A TOTAL fire ban will swing into effect today as temperatures shoot skyward, winds blow across the region and firefighters bunker down.
Saturday is listed as a severe fire danger, the worst ranking in the state for the day, as meteorologists forecast a 32-degree day with mostly sunshine.
That temperature is expected to spike even higher inland, with Maitland and Singleton both warned to brace for 37 degrees.
There is a little relief on the way for Sunday, which is expected to match the heat in Newcastle.
Although it will drop a few degrees up the valley, the prevailing hot and windy conditions echo those that helped last week’s Richmond Vale fire spread so quickly.
The sweltering heat is expected to ease to the high 20s next week on the coast before showers arrive on Thursday.