A total fire ban has been declared for the Greater Hunter, as the region prepares for a heat wave to strike.
The NSW Rural Fire Service announced the ban across NSW would take place from Wednesday, as temperatures as high as 42 degrees and high north-westerly winds were forecast for the region.
In the Hunter, the fire ban includes Maitland, Cessnock, Dungog, Muswellbrook, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie, Singleton and the Upper Hunter.
Tops of 41 degrees are expected for Maitland, Cessnock and Nelson Bay on Wednesday, while Singleton is forecast to reach 42 degrees.
Muswellbrook is predicted to get as hot as 38 degrees and Newcastle is tipped to reach 34 degrees, according to Weather Zone.
The total fire ban means no fires may be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Gas and electric barbecues can be used provided certain safety conditions are met.
Lighting a fire during a total fire ban can attract a $2200 on-the-spot fine and a $1320 penalty can be issued for tossing a lit cigarette.
Full rules and a map of current Total Fire Ban areas are at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.
How are you beating the heat? Send your Hunter heatwave pics to firstname.lastname@example.org.