The New South Wales Rural Fire Service has issued an asbestos warning, urging residents of Tathra to stay away from the town.
With 69 homes destroyed and 39 damaged in bushfires across the NSW south coast town, Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the deadly particles may be now airborne thanks to the burning buildings, Nine News reports.
"The other compounding factor is that the main road between Bega and Tathra is part of the control line we are using to try to control the south-west corner of the uncontained fire, so there are a range of variables," he said.
"We are not trying to be insensitive or disrespectful to those who are already suffering so much, but their safety is at the forefront, and the safety of other people involved.
"We will try to get them back as soon as we can."
If you're worried about family in the Tathra area, call the Public Information Inquiry Centre on 1800 227 228.