Sydney 'prankster' accused of 'trying to profit from NSW bushfires'

A Sydney resident has boasted about selling an empty plastic container of ‘rare Sydney bushfire smoke’ on eBay for $72.

Screenshots of the listing were posted to the man’s Instagram account on Tuesday morning, along with the claim that he had sold it.

“Easiest $72 I’ve ever made!” the man –– an internet prankster and former employee on the Kyle and Jackie O show –– wrote.

“Just sold a container full of Sydney bushfire smoke! I’m basically an entrepreneur.”

The former producer for The Kyle and Jackie O Show claims he sold a container of 'rare Sydney bushfire smoke' on eBay for $72. Source: Instagram

He later told Daily Mail Australia he thought someone might be “interested in [buying] bushfire smoke” because cans of New Zealand’s fresh air are sold online.

“When it sold, I was really surprised! I didn't expect it to sell at all! I'll be shipping the item this week,” he said.

The prankster behind the ‘listing’ told 10Daily that the sale was legitimate, despite the ‘buyer’ of the ‘bushfire smoke’ appearing to have never made any other purchases from the online marketplace.

A screenshot of the man's eBay post that showed conditions in Sydney during the bushfires. Source: Instagram

Following media coverage of the ‘sale’, eBay hit out the man for trying to profit from the bushfire disaster.

“We do not allow listings that could enable individuals to profit from tragic events or disasters,” an eBay spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

“This listing is in breach of our policy and the sale will not be completed.”

The spokesperson added that while the site takes “every step to be vigilant against listings that break our rules” as “Australia’s largest online marketplace with 1.4 billion global listings and 40,000 Australian sellers” members of the community were encouraged to “let us know if something doesn’t look quite right”.

Fast-moving fire threatens homes on NSW South Coast

The online prankster’s attempt at a joke came as Sydney choked through another day of poor air quality from bushfire smoke, while emergency warnings were issued for large parts of regional NSW.

As of Tuesday evening, an out-of-control bushfire was continue to threaten homes on the NSW South Coast.

A Skycrane flies over an out-of-control fire at Avery's lane, near Stanford Merthyr, west of Newcastle on Tuesday. Source: AAP Image/Darren Pateman

The more than 30,000-hectare Currowan bushfire near Batemans Bay has already destroyed at least one home.

The NSW Rural Fire Service says the blaze is spreading quickly towards coastal areas around Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Pretty Beach.

"The fire has reached the coast in some areas," the RFS said on Tuesday evening.

"Firefighters and aircraft are working to protect homes where possible."

Residents in the Kioloa, Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Durras North areas have been told to seek shelter because it's too late to leave.

The Princes Highway between Dolphin Point and Batemans Bay has been closed in both directions.

A spot fire flares up in bushland near Bateman's Bay on the NSW South Coast on Tuesday. Source: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Some 120 bush and grass fires were burning across NSW on Tuesday evening with more than 20 uncontained.

One property west of the town of Kioloa has been confirmed destroyed by the Currowan fire, but it is currently too dangerous for authorities to carry out further damage assessments. 

Emergency warnings were in place at 6.30pm for the Currowan fire and a 200-hectare bushfire at Pelaw Main east of Cessnock in the Hunter region.

Residents living on Avery Lane in the suburb of Stanford Merthyr were told to seek shelter from the fire and it was too late to leave.

"The fire has escalated quite quickly," an RFS spokesman said.

"It's moving in an easterly direction towards Avery Lane."

Sydney residents choked through the smoke haze on Tuesday. Conditions are not expected to improve on Wednesday. Source: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

A fire near Cranebrook in western Sydney was downgraded to "advice" level after an emergency alert was issued briefly on Tuesday afternoon.

Watch and act alerts remained in place for fires near Warragamba Dam, Wisemans Ferry, the Yengo National Park and Putty.

Sydney was ringed by bushfires on Tuesday with thick smoke settling in the city's basin.

It's forecast to linger for days, with health authorities advising those most at risk to stay indoors over the coming days.

The smoke is coming from large bushfires in the Blue Mountains and others near Warragamba Dam and in the Hawkesbury area.

Smoke haze from wildfires made Sydney's air quality 'hazardous' in the city's east and southwest on Tuesday. Source: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

A temperature inversion - where warm air overlays cooler air in the atmosphere - is trapping the smoke in the city. 

Air quality was "hazardous" in Sydney's east and southwest on Tuesday but "good" in the northwest. The city is forecast to have "poor" air quality on Wednesday.

Firefighters will face another tough day of bushfire conditions.

Total fire bans are in place for the Greater Hunter, northern slopes and northwestern regions.

Fire danger ratings are very high up the NSW coast as well as in the southern and central ranges.

With AAP

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