Emergency alert as bushfire threatens homes
A fast-moving bushfire with flames "well above tree tops" has flared up again and is threatening homes north of Newcastle.
The Salt Ash blaze, which has already torn through more than 1300 hectares of bushland, was last night downgraded to a watch and act but has since been revised to an emergency warning amid wild winds this morning.
The out of control fire is moving towards homes near Rookes Rd, where more than 100 firefighters are positioning themselves to protect properties.
RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd said just before 7am homes were under threat.
"We're seeing quite erratic fire behaviour as strong westerly winds push through this heath (or shrub)," he said.
"Heath produces huge flame heights and spot fires are occurring hundreds of metres ahead of the main fire front.
"I have seen flames burning well above tree tops, but that's not unusual in heath fires."
Lemon Tree Passage Road will likely be closed today and will cut off homes on a peninsula that includes the suburbs of Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage.
This occurred during a bushfire in the same area in August.
Inspector Shepherd said it was hoped the fire's intensity would die down once it reaches already burnt land.
"We have seen the northern side of the fire increase and it's increasing towards Rookes Rd," he said.
"Our advice is to seek shelter. We will shortly have the assistance of aircraft. The fire remains uncontained."