Maitland police rushed to rescue residents from a raging bush fire at Salt Ash yesterday.
Police doorknocked homes on Lemon Tree Passage Road and Rookes Road to ensure residents were evacuated after the fire threatened homes.
Meanwhile, police were trying to find a helicopter to rescue a nine-year-old boy and his pregnant mother after their home off Oyster Cove Road became engulfed in flames.
They fled to a dam on the property and waited to be rescued.
Initial attempts to secure a helicopter to lift them to safety were unsuccessful because the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was already rescuing a gravely ill man from Tanilba Bay after fire blocked the roads in and out of the town.
Emergency services managed to find a track that took them to the house and they drove the couple out.
Fingal Bay residents were sent an emergency telephone message after the fire started moving in a south-easterly direction towards homes.
More than 30 firefighters fought the fire on the ground near Mooreland Road while water bombing aircraft attacked it from the air.
Several houses were engulfed in flames at Salt Ash on Lemon Tree Passage Road.
Police confirmed all residents had been evacuated safely.
Pol Air was called from Sydney about 3pm to monitor the Salt Ash fire. Media helicopters were told to leave the area as water bombing continued.
A fire briefing station was set up at the intersection of Nelson Bay Road and Lemon Tree Passage Road and the road was blocked.
About 50 spectators gathered at Brownes Road off Lemon Tree Passage Road to watch the fire and were told by firefighters to move on because they could be in danger.
About 30 minutes later the fire spread to a garage on Brownes Road and was threatening homes along the stretch.
Firefighters conducted fire protection in some places around Salt Ash to try and stop the fire from spreading.
A bush fire was also burning near Putty Road at Howes Valley near Singleton yesterday afternoon.
Fire crews worked into the night to get the fires under control.