Skies turn red as haze blankets NSW

 

Sydney woke to an eerie sunrise this morning as a thick haze, which continues to blanket the city, turned the skyline red.

A smoke cover is set to continue through to the afternoon, once again prompting the issuing of hazardous air quality warnings across most of the state.

The thick smoke still hangs over Sydney which made for a spectacular red sun over the Opera House as it was rising. picture John Grainger
The thick smoke still hangs over Sydney which made for a spectacular red sun over the Opera House as it was rising. picture John Grainger

The city's air quality was the worst in the world on Tuesday as smoke filled the skies, pushing levels to more than 20 times worse than Beijing and Jakarta.

But the worst isn't over, with NSW in for another hazy day as air quality hits hazardous levels for the fifth day in a row.

A southerly change this afternoon is expected to bring some much-needed relief ahead of the weekend.

The level of pollutants in the air have jumped across NSW as smoke from the fires raging in the north and Hawkesbury and Wollemi billow into the sky.

The level of PM 2.5 - a pollutant which aggravates the lungs - has hit hazardous levels this morning.

The thick smoke still hangs over Sydney which made for a spectacular red sun over the Opera House as it was rising. picture John Grainger
The thick smoke still hangs over Sydney which made for a spectacular red sun over the Opera House as it was rising. picture John Grainger

In Sydney's East, North-West and South West, Illawarra, Lower Hunter, Central and Northern Tablelands, North-West and the South-West Slopes and Upper Hunter levels are hazardous, according to the NSW Department of Environment.

The haze is caught under an inversion in which warmer air is held over cooler air, trapping the smoke below.

The haze has again sparked health warnings, with asthma sufferers and those with respiratory illness told to stay inside, cut back on physical activity and pack their reliever medication.

If symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort do not ease, medical attention should be sought.


The haze can cause some to experience aggravated eyes, nose and throat.

With the smoke lingering since the start of the week, some Sydneysiders wore face masks to help ease symptoms.

A woman was seen wearing a face mask while travelling on a ferry as smoke haze shrouds Sydney Harbour. Photo by Cassie Trotter/Getty Images
A woman was seen wearing a face mask while travelling on a ferry as smoke haze shrouds Sydney Harbour. Photo by Cassie Trotter/Getty Images

NSW Health's Director of Environmental Health, Dr Richard Broome provided some advice as people prepare for conditions.

"Smoke can affect people's health. People are advised to stay indoors, with windows and doors closed, when the air is visibly smoky. If you have air-conditioning, set your air-conditioner to recirculate indoor air," Dr Broome said.

Currently 58 fires are burning across the state, 28 of which are uncontained. Already, four lives and hundreds of homes have been lost.

If symptoms worsen or you are unsure about how to manage your symptoms, seek advice from your doctor.