Sydney residents have woken up to another day of poor air quality as hazard reduction burns flood the skyline with a haze of thick smoke.
Volunteer firefighters are rushing to complete the burns ahead of a string of unseasonably warm spring days due to hit the state by the end of the week, and in anticipation of what is predicted to be a high-risk bushfire season.
The NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a health warning overnight, urging vulnerable communities to take care as the smoke haze continues to blanket the city.
“Children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions are most susceptible to the effects of air pollution and excessive smoke,” an EPA spokesman said in a statement on Monday night.
People with asthma or lung conditions, are being warned to reduce outdoor activity and seek medical advice if they experience shortness of breath or coughing.
“Stay indoors as much as possible with windows and doors closed until outdoor air quality is better,” the The Department of Planning and Environment website says.
“If you feel that the air in your home is uncomfortable, consider going to a place with cleaner air (such as an airconditioned building like a library or shopping centre) if it is safe to do so.”
The smoke is expected to settle over Greater Sydney and The Central Coast, after moving from the western suburbs towards the coast overnight.
It will begin to clear throughout the morning, but further burning scheduled for Tuesday is likely to keep the haze over the region until midweek.
The burns come as warm spring weather is predicted for Sydney towards the end of the week, with temperatures expected to reach 30 on Friday and Saturday, according to BOM.
A hot and dry spring and summer is being forecast for much of Australia, although an “El Nino” weather event which brings heightened risks of bushfires is yet to be formally declared.
Any residents of “at-risk” bushfire areas were being urged to prepare their homes and have a plan in place in the event of a bushfire.
The controlled burns were conducted in the Sutherland Shire, Ku-ring-gai, the Hawkesbury, Hornsby and The Central Coast.