The smoke covered Sydney city Opera House and Harbour Bridge are seen as a man takes a picture at Mrs Macquarie's Chair on Sydney Harbour on November 19, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. NSW remains under severe or very high fire danger warnings as more than 50 fires continue to burn across the state. Six lives and 530 homes have been lost since NSW bushfire season hit, with more than 420 homes destroyed in the past fortnight alone. )
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
  • Sydney, Australia's most populated city, is being choked by a thick blanket of smoke from nearby brushfires.
  • At least six people have died since the fires started, and more than 420 homes have been destroyed in the past two weeks alone.
  • Pictures of the city show Sydney's most iconic areas appear completely gray.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Australia's most populated city was covered with a thick blanket of smoke on Tuesday as bushfires in nearby regions continue to cause devastating damage to Australian communities and wildlife.

A series of major wildfires have hit Australia's eastern coastal states of New South Wales and Queensland. As of 4 p.m. local time on Tuesday, there were several major bushfires burning in New South Wales, the nearest one in Gosper's Mountain located some 200 kilometres from Sydney.

According to the New South Wales air quality control index, areas in Sydney's north-west and east reported "hazardous" levels of pollutants in the air. The government warned that conditions would be "unhealthy for sensitive people, and could cause symptoms, especially in people with heart or lung disease".

The heavy smoke made Sydney the 12th worst city in the world for air quality, behind global hubs with notoriously bad air quality like Delhi, Mumbai, and Mongolia's capital of Ulaanbaatar.

According to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, in addition to the smokey haze, Sydney was also experiencing a heatwave with temperatures soaring to 34 degrees Celsius.

Sydney is home to around 5 million people, equal to roughly one-fifth of the country's population of 25 million.

Here are 13 pictures that show Sydney under siege as fires continue to rage in the distance.


The entire Sydney skyline was clouded by smoke on Tuesday.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

New South Wales remains under severe or very high fire danger warnings.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

In Sydney's Central area, tall skyscrapers were barely visible in the distance.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge were heavily obstructed from view.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The sprawling city skyline was dark and gloomy.

Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Major tourists sites were completely gray.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

More than 420 homes have been destroyed in the past two weeks alone.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Source: The Guardian


The New South Wales Rural Fire Service warned that the smoke is "likely to hang around for the next few days."

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Source: The Guardian


Scientists have said that Australia's fire season is beginning earlier and becoming more extreme as a result of climate change.

PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images

Still, Australian officials have been quiet on the links between climate change and bushfires that are intensifying as Australia approaches summer.

Cassie Trotter/Getty Images

Source: The Guardian


Smoke could be seen from planes flying in from interstate.


Some social media users were surprised that a fire 200 kilometers away caused so much smoke.


Six people have been killed by the bushfires which officials called "unprecedented."

Source: BBC

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