A bushfire burning near Port Stephens has been downgraded to a Watch and Act safety level, with firefighters still battling to get the upper hand on the out-of-control blaze.
It is the worst of more than 50 fires burning across the state, with 17 of those yet to be contained, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) advises. More than 700 firefighters are battling blazes.
It is the second straight day firefighters in NSW have been battling blazes in an explosive start to the fire season. Crews spent the night fighting blazes and the fire danger has not abated on Sunday.
The RFS said on Sunday that the fire near Port Stephens had cut the Pacific Highway and was burning on the northern side of the township of Karuah.
Firefighters are continuing to work on the fire at Karuah, Balickera, Limeburners Creek and Swan Bay, it said.
"The fire has spotted over the Karuah River and firefighters are in the area with the assistance of aircraft trying to extinguish these spots," the RFS said.
"Residents of Karuah are advised to shelter in place as the fire front approaches."
The Pacific Highway has been closed in the area.
RFS spokesman Ben Shepherd said Sunday was another difficult day for authorities.
"However it is still warm and it is still dry and there are light winds expected," he told Macquarie Radio.
Late in the day on Sunday, the fires that ravaged Cessnock on the NSW central coast on Saturday were also downgraded to a Watch and Act safety level with the general Sydney Area on high alert for the coming days.
Meanwhile, a pair of teenage boys are being accused of sparking a bushfire near Newcastle on Saturday. They were arrested after allegedly sparking the blaze after lighting a campfire during a total fire ban not far from Port Stephens.
In other parts of Australia, residents of the town of Dundathu in southern Queensland have been urged to evacuate their homes as a bushfire threaten properties in the area.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has issued a Watch and Act warning for the fires and advising people in the area to enact bushfire plans, with leaving the area being the safest option for survival.
"This fire is moving quickly and firefighters are experiencing difficulty in controlling it," a QFES statement released on Sunday said.
"The fire is expected to impact on the Dundathu community and there is a chance that some property may be lost. Power, water and mobile phone supplies may be lost in the area over the next several hours."