MORNING COMMUTERS TURNED AROUND ON M1

The Newcastle to Sydney freeway was brought to a standstill this morning, as flames tore through 40 hectares of bushland.

Fanned by strong winds, the blaze jumped the M1 west of Lake Macquarie, reducing visibility to zero.

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From Tea Gardens Hawks Nest, Stephen began his media career with NBN almost 20 years ago before joining National Nine News. After recent years in management roles with the Newcastle Knights, the Hunter Medical Research Institute and private enterprise, he's returned to NBN News while studying law at the University of Newcastle.