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18° & CLOUDY ON THURSDAY 12 DECEMBER IN SYDNEY
TRAVEL & LEISURE

Another Haze of Bushfire Smoke Is Affecting Sydney's Air Quality This Morning

Thick smoke from bushfires across New South Wales is currently affecting large parts of the city.
By Libby Curran
November 19, 2019
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Another Haze of Bushfire Smoke Is Affecting Sydney's Air Quality This Morning

Thick smoke from bushfires across New South Wales is currently affecting large parts of the city.
By Libby Curran
November 19, 2019
  shares

Sydneysiders venturing outdoors today could find the whole breathing thing a little less fun than usual — as you may have noticed, it's smoky out there. As the result of bushfires burning across both New South Wales and Queensland, a layer of smoke has made its way across the city and is expected to stick around for a few days.

Needless to say, it's affecting air quality, with the NSW Government Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's air quality monitor giving a "poor" air quality forecast for Tuesday, November 19. Areas across the city and state are affected, with Sydney's northwest and southwest, as well as the Central Coast, Illawarra, Lower Hunter and Upper Hunter regions all experiencing "poor" air quality and visibility. Sydney's east, the Northern Tablelands and Northwest Slopes are "very poor". This is largely due to particles in the air.

NSW RFS is predicting that the haze will begin to clear during the day, but, due to forecast northwesterly winds, smoke from the fires is likely to affect Sydney over coming days, too.

During periods of  reduced air quality, NSW Health suggests that everyone cuts back on strenuous outdoor activities, as well as going outside in general — if you can. Those with chronic respiratory or heart conditions are especially advised to avoid all outdoor physical activity and stay indoors where possible. It's also recommended that you carry your inhaler, follow your Asthma Action Plan, and keep your other medication with you for all breathing-related conditions. If you start experiencing symptoms, even if you're otherwise fit and healthy, seek medical advice.

For those staying indoors, NSW Health also suggests turning your air conditioner on — if you have one — and using it on recirculate mode to keep the particles from outside out. With Sydney firmly in the grip of warm end-of-year weather, and temperatures expected to reach 40 in some areas of the state today, residents are also advised to be wary of the heat, as well as its combination with the hazy air. Drinking plenty of fluids, taking cool showers to keep your temperature down, soaking your feet in water and draping a wet cloth around your neck are also recommended.

A severe fire danger level (and total fire bans) declared across Greater Sydney, the Central Ranges, Illawarra, Greater Hunter and Southern Ranges areas for today — and the NSW Rural Fire Service continuing to battle 48 blazes across the state. So far this bushfire season, 530 homes have been destroyed — with 421 of those just in the past ten days. Hot, dry conditions, with very little rain, are forecast for the rest of the week, so dangerous bushfire conditions are expected to continue.

If you'd like to help out, Bunnings across the state are holding sausage sizzles to raise money for those impacted by the fires this Friday. You can also donate to the NSW RFS here.

You can keep an eye on the fires burning across the state at the NSW Rural Fire Service website. For more tips on staying safe during smoky conditions, head to the NSW Health website.

Image: NSW Rural Fire Service. 

Published on November 19, 2019 by Libby Curran

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