Police have arrested and charged a 12-year-old boy over a bushfire which caused traffic chaos on the F3 Freeway.

The fire broke out at Watannobi near Wyong around 11.30 yesterday and forced the close of the Newcastle to Sydney freeway for several hours.

The fire had multiple ignition points and witnesses reported seeing three boys running from the area.

Around 80 firefighters battled the flames which burnt through 80 hectares of bush.

Police say a home was broken into on Sommers Road and several items were stolen which were used as an accelerant to start the fire near Alison Road.

Investigators arrested a 12-year-old boy this morning and took him to Wyong Police Station with his mother.

He’s been charged with stealing as well as damage to property by fire and granted conditional bail to appear at Wyong Children’s Court on 2 October.

Investigations are continuing.