Parts of Sydney, and some areas of NSW, could be blanketed in smoke on Tuesday as fire crews conduct critical hazard reduction burns across the state.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) is taking advantage of favourable weather conditions in order to prepare the state for the coming bushfire season.
People with respiratory issues have been warned to limit outdoor activities as reduction burns get underway in Sydney’s north, south, and Blue Mountains areas.
According to the RFS website burns are planned for several areas across the outskirts of the city, including The Hills, Campbelltown, Hornsby, Liverpool and Hawkesbury.
Reduction buns are also scheduled for Tamworth, Port Macquarie and across the Clarence Valley.
The largest burn will occur in Arcadia area, in Sydney’s north which is likely to bring smoke to the city, a RFS spokesperson said.
“It’s likely that people will be able to smell it,” he told NCA NewsWire.
The NSW RFS posted a warning on social media about the burn off.
“Fire agencies will conduct a number of hazard reduction burns around the Sydney area,” the RFS said.
“Smoke from these burns may settle across a number of suburbs on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.”
Skies are expected to clear early on Wednesday thanks to a southerly change and forecast rain.
More burns are planned to take place later in the week but the RFS spokesperson said they could be postponed depending on how much rain falls across the city on Wednesday.
Hazard reduction burns don’t remove the threat of fire, but are just one way of preparing for the season ahead, according to the RFS.
There are various types of hazard reduction including controlled burning, mechanical clearing like slashing undergrowth, or even reducing the ground fuel by hand.
Smoke caused by these burns could trigger health issues for some and the RFS warns residents in affected areas to stay indoors, close windows and doors and remove washing from clotheslines.
Anyone living near the planned burn off areas are told to ensure their pets are protected and to retract pool covers or outdoor furniture to prevent ember damage.
“If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities if smoke levels are high and if shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice,” advice on the RFS website states.
Travellers have been told to stay away.