Sydney blanketed by bushfire smoke amid soaring temperatures and high-risk conditions

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The Sydney CBD is barely visible from much of the city this morning as a thick smoke haze from the bushfires chokes large parts of NSW, with health experts warning those with medical conditions to stay inside.

Key points: Sydneysiders woke to a thick blanket of smoke on Tuesday morningIt is from a bushfires at Gospers Mountain, north-west of SydneyThe Rural Fire Service is on high alert today, amid hot, dry conditions

The Department of Environment said the smoke had pushed air quality beyond “hazardous” levels in Sydney’s north-west, the northern tablelands and the north-west slopes.

The smoke is spreading from the Gospers Mountain fire, which has burnt more than 120,000 hectares north-west of Sydney and remains an out of control fire.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 48 fires burning across the state, with 23 uncontained, and today’s hot and windy conditions have the Rural Fire Service (RFS) on high alert.

“Many of the active fires may spread,” an RFS spokesperson said.

There are 1,400 firefighters working to curb the spread of those fires but RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said there was “the potential for real challenges”.

“We’ve got not only these high temperatures, the mid to high 30s, the dry atmosphere, but we’ve got this real mix of converging winds today,” he said.

A northerly wind will make its way down the coast and inland, before swinging around to the south-west and strengthening, and later a blustery southerly will travel up the coast.

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“We’re very mindful of what’s likely to unfold today,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.

The RFS has also warned that fires around the northern rivers district may close the Pacific Highway later today.

Keep windows and doors shut

The smoke blanketing much of the state is expected to dissipate later this morning but will return by the afternoon.

The air quality is worst in western Sydney, around Richmond and Rouse Hill, where air pollution is around two to three times the national standard.

Richard Broome from the Department of Health said the risks from the smoke were minor for most people, with sore eyes and a sore throat the