Smoke haze blankets Sydney as bushfire threat rises

SYDNEY: Sydney was shrouded in dangerous haze Tuesday (Nov 19) as smoke from bushfires blazing along Australia's eastern seaboard sent pollution levels soaring in the country's biggest city.

Official data showed that pollution had reached "hazardous" levels across Sydney, with the highest readings of PM 2.5 particulates in the city's northwest reaching 186 parts per million on the air quality index – comparable to Delhi – and residents warned to avoid outdoor exercise.

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Six people have been killed and hundreds of homes destroyed in bushfires across New South Wales and Queensland since the September start of the fire season, which peaked last week causing widespread devastation.

Cooler weather brought some respite for firefighters in recent days, but higher temperatures, gusting winds and low humidity are expected to raise the bushfire threat again on Wednesday.

Sydney woke up to a thick blanket of smoke as New South Wales warns residents of severe fire danger. (Photo: AFP/PETER PARKS)

More than 110 fires are currently burning across Australia's east, with dozens of the blazes still uncontained.

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