Smoke shrouds Sydney as fires continue

The Canary

Hazardous smoke blanketed Sydney on 21 November as wildfires burned across eastern and southern Australia.

Thick smog shrouded Australia’s most populous city, leaving its iconic skyline barely visible two days after smoke created serious air quality issues.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service said the smoke came from some of the 50-plus wildfires burning mainly in northern parts of the state. Air pollution levels were reading nearly 10 times higher than the national standard.

“The smoke is expected to continue for several days,” the fire service said.

Wildfires have destroyed more than 600 homes in the state of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital.

Australia Wildfires
A jogger runs in the morning as smoke haze hangs over the Sydney Opera House in Sydney (Rick Rycroft/AP)

The annual Australian fire season normally peaks during the southern hemisphere summer, but has started early after an unusually warm and dry winter.

People with respiratory or heart conditions were advised to stay indoors and seek medical advice when necessary.

The fire danger has also spread, with authorities declaring a high fire risk for parts of the southern state of Victoria. It is the first time in a decade Victoria has been declared Code Red, with the highest possible fire risk and a statewide total fire ban.

Temperatures were forecast to breach 40C (104F) in the state’s north.

Victoria Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp warned Victorians to be vigilant.

“Given fires could start and move quickly, you won’t always receive a warning or be told what to do if a fire starts,” he said.

The fire danger was also elevated to “severe” in the island state of Tasmania, while more than 40 wildfires have broken out in South Australia.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us