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NSW battling 18 out-of-control bushfires

AAP logoAAP 5/11/2016 Andi Yu

After a punishing day of firefighting in NSW, 18 fires out of 60 remain out-of-control.

Firefighters will be working through the night on two of the biggest fires in Cessnock in the Hunter Valley and further north near Port Stephens, the RFS said on Sunday.

Inspector Ben Shepherd told AAP more than 1200 firefighters were on duty at the height of emergency warnings in the two areas.

By early evening, both fires were downgraded to "watch and act".

Crews in the Port Stephens area face 80km of fire edge over the next 48 hours as the weather showed no signs of easing until Wednesday, Insp Shepherd said.

"The fire has actually burnt out over 6500 hectares," he said.

That fire moved quickly across the Pacific Highway and went across the top of the town of Karuah, but then turned direction and went north towards Limeburners Creek, he said.

"So at the moment we've got a lot of uncontained fire on the Lone Pine fire," Insp Shepherd said.

There were reports of property damage, but those were yet to be confirmed, he said.

The sky was dark in Cessnock well before nightfall on Sunday afternoon as out-of-control fires continued to burn in the Hunter Valley town's southern suburbs of Kitchener and Abernethy.

Cessnock resident Debbie Donn, a hotel manager in the nearby suburb of Kearsley, was worried for her business and her house, not far from the blaze.

"The wind's died down now, so hopefully they get it under control," she told AAP.

"It's not looking good, but."

Kitchener Public School will be closed on Monday as a safety precaution.

Fire crews battled fires on Hind Avenue and The Lakes Way in Forster as well as grass fires on Churchill Road in Forster and Point Road in Tuncurry.

Some fires were back burns that got out of control and others were being treated as suspicious, Insp Shepherd said.

Two 16-year-olds are believed to have sparked a bushfire in the Shoal Bay area near Port Stephens on Saturday by lighting a campfire despite a total fire ban.

The fire burnt out an acre of bushland and the boys were detained by locals before they were arrested, but police say "it is not believed they had malicious intent".

They will be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act.

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