (on Tuesday),” New South Wales Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.

Authorities said 381 homes had been destroyed on the New South Wales (NSW) southern coast this week, while 18 people have died since the fires began burning.

At least eight people have died this week in NSW and neighbouring Victoria, Australia’s two most-populous states, where more than 200 fires are currently burning.

Speaking to ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers in Australia, one resident said his two-storey home was destroyed by the fire.

He said: "I jumped in the car, it was so hot, the heat I can't describe how hot it was and the ferocity and the speed of this fire.

"Anyone that thought they were going to beat this fire was really taking life into their own hands."

"My house is gone, it's just disintegrated, all I'm looking at now is a roof," he added.

Almost 450 homes have been destroyed in NSW and Victoria. Credit: AP

NSW authorities have ordered tourists to leave a 155-mile zone along the picturesque south coast, which state Transport Minister Andrew Constance described as the “largest mass relocation of people out of the region that we’ve ever seen”.

In Victoria, where 68 homes have burned this week, the military was helping thousands of people who fled to the shore as a wildfire threatened their homes on Tuesday in the coastal town of Mallacoota.

Navy ships were bringing water, food and fuel to towns where supplies were depleted and roads were cut off by the fires.

Stranded residents and vacationers slept in their cars, and gas stations and surf clubs transformed into evacuation areas.

Food, water, fuel and medical expertise were being delivered and about 500 people were going to be evacuated from the town by a naval ship.

“We think around 3,000 tourists and 1,000 locals are there.

"Not all of those will want to leave, not all can get on the vessel at one time,” Victoria premier Daniel Andrews told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Some 12.35 million acres of land – an area almost the size of Croatia – have burned nationwide over the past few months, with more than 1,300 homes destroyed.

Smoke from the wildfires caused the air quality in the national capital, Canberra, to be the world’s worst.

Prime Minster Scott Morrison said the crisis was likely to last for months.

“It (fires) will continue to go on until we can get some decent rain that can deal with some of the fires that have been burning for many, many months,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Thursday.

Mr Morrison also defended his government's record on tackling climate change as he faced questions about the wildfires.

"Well, I've always acknowledged the link, as has the minister, between the broader issues of global climate change and what that means for the world's weather and the dryness of conditions in many places," he said.

"But I'm sure you would also agree that no response by any one government anywhere in the world can be linked to any one fire event.

"And I don't think you're suggesting that here in New South Wales, Victoria or anywhere else."

Smoke from the fires has made the air in Canberra the world's worst. Credit: AP

Meteorologists say a climate system in the Indian Ocean, known as the dipole, is the main driver behind the extreme heat in Australia.

However, many parts of the country have been in drought conditions, some for years, which has made it easier for the fires to spread and grow.

More than 200 wildfires are burning across Australia’s two most populous states Credit: Twitter@NSWRFS/AP