In pictures: ‘Catastrophic’ conditions


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.

The sun rises through a smoke haze over Bondi Beach in Sydney on Tuesday. Parts of NSW face catastrophic bushfire danger today, with residents in bushland areas told to leave early rather than wait for fresh fires to start. Picture: AAP Image/Joel CarrettSource:AAP

The sun rises behind the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as winds blow smoke from bushfires over the CBD in Sydney. Picture: AAP Image/Steven Saphore

The sun rises behind the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as winds blow smoke from bushfires over the CBD in Sydney. Picture: AAP Image/Steven SaphoreSource:AAP

Smoky sunrise at Mona Vale beach. Picture: John Grainger

Smoky sunrise at Mona Vale beach. Picture: John GraingerSource:News Corp Australia

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.

A sign on a fire station in Taree, 350km north of Sydney, warns of ‘catastrophic’ fire conditions for today. Picture: Peter Parks / AFP

A sign on a fire station in Taree, 350km north of Sydney, warns of ‘catastrophic’ fire conditions for today. Picture: Peter Parks / AFPSource:AFP

The quiet before the storm. Smoke blankets Taree this morning. Picture: Gary Ramage

The quiet before the storm. Smoke blankets Taree this morning. Picture: Gary RamageSource:News Corp Australia

Wytaliba resident Storm Sparks holds her son Zeke Bacon as she waits to get back to her house at a roadblock near Glen Innes yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

Wytaliba resident Storm Sparks holds her son Zeke Bacon as she waits to get back to her house at a roadblock near Glen Innes yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Dan PeledSource:AAP

A joey left to fend for itself after becoming separated from its mother, believed killed in the fires. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

A joey left to fend for itself after becoming separated from its mother, believed killed in the fires. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

A fire and rescue team inspect the damage yesterday. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

A fire and rescue team inspect the damage yesterday. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Dick Buckham has been fighting bushfires on his property near Aratula for days. Picture: Steve Pohlner

Dick Buckham has been fighting bushfires on his property near Aratula for days. Picture: Steve PohlnerSource:News Corp Australia

Lyn and Peter Iverson with their burnt-out office and shed on their property at Koorainghat yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Darren Pateman

Lyn and Peter Iverson with their burnt-out office and shed on their property at Koorainghat yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Darren PatemanSource:AAP

Smoke blankets livestock in a paddock near Aratula. Picture: Steve Pohlne

Smoke blankets livestock in a paddock near Aratula. Picture: Steve PohlneSource:News Corp Australia

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.



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