Sydney smoke haze: bushfire reduction burns suspended to allow air to clear

Air quality rated ‘poor’ for second day in a row, as NSW Health warns conditions could aggravate respiratory issues

Hazard reduction burns across Sydney have been suspended for at least 24 hours to allow smoke from earlier burns to clear.

The New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage dropped the air quality level in the harbour city to “poor” for a second day on Wednesday, as Sydneysiders woke up to hazy conditions and the sharp smell of smoke in the air.

The NSW Rural Fire Service wrapped up burn-offs in the Blue Mountains national park on Tuesday afternoon but the residual smoke blanketed the city as parts of the park continued to smoulder.

The smoke was expected to linger, NSW RFS spokesman James Morris said.

“We have postponed all burns for at least 24 hours while we get that smoke to push out and clear that air a bit,” he said on Wednesday morning, “It’s very strategic to try and reduce that smoke and for minimal impact.”

The hazy conditions will be worse in the morning because smoke was trapped below a layer in the air overnight, according to NSW Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Stephen Stefanac.

“In the afternoon it will thin out a bit and in the evening. As we get a south-east wind change in the city, it will push the smoke inland to the west,” he said.

NSW Health on Tuesday warned the smoky conditions could irritate the respiratory system and aggravate existing lung and heart conditions.

People with asthma, emphysema and angina are more likely to be sensitive to the effects of smoke, environmental health director Richard Broome said in a statement.

Vulnerable people are advised to stay indoors, close windows and avoid vigorous exercise.

via Sydney smoke haze: bushfire reduction burns suspended to allow air to clear | Australia news | The Guardian

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