A state of emergency has been declared in NSW as high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds combine to create what the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) called “horrendous conditions”.
Smoke and particulate matter in the air has prompted poor air quality forecasts, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning of increased particulate levels in Sydney after an alert issued by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
In Queensland, the Department of Environment and Science’s live air data shows “very poor” air quality for most parts of Brisbane and surrounds.
A comparison of air quality index figures show conditions in some parts of Brisbane and Sydney rival the famously hazy Beijing.
Extra particulate matter in the air can irritate the eyes and airways as well as triggering respiratory conditions.
Asthma Australia says smoke from vegetarian fires is a common trigger for asthma and has advised sufferers to be vigilant.
Smoke can cause asthma exacerbations or flare-ups and is associated with increased emergency department visits and hospital admissions, chief executive Michele Goldman said.
“If you have asthma, or if you are responsible for a child or elderly person with asthma, be aware of the risk and be prepared,” the organisation’s website states.
Key tips from Asthma Australia regarding bushfires and smoke are available here.
As the sun came up through smoke haze in Sydney this morning, we began to get the first glimpse of what the day may bring.
Further out of the city, photos show the aftermath of the “unprecedented” fires as communities brace for what’s to come on a day where firefighters aren’t convinced they can contain multiple blazes.
Those in the impacted areas can stay up to date through our live blog of all the latest news today.
It’s important to have a plan in place to protect your home and, if necessary, escape from the path of the fire.