Firefighters are working through the night to contain a number of bushfires in New South Wales as gale-force winds tear across large parts of southern Australia.
The Rural Fire Service's Brendan Doyle says crews are extending containment lines around a grassfire at Berridale, in the Snowy Mountains.
"It has burnt over 200 hectares of grassland and we saw up to 12 homes under threat during the day but that threat has eased," he said.
Patrols are in place around a bushfire west of Jamberoo; near Putty north of the Hawkesbury and around Tenterfield and the Clarence Valley to the north.
In the central west millions of wool bales in a cotton Gin near Warren continue to burn overnight, as fire crews work to prevent the fire spreading.
In Victoria, the State Emergency Service (SES) has received more than 2,000 calls for help as winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour batter the state.
Trains were suspended on the Hurstbridge and Lilydale lines in the state capital because of fallen trees.
SES spokesman Trevor White says the destruction has been widespread.
"We will see more severe winds coming again throughout the night, so it looks like being a busy period ahead," he said.
The Bureau of Meteorology's Kevin Parkyn says the wind will pick up again.
"There's real concern that we will see a second burst of intense winds with damaging wind gusts of 100 to 120 kilometres per hour," he said.
"Then on Friday we will see a cold outbreak affect the state and winds will turn [into a] strong-to-gale-force south-westerly."
SES spokesman Chris Greenwood says motorists should stay with their cars if they are isolated on remote roads.
"Find a clearer spot that you can actually get to to get away from as many trees as possible," he said.
"Where practical, stay by your vehicle. If it's not safe to stay in the vehicle, stay by it or somewhere near it as well because you're easier to locate that way."
The SES is also urging people to secure any lose items and keep clear of fallen powerlines.
The wild weather is also fanning bushfires near Nowa Nowa and Swifts Creek in East Gippsland
Fires near the Yallourn coal mine and in the Strezlecki Ranges have been brought under control.
The Country Fire Authority says most of them were caused by burn-offs getting out of control.
Meanwhile, power is gradually being restored to thousands of homes across South Australia, as a deep low moves east across the southern part of the state.
The weather bureau has issued a severe weather warning for several areas including Kangaroo Island and the south-east.
It has forecasted gale force winds with squalls of more than 100 kilometres per hour in some places.
John Carr from the State Emergency Service says they have already had hundreds of calls for assistance.
"They're predicting some very strong winds still and we still have a severe weather warning current, so we're taking that advice and expecting more and more to come throughout the evening," he said.
© ABC 2012
12:29 EST The Marshall Islands government has denied there's drought-related social unrest in its northern atolls.