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Sydney smoke crisis ‘longest on record’

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Sydney : Australian bushfires have caused unprecedented pollution in Sydney and along the country’s east coast, officials said Thursday, with smoke and dust burning residents’ eyes and prompting a spike in respiratory complaints.
Hundreds of bushfires have burned out of control since September up and down the eastern seaboard, blanketing cities from Sydney to Brisbane in smoke for weeks on end.
The extent of the crisis was made clear Thursday, with the New South Wales department of environment declaring bushfires and dust had caused “some of the highest air pollution ever seen” in Australia.
The region “has experienced other periods of poor air quality that lasted several weeks, including the 1994 Sydney bushfires and the Black Christmas bushfires of Dec 2001-Jan 2002,” a spokeswoman told AFP.
“This event, however, is the longest and the most widespread in our records.” New South Wales Rural Fire Service said more than a dozen fires were burning near Sydney on Thursday, including three that carried an emergency warning.

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