FIRE crews in the Hunter have brought under control a number of blazes that sparked on Saturday in hot and windy conditions, while fires in bushland further north continue to rage out of control, destroying homes and claiming lives.
Fires at Awaba and Toronto pushed thick black smoke across Lake Macquarie on Saturday, with the fire at Awaba burning through more than 300 hectares before it was brought under control.
There are currently no fires in the Hunter burning out of control, with the vast majority of the state's emergency services attention on areas around Taree and further north, where three people have died and at least 150 homes have been destroyed.
The NSW Rural Fire Service have warned "bad, if not worse conditions" are expected on Tuesday, with a much broader area including Sydney at risk.
Meanwhile, parts of Newcastle and the Upper Hunter may experience elevated particle pollution due to smoke from bushfires burning on the mid-north-coast.
According to air quality data, at Port Macquarie PM10 (inhalable particles) have reached 239, which is well beyond the "hazardous" level and carries a warning that everyone, especially those with heart or lung disease, should stay inside as much as possible.
In the Hunter, the highest reading currently is at Singleton where PM levels have reached 41.