Helicopter pilot dies while battling NSW bushfires

A helicopter pilot has died in a crash as he fought a fire on NSW's South Coast, while a watch and act alert has been issued for a blaze north of Newcastle.

A helicopter pilot has died as he water bombed a major bushfire on NSW's south coast, while north of Newcastle another major blaze is burning out of control.

The contracted chopper, with only the pilot aboard, crashed west of Ulladulla about 2pm on Friday while working on the Mount Kingiman blaze which has burned through 1700 hectares.

It's believed the 1994 Kawasaki helicopter crashed into a tree.

Significant resources from emergency services including a rescue helicopter have been dispatched to the area, a NSW Police spokesman said.

The helicopter crashed west of Ulladulla about 2pm on Friday.
Source: AAP

It's understood nearby naval base HMAS Albatross is also providing assistance.

Meanwhile, north of Newcastle a watch and act alert has been issued for residents at Salt Ash in Port Stephens for a fire being fanned by northwesterly winds.

Fire crews are in place along Rookes Road to protect homes if needed, the NSW Rural Fire Service said in a statement on Friday.

This week's unseasonal bushfires have so far claimed two homes, damaged one other and destroyed 16 outbuildings including sheds.

The RFS said favourable conditions on Friday helped firefighters backburn and use other methods to contain the blazes.

Emergency services remain at the scene of the crash.
Source: AAP

But they won't all be under control before Saturday when winds are expected to increase again.

Two separate blazes in Ellangowan and Ramornie in northern NSW were the final fires to be downgraded from watch and act warnings to advice messages.

The RFS has confirmed the Bemboka fire on the south coast has burned down two homes and four outbuildings in the Bega Valley while 11 outbuildings were lost in the Mount Kingiman blaze nearby.

One home was confirmed damaged in the North Nowra blaze which also destroyed an outbuilding.

All five major fires were still out of control on Friday afternoon.

Published 17 August 2018 at 5:16pm, updated 17 August 2018 at 6:04pm