Australian firefighters have taken hours to extinguish flames after a gasoline tanker caught fire, disrupting traffic on a busy highway and forcing evacuations of nearby homes.

A police statement says the tanker carrying 36,000 liters (9,500 gallons) of gasoline erupted in flames mid-morning Friday after the driver pulled over on the Princes Highway west of the east coast city of Wollongong.

Fire and Rescue New South Wales Superintendent Norman Buckley says there were no injuries and 16 residents were evacuated as a precaution by the time the fire was extinguished by 100 firefighters spraying flame-retardant foam.

Buckley says the fuel tank never ruptured and much of the fuel remained inside after the flames were extinguished.

He says he does not know what caused the blaze.