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Massive Fuel Tanker Explosion Causes Traffic Chaos

Residents were evacuated after a fuel tanker carrying thousands of litres of petrol burst into flames on the side of a motorway near Wollongong.

The truck was carrying 36,000 litres of fuel along the M1 Princes Motorway west of Wollongong when it caught fire just before 9am on Friday.

More than a dozen emergency crews are on scene spraying the flaming vehicle with foam, a Fire and Rescue NSW spokeswoman told AAP.

Crews have extinguished the blaze using foam and are now looking to contain any fuel and foam runoff.

“Our objective now is to handle the hazardous material situation, so we have HAZMAT crews in place." said Superintendent Jeff Roche, the NSW Fire & Rescue Zone Commander for Illawarra and Wollongong

Northbound lanes on the M1 motorway have been opened with a reduced speed limit of 60km/h, but southbound lanes are still closed.

“The south bound lanes will be locked for a period of time as we have to decant the fuel from the truck and make the area safe and make the road surface safe again,” said Acting Superintendent Kevin McNeil from Wollongong Police.

Southbound traffic on M1 Princes Motorway is being diverted at Mount Ousley Rd, Princes Hwy, Bourke Rd, Corrimal St, then Springhill Rd onto Masters Rd to rejoin the motorway.

Images posted on social media showed massive flames erupting from the tanker which is parked on the side of the road.

Sydney's west is forecast to reach the mid-30s while the mercury is tipped to hit 45C in other parts of the state on Friday.