As the region braces itself for today's catastrophic weather conditions, similar fears were being felt in December, 1979.
On Wednesday, December 19, 1979 the Shoalhaven and Nowra News reported the Shoalhaven district was facing one of its busiest tourist seasons on record.
The report stated 100,000 holidaymakers were about to emerge on a region so dry "that it was about to explode."
Local fire brigades provided the following information, which was printed under the headline 'A crisis situation'.
Never in living history has the bush fire danger been so grave.
A decade of abundant growth has been subjected to sweltering heat and strong winds.
The yearly rainfall is the lowest for 10 years and the driest in 72 years for the past six months.
Temperatures generally have been above average and have hovered around 38 degrees.
Already a number of minor outbreaks have occurred but these have been quickly contained.
All fire brigades, town and bush, in the City of Shoalhaven have been put on alert to meet any emergency situation.
A special meeting was held with top level officials from emergency organisations, such as the State Emergency Service, the police, the ambulance, fire brigades and council, late yesterday afternoon to adopt a master plan for the critical summer weeks ahead.
Every effort is being made to maintain essential services such as water. The police also expected the biggest influx of motorists ever seen at one time in the Shoalhaven. This is because of the petrol crisis and the increasing cost of fuel.
Extra police have been sent to Nowra.
Motorcycle police from north Sydney will join local highway patrolmen and in particular, with blitz drink drivers.
Temporary police stations have been established at Huskisson and Sussex Inlet to cope with the big tourist population in those areas.
Leave for all police officers and ambulance has been cancelled.
To say that December has been a dry month would be the understatement of 1979.
A total of 7.2mm (29 points) of rain has been recorded at HMAS Albatross for the month. On Tuesday, December 4 a rainfall of 6.2mm (25 points) fell. On December 7 the big rainfall of 1mm (four points) was recorded. Slight drizzle on December 9 and December 11 did not even register on the rain gauge at Albatross.