Saturday, November 2, 2013

"Sydney blanketed in smoke again"


From Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday November 2, 2013:

Sydney blanketed in smoke again
Date November 2, 2013 - 12:53PM
Ben Grubb

Bushfires and subsequent backburning in and around the Hawkesbury and Blue 
Mountains regions caused a thick haze of smoke to blanket Sydney on Saturday 

‘‘It’s [being caused by] fires burning up around the Hawkesbury and Blue 
Mountains region,’’ said Inspector Ben Shepherd, a spokesman for the NSW 
Rural Fire Service. "Those fires are still burning and will do so for a while yet."

The smoke haze had blown into the city on a north-westerly, Inspector 
Shepherd said at about 9.30am on Saturday, and would clear over the next few 

‘‘[The smoke] got trapped underneath some cloud cover this morning ... but it 
should clear over the next few hours once it actually starts to warm up a bit,’’ 
he said.

Places in the city’s north, such as Lindfield, reported pollution readings on 
Saturday morning as high as 828 on the Air Quality Index, compared with a 
typical reading of about 50 for Sydney, according to monitoring by the NSW 
Office of Environment and Heritage. Above 100 is considered poor air quality 
while above 200 is considered hazardous. Randwick reported pollution readings 
of 258, Rozelle, 229, Chullora, 113, St Marys, 141, and Earlwood 148.

Rob Sharpe, a meteorologist for Weatherzone, which is owned by Fairfax 
Media, said visibility and air quality should improve by 2pm as a sea breeze 
developed and pushed the smoke further inland and up into the earth's 

"We’re expecting it to gradually dissipate over the next couple of hours as the 
sea breeze develops," Sharpe said just before 12pm. "That will bring in cleaner 
air from offshore."

He said air quality deteriorated during the morning due to smoke filtering in 
from the west with light westerly winds. It caused "much" of Sydney's east to 
experiencing hazardous air quality, with Lindfield in the space of an hour going 
from a pollution reading of 28 to 589.

"This smoke has been trapped down near the surface due to an inversion," he 
said. "So there’s warmer air above the air at the surface and that’s trapping all 
the smoke down at the surface."

As of early Saturday morning there were 43 bushfires burning across NSW, 15 
of which remain uncontained.

Fighting them are approximately 500 firefighters, who would be out in the field 
on Saturday, Inspector Shepherd said.

At Mona Vale Headland, about 10am:

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