As many as 12 people have been killed in a series of devastating bushfires across multiple states in Australia.

Tourists are among those reported to have fled to beaches in an effort to escape the blazes.

More than a dozen “emergency-level” blazes span a 310 mile stretch across two Australian states – from Batemans Bay in New South Wales to Bairnsdale in Victoria.

Several holiday resorts along the coast have been cut off and the main road in the region – the Princes Highway – has been closed.

Navy ships may be called upon to provide food, water and power to the cut-off townships, according to Victoria’s state premier Daniel Andrews.

Extreme temperatures and strong winds have been fanning the flames with 1,000 homes in New South Wales destroyed and fires approaching the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned in updated travel advice: “Australia continues to battle serious bushfires across multiple regions with authorities in some regions declaring a state of emergency and ordering road closures and evacuations.

“If you are in or near an affected area or planning any travel, stay safe, monitor TV news, radio and social media channels for updates, and follow the instructions and advice of local authorities.”

The FCO added: “Bushfires can start and change direction with little or no notice. If you’re travelling in a high-risk bushfire area, follow local authorities’ advice.

“Australia has already battled several devastating bushfires across a number of regions during the current summer season. These fires have resulted in the loss of lives and property with many residents advised to evacuate their homes until it is safe to return.

“If you’re in or near an affected area, stay safe and follow the advice of local authorities.”