Bushfire forces closure of Newcastle Airport

Footage shows the bushfire burning north of Newcastle. Source: NSW RURAL FIRE SERVICE

An emergency bushfire warning has been downgraded to a watch and act near Newcastle.

An emergency bushfire warning has been downgraded in the Port Stephens region as authorities work to control a blaze that has forced the closure of Newcastle Airport.

The Airport was closed on Saturday afternoon, with flights cancelled or diverted due to the fire that was being fanned by a strong westerly winds.

Water bombing aircraft and more than 60 Rural Fire Service personnel worked to contain the blaze as it threatened homes in the area.

However conditions eased later in the afternoon with some reports of light rain and the fire was downgraded.

An RFS spokesman said the airport was closed due to the heavy smoke in the area.

Newcastle Airport confirmed via Twitter it would be closed for the day but expected to reopen on Sunday.

Footage from a helicopter hovering over the fire area uploaded to Facebook by the RFS shows large plumes of smoke moving over the airport.

The video appears to show the fire just several hundred metres away.

A wind change in the afternoon was expected to push the fire north.

Source AAP - SBS

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