Sydneysiders have experienced days of poor air quality from ‘hazard reduction’ burns.
The smoke is expected to linger for the next few days, after the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) led a series of controlled burns.
The RFS has advised residents to keep their doors and windows closed. The RFS advised those with asthma to reduce outdoor activities.
A hazard reduction burn involves intentionally burning bushland, especially in fire-prone locations.
It is designed to limit the severity of future bushfires. Hazard burning reduces the amount of bushland or ‘fuel’ that a fire can burn through.
The RFS describes it as “an economical and simple method of removing unwanted litter and fire hazards from larger areas”.
Why is it smoky in Sydney?
The RFS has begun hazard reduction burns in five areas across Sydney and the Central Coast.
It comes ahead of a predicted dangerous summer bushfire season for a lot of Australia. Hot and dry El Niño conditions could drive this.
The bushfire risk has also been intensified by boosted vegetation from three summers of La Niña rainfall. Increased growth creates more fire fuel.
When will the smoke stop?
The burns will likely finish today. The RFS expects warmer temperatures and increased winds to disperse some smoke today. Haze could linger in parts of Sydney until later this week, however.
Drivers have been asked to slow down, keep their windows closed, and turn on their headlights in areas where smoke has impacted road visibility.
The RFS also recommended pet owners keep animals inside, or ensure they have access to a smoke-protected