Sydney residents woke to smoke blanketing the city for the second day in a row on Wednesday morning due to hazard reduction burning in the city’s outskirts.
Dangerously low air quality levels sparked a warning from NSW Health urging people to minimise their time outdoors, particularly if they had respiratory problems.
Despite the NSW Rural Fire Service announcing it would suspend further burning while the worst of the thick haze cleared, frustrated Sydneysiders vented their frustrations online.
“What is being done to prevent smoke causing breathing hazards in Sydney? This is dangerous and should be done when air currents are not coming directly into the city affecting large numbers of people,” an annoyed resident said on Twitter.
“Can we have a discussion about the human cost of this smoke in Sydney? On the day when a deadly flu outbreak was announced the RFS thinks it’s OK to have poor air quality for days,” another wrote.
“This smoke is just as deadly as bushfires and they keep burning! Rethink required.”
Many complained their breathing issues had flared up as a result of the pungent plumes.
“Great, there’s smoke covering a lot of Sydney because of the burning they’re doing and now my asthma is acting up,” someone wrote.
“Why don't they do back burning when the wind is blowing away from Sydney the smoke is killing it for us asthma sufferers,” another person said.
A social media user also stated bluntly, “seriously this smoke is pissing me off”.
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage dropped the air quality level in the harbour city to "poor" for a second day on Wednesday.
The NSW Rural Fire Service wrapped up burn offs in the Blue Mountains National Park on Tuesday afternoon but the residual smoke has blanketed the city as parts of the park continue to smoulder.
The smoke is 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 told AAP on Wednesday.
"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 southeast wind change in the city, it will push the smoke inland to the west," he told AAP.
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.
With Australian Associated Press
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