A haze of smoke from regional fires across the Sydney CBD. Picture: Rohan Kelly
A haze of smoke from regional fires across the Sydney CBD. Picture: Rohan Kelly

Sydney warned to stay indoors as smoke chokes city

SMOKY skies above Sydney aren't expected to clear until the end of the weekend as fires continue to burn across NSW.

Seventy fires were burning across the state - 44 of which were uncontained - on Thursday evening. Most of NSW is facing high to very high fire conditions on Friday.

Fires burning on the state's mid-north coast, which are believed to have killed at least 350 koalas, sent haze south to Sydney and as far as Bowral. The haze resulted in the Department of Environment again forecasting air quality in Sydney would be "poor" on Friday due to particles.

The suburbs of Macquarie Park, in the city's northwest, and Liverpool, in the southwest, hit "hazardous" levels yesterday, with 328 micrograms of pollution particulate per cubic metre and 336 micrograms respectively, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Those levels made Sydney's pollution worse than the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, which hit a record earlier this year to become the world's smoggiest city.

People with a chronic respiratory or heart conditions are encouraged to stay indoors.

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The department's air quality index on Thursday showed parts of the lower Hunter, upper Hunter, Central Coast, Sydney and Illawarra were rated as "hazardous".

The Bureau of Meteorology says the smoky conditions are likely to continue until late Sunday or early Monday, as winds from the north and northeast push the smoke south.

NSW Health said children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions were most susceptible to the effects of air pollution and excessive smoke.

If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities if smoke levels are high. If you have shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice.

In an update issued this morning, the Rural Fire Service advised those in smoky areas to keep doors and windows closed to prevent smoke entering your home and ensure pets have a protected area.

The RFS also advises drivers to slow down, keep windows up and headlights turned on in particularly hazy areas.

 

A haze of smoke from regional fires settles across the Sydney CBD. Picture: Rohan Kelly
A haze of smoke from regional fires settles across the Sydney CBD. Picture: Rohan Kelly

The warm weather is set to stick around for all of Friday, driven by a big high in the Tasman Sea and a trough south of Western Australia that's dragging hot air from the interior over most of the southeast.

But there is relief - and rain - in sight. It will hit South Australia first then flow through to Victoria, Tasmania and parts of New South Wales on Friday and Saturday.

A total fire ban is in place for NSW today.