Sydney Air Quality

Old Dec 19, 19, 2:47 pm
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Sydney Air Quality

My wife and I are traveling to Australia in January. We are currently scheduled to split time between Sydney and Melbourne. She is pregnant so I wanted to see if any one had any input on the current state of the air quality in Sydney. I know we are still a month away but we are considering just spending all of our time in the Melbourne area just to play it safe. We have never been to Australia before so ideally we would not skip Sydney but not the end of the world if it makes the most sense.Thanks for the input!
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Old Dec 19, 19, 3:14 pm
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Depends on the weather. Last week I was there and it was fine. Early in the week it was terrible.
Zero possibility to guess what next month would be like.

Cheers
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Old Dec 19, 19, 10:59 pm
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There's been some very bad days (probably in the order of 4 or 5) but what I would say is I've certainly had a lot worse days in places like Seoul, Beijing etc.Today is bad for Sydney but would be about what you'd expect on a typical summer day in Tokyo. I don't think it makes any sense to change plans at this point in time as it's likely that there shouldn't be an issue and you won't really know whether a day is going to be bad until a day or two before.
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Old Dec 20, 19, 1:15 am
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Melbourne is getting hit with smoke from the NSW bushfires as well, dependent on wind direction, so that might not be the safe bet you think it is
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Old Dec 20, 19, 3:49 am
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The Sydney air quality was bad enough for a few days to force key infrastructure as the Sydney port to stop work as conditions were unsafe for their workers. This has never happened before. There were also over 100 buildings which had their fire alarms triggered by the smoke (including the HQ for the fire service, ironically enough). Unprecedented conditions. The good news is that it is wood smoke, and not nitrous oxide or burning plastic for the most part, so not carcinogenic as some fires can be. The wind conditions were unusual and in the past not likely to occur in January -- however the past weather patterns are changed this year, and the worst fires tend to hit in Feb or March, so the worst may yet to come. Melbourne is somewhat safer for air quality, but again there have been fires in the US which have been as bad or worse, just not near major tourist areas (the last one was the Berkeley fire in 1991, which was a rare urban forest fire and would have burned the city to the SF Bay except for a wind change -- Sydney is not exposed to that event).
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Old Dec 20, 19, 5:03 pm
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Originally Posted by IMOA View Post
There's been some very bad days (probably in the order of 4 or 5) but what I would say is I've certainly had a lot worse days in places like Seoul, Beijing etc.Today is bad for Sydney but would be about what you'd expect on a typical summer day in Tokyo. I don't think it makes any sense to change plans at this point in time as it's likely that there shouldn't be an issue and you won't really know whether a day is going to be bad until a day or two before.
I agree. There have been some shocking days, but mostly it's just been like you said. There's no substantial rain forecast until March so the fires will probably just keep burning for months with the odd flare-up. Sydney was more under threat in the 1994 bushfires, when houses as close to CBD as Chatswood were being destroyed by fire, than it is today.
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Old Dec 20, 19, 11:19 pm
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Yep, 1994 was actually somewhat scary, I spent one of the afternoons standing on a fence of a friends house in West Pymble passing buckets of water from their pool across to the neighbours house which was under threat (aka, on fire, just not on fire too much at that point). These fires have put more smoke over sydney but they haven't threatened sydney the way that 1994 did.

Also to number_6's point. While visibly on the bad days it looks really bad its not nasty in the way that the bad days in Beijing/KL/Seoul are. Obviously its not wonderful but you certainly don't feel it in the throat, eyes and general health in the way that the bad days in those places hit you.
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Old Dec 21, 19, 7:00 pm
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Originally Posted by IMOA View Post
Yep, 1994 was actually somewhat scary, I spent one of the afternoons standing on a fence of a friends house in West Pymble passing buckets of water from their pool across to the neighbours house which was under threat (aka, on fire, just not on fire too much at that point). These fires have put more smoke over sydney but they haven't threatened sydney the way that 1994 did.
I remember my aunt's house up in South Turramurra that backed on to the national park was partially fire damaged.

These ones do seem more intense in that even if you have prepared your house you're still at risk of death if it comes through. And it's the radiant heat that causes death not the flames, so I guess it's just the huge fuel load out there.
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Old Dec 22, 19, 3:17 pm
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Originally Posted by bensyd View Post
I remember my aunt's house up in South Turramurra that backed on to the national park was partially fire damaged.

These ones do seem more intense in that even if you have prepared your house you're still at risk of death if it comes through. And it's the radiant heat that causes death not the flames, so I guess it's just the huge fuel load out there.
The Black Saturday fires in 2009 underscored that even with extensive preparation there is great risk of death in these scale of fires. There were 7 deaths in bunkers (fire-proof), believed to be from oxygen starvation (the fire consumed all the oxygen at ground level as it swept by) out of the 180 total deaths. Over 100 died inside their home, hence the new warning system to leave before hand. In the past foaming systems had been effective in saving houses in forest fires in US, but with this scale of fire I doubt that would work.
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Old Dec 23, 19, 2:30 am
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My eyes are sore at the moment due to the smoke and it is affecting my husband with a persistent cough.
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Old Dec 23, 19, 7:14 pm
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Originally Posted by number_6 View Post
The Black Saturday fires in 2009 underscored that even with extensive preparation there is great risk of death in these scale of fires.
Yes, but Victoria and South Australia have always had more intense fire seasons than NSW. It's not normal in NSW do have fires that last this long and are of this intensity. That Mount Gospers megafire is probably one of the largest ever recorded in Australia, and it's been burning for five weeks with no end in sight. In a typical NSW fire season you can stay and fight, but this time around you're at real risk of death. Although, touch wood, no one has died defending their home at this point.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 7:14 pm
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I've lived in Sydney most of my life and I'm here now and it's not as bad as the press is making it out. The media exaggerating to sell a story? Never.

A few weeks back it was worse, and it was worse in the Western suburbs. Several years ago it was worse. My dad, who is 82, had one tough day and that's because he was working hard outdoors in the garden on a hot smoky day.

There is definitely much less now and although you can see smoke in the sky - the sun has a weird orange glow some days - it is definitely nowhere near as bad as I've experienced in Singapore or China. It's wood smoke, not burning chemical pollution.

So unless you or your wife are bad asthmatics I would say definitely don't let it change your plans. See what you want to see and if you encounter a particularly bad day stay indoors or do something that is air-conditioned.
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Old Jan 1, 20, 7:45 pm
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Just in case anyone needed any further reason to avoid canberra
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/sto...ions-to-close/
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Old Jan 2, 20, 4:48 pm
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A QF passenger died from smoke inhalation upon deplaning at CBR airport; they were elderly with respiratory problems and died on the tarmac between the plane and the terminal building. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-Canberra.html
Unprecedented air quality problems from the current bushfires, and likely to get worse in the next few days.
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Old Jan 4, 20, 10:12 pm
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And now, all QF flights to/from CBR cancelled until further notice due to ground staff declining to work outdoors and service planes. VA and TT still operating, canít imagine itíll be long though



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