FIRE crews, backed by air support, have gained the upper hand over a fire which ignited a few hundred metres outside Tamworth's suburbs.
Fire mitigation works sparked the blaze before midday, in the hills above the Valley Drive neighbourhood in East Tamworth.
It took just ten minutes for teams from Maules Creek and Tamworth City brigades to arrive after they were called at about 11.15.
They were later joined by a pair of waterbombers and a helicopter.
"Crews did have difficulty getting to the northern edge of the fire," he said.
"The north-western side towards the top of Flagstaff Mountain, they did have difficulty getting into there which is why the aircraft were called in to assist containment."
Mr Brunsdon confirmed the fire was started by accident, after fire mitigation crews created a spark while cutting a fire protection zone.
The crews had mitigation equipment on scene, but in the steep hills the fire got away from them.
By midday Thursday a large plume of smoke towered over neighbouring residences.
Crews have since gained the upper hand over the blaze, using tools, heavy plant and air support to contain the fire.
Mr Brunsdon said the fire was a wake-up call for residents in the outskirts of Tamworth to prepare a fire plan and know what they would do in an emergency.
"We are definitely starting to get to that part of the season now where we are seeing those warmer temperatures of the high 30s low 40s, which is drying out those fuels.
"It is definitely a time people need to think about what they would do in the event of a fire and having that discussion with their families."
The Valley Drive fire is currently at advice level, and has burned about one hectare of land.
Fire crews across the Northern Tablelands and New England responded to 23 grass and bushfires sparked by storms on Wednesday. As of Thursday morning, all but three had been quashed. As of Thursday evening, 44 fires are burning throughout NSW.