Bushfire smoke blankets Sydney & NSW cities; air quality index hazardous.

More than 50 bushfires are currently burning in NSW, in what may be the worst bushfire season on record.

Bushfires around NSW currently burning.
Record Breaking areas already burnt, with many fires active. Source: NSWRFS

The NSW Rural Fire Service has their hands full, with full time and volunteer firefighters working night and day to battle multiple uncontained blazes around the state. Bushfire smoke is blanketing the coastal regions as winds help spread the fires. The RFS recommends monitoring bushfire status' with Fires Near Me.

What you should know about bushfire smoke and the Air Quality Index

The Air Quality Index is a scale that categorises the amount of hazardous particles in the air. Particles of small enough sizes can't be filtered out by your respiratory system alone, and can lead to short and long term health issues. Poor air quality can trigger issues in people with angina, asthma and emphysema.

You can find your local air quality index forcast here: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/AQMS/aqi.htm

The gases in bushfire smoke include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.
Source: NSW Health

PM10 (particles with a diameter of 10 micrometres or less): these particles are small enough to pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.

PM2.5 (particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less): these particles are so small they can get deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream. There is sufficient evidence that exposure to PM2.5 over long periods (years) can cause adverse health effects. Note that PM10 includes PM2.5. 

NSW Health


The Air Quality Index

Air Quality Index scale
Source: NSW Health

Air quality as of today in Sydney East, North West, Illawarra, Central Tablelands, North West Slopes is Hazardous according to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Air Quality Index for suburbs due to bushfire smoke
Source : NSW DPIE

On November 19th, the Daily Telegraph reported that Sydney had the worst air quality in the world at the time of measurement.

Sydney’s air quality on Tuesday is among the lowest in the world – with NSW Environment’s air quality measurements reading 2334 at around 9am in Sydney’s North-West - almost 20 times worse than Jakarta and Beijing.

Source: Daily Telegraph


Sydney residents advised to stay indoors to avoid bushfire smoke. What about outdoor workers?

The NSW Rural Fire Service continues to advise that people with asthma or other breathing conditions stay indoors.

For those outdoor workers that can't remain inside, we are offering Outback Mask as a solution. Ongoing testing of our mask in Sydney smoke yielding great results. With the UV index now reaching extreme levels, the need for combined sun and respiratory protection is critical. Our patented design reduces or eliminates fogging of safety glasses from a standard dust mask. Our Polartec Delta fabric allows the wind to move through the fabric, improving evaporative cooling as well.

Outback Mask being tested in Bushfire Smoke in Sydney
Outback Mask being tested in Bushfire Smoke in Sydney
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