Sydney smoke from fires and dust is here to stay, authorities warn

| 22.11,19. 02:45 PM |

Sydney smoke from fires and dust is here to stay, authorities warn

Photo: Smoke made for a menacing sunrise over Sydney this morning. (AAP: Dylan Coker)

First, the good news — the smoke that has blanketed parts of Sydney for large chunks of this week is dissipating in some areas.

Now for the bad news. It's about to come back.

The Harbour City's air quality plummeted this week after a combination of smoke from dozens of bushfires, and dust from drought-stricken western New South Wales settled in the Sydney basin.

On Tuesday and Thursday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) at most locations in Greater Sydney was rated "hazardous".

This morning, most locations around the state had an AQI over 200, which means they are "hazardous".

Smoke that had settled over Sydney's CBD and eastern suburbs was blown further west by a southerly wind change this morning.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Abrar Shabren said that haze, and a large plume of smoke that has settled offshore, means the smoke will persist over the weekend.

"We are surrounded by smoke all across the greater Sydney area, Illawarra and further north," he said.

"There will be thick smoke in and out of the west today.

"The smoke will drift back across the CBD and east tomorrow overnight."

Much of the smoke has been blown over Sydney from bushfires burning in the state's north.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has been fighting some of those blazes for months, and there is no end in sight.

That means the smoke will also likely continue to be a problem in Sydney for the foreseeable future.

RFS spokesperson Anthony Bradstreet 1.6 million hectares of land in NSW had already been burnt.

"There's about 6,000 kilometres of fire edge. It really will take a reasonable rain event to extinguish them," he said.

"Firefighters are working on trying to contain the fires.

"Without rain, they could burn for weeks and months."

The smoke was so bad yesterday morning that several locations had an AQI over 1,000, with Prospect reaching 1,699 and Parramatta North 1,239.


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