OCTOBER'S bushfires have been put on the backburner, but not before Mother Nature gave her final test to the thousands of firefighters working across the state to extinguish more than 90 blazes.
By Tuesday last week, the fires that ripped through hundreds of hectares at Heatherbrae and Lake Macquarie had been contained. But, as predicted, temperatures spiked again on Wednesday.
The relentless winds, high temperatures and low humidity ignited a blaze at Minmi, near Stockrington Road, which resulted in the closure of southbound lanes on the M1 (formerly known as the F3).
A fire also started in Gateshead, which threatened properties at Redhead and Dudley.
Both blazes forced schools, workplaces and residents to evacuate, as fire crews prepared for the worst. No homes were lost, as helicopters had water bombed most of Minmi and Gateshead by Thursday.
All fires across NSW are now under control and have been downgraded by the Rural Fire Service to "advice" alert level, which means there is no immediate danger.
Firefighters will continue backburning operations until all blazes have been extinguished.