NSW Rural Fire Service crews diverted a bulk water carrier, able to hold more than 30,000 litres, to a small bushfire that was burning near Muswellbrook this afternoon.
Hunter Valley Zone public liaison officer Keith Lobb said the fire had been contained and was being mopped up.
With large numbers of volunteers on standby due to the ‘‘severe’’ fire danger predicted for the Hunter today and yesterday, the Rural Fire Service were able to throw a huge amount of resources at the fire and get on top of it early.
More than 30 volunteer firefighters and eight tankers were called to the blaze, which began burning about two kilometres south of the Bayswater Power Station, about 12.45pm.
With the RFS crews on scene advising the fire was currently ‘‘out of control’’ and personnel at Hunter Valley Zone headquarters issuing a ‘‘watch and act’’ alert level, the RFS decided to divert a bulk water carrier, converted from an old petrol tanker, to the fire.
The tanker, which holds more than 30,000 litres of water, arrived after the fire was contained but was able to top up tankers working on mopping up the remnants of the blaze.
Smoke is still affecting the nearby New England Highway.
Northbound lanes are closed and motorists may experience poor visibility.
Motorists travelling north can take an alternate route via Lemington Road to Golden Highway.
Hunter Valley police are undertaking traffic control in the area.
Mr Lobb said the RFS ‘‘deliberately’’ used lot of resources at the fire this afternoon.
‘‘We wanted to get on top of it quickly,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got a lot of resources up here at the moment and we diverted the bulk water carrier to help out so the tankers didn't have to go to dams and other water sources to get water.’’
He said the ‘‘watch and act’’ alert level would be reduced to ‘‘advice’’, the lowest level, shortly.