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Sydney smoke: Air quality 'hazardous'

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 21/11/2019 Richard Wood

a close up of a bridge: Smoke from bushfires reduced visibility on Sydney Harbour as 50 blazes are burning across NSW © Nine Smoke from bushfires reduced visibility on Sydney Harbour as 50 blazes are burning across NSW Thick smoke from bushfires has triggered a 'hazardous' air quality warning for Sydney as the haze blankets the city in a choking cloud.

Almost 50 blazes are burning across NSW, and two of them have been upgraded to emergency warning status as conditions deteriorate.

There are 12 total fire bans in place across the state.

The NSW Environment Department warned air quality in Sydney was hazardous, and temperatures were forecast to reach the high 30s across much of the state.

Smoke from the fires is being trapped in the air in the Sydney Basin – a coastal region stretching from Newcastle in the north to Batesman Bay in the south - by an inversion effect in which warmer air is held over cooler air.

https://twitter.com/BOM_NSW/status/1197271723638448128?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Residents are being warned smoky conditions will continue throughout today and into tomorrow.

Health officials warned people with respiratory conditions like asthma, emphysema and angina to take extra care in the smoke.

a close up of a newspaper © Nine

Anyone with a medical condition should ensure they have medications readily available and avoid outdoor activity.

Students walking through the smoke haze to school in Parramatta, in Sydney's west, wore masks.

a group of baseball players standing on top of a building: School students in western Sydney donned smoke masks this morning. © Nine School students in western Sydney donned smoke masks this morning.

NSW Health director Dr Richard Broom said Sydney's air quality "would at the very least be comparable to some cities in developing countries where they have very poor air quality".

"On days when there's high air pollution we see increased rates of hospital presentations and increased numbers of deaths as well, so it's undoubtedly serious," Dr Broom said.

He said the fine particles in smoke can irritate the respiratory system and aggravate existing lung and heart conditions.

https://twitter.com/NSWAmbulance/status/1197245678214434816?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

NSW Health warns people with conditions like asthma, emphysema and angina are more likely to be sensitive to the health effects of smoke.

Dust is also affecting air quality and a wind change expected later today could exacerbate the problem from the state's west through to the coast, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

That change could trigger thunderstorms into the weekend which won't bring much rain but could see lightning strikes ignite additional fires.

a view of a large mountain in the background: The smoke haze reaches Illawarra on the NSW South Coast this morning. © Nine The smoke haze reaches Illawarra on the NSW South Coast this morning.

Parts of NSW could experience heatwave conditions with the state's west forecast to reach 40C and western Sydney expected to hit the high-30s. 

Adelaide residents also woke to a blanket of smoke this morning.

The weather bureau says the hazy conditions are largely caused by smoke from the Yorketown bushfire at Yorke Peninsula.

https://twitter.com/R_DAlessandro9/status/1197254321257119745?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

As the wind changed to a westerly direction this morning, smoke was pushed towards Adelaide.

A cool change was expected to sweep across the state early today but the CFS warned the dangerous conditions would linger.

a car driving down a street next to a traffic light: Smoke from the Yorketown bushfire in South Australia has blown across Adelaide. © Nine Smoke from the Yorketown bushfire in South Australia has blown across Adelaide.

The weather bureau had a severe weather warning in place for potentially damaging winds across a wide area, including most of the York and Eyre peninsulas and the Adelaide Hills.

It said wind gusts of up to 90km/h were possible as a cold front moved through.

With AAP

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