Sydney lives up to 'big smoke' tag as bushfire haze covers city

Cheryl Sanders
November 19, 2019

Residents are advised to stay indoors, with windows and doors closed, or stay in air conditioned premises, if possible.

Authorities said the source of the smoke on Tuesday came from a blaze in Wollemi National Park, 150km (93 miles) north-west of the city, which had grown to 150,000 hectares in size.

Government data of the state showed the air quality was "poor", although in some districts of the northwest the indexes of PM2.5 particles reached 130 and PM10 reached 195, reports Efe news.

A NSW Department of Environment spokesperson told Xinhua that it was not just smoke, but airborne dust caused by an ongoing drought which has created some of the worst air quality conditions of the past decade.

The grim conditions saw Sydney beat out Bangkok, Mumbai, and Faridabad, India for poor air quality and pollution.

NSW Health says those with conditions such as asthma, emphysema and angina are particularly sensitive to the effects of smoke.

Parts of the city reached unhealthy levels of air pollution due to smoke from the fires on Tuesday, with areas in north-west Sydney matching the level of air pollution in New Dehli.

New South Wales will also experience heatwave conditions this week, meaning it will have three or more days of abnormally hot temperatures.

Most of NSW's east coast is under severe or very high fire danger ratings on Tuesday as nearly 50 blazes burn across the state, with more than half of those uncontained. This is largely due to particles in the air.

As the weather warms during the day, the trapped air is able to move and the smoke can begin to disperse.

Six people have died in bushfires in the north of the state since October.

Parts of the state are under severe fire danger today including Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Southern Ranges and Central Ranges fire regions.

These regions, along with the Northern Slopes and North Western regions, are also under a total fire ban.

Some 1.6m hectares of land have been burnt so far - more than the entire 1993-94 bushfire season.

Other reports by iNewsToday