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Source: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Fires across Australia flood Sydney with smoke

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Fires spreading through Australia reached new heights this week when they covered the city of Sydney in smoke, causing public health issues and forcing people to stay indoors. Over the past few weeks, the bushfires have been tearing through rural areas along the east coast of Australia, in Queensland and New South Wales. But now that the fires have reached Sydney, the country's most populous city, more people are waking up to the severity of these fires — and the climate crisis.

All week, Sydney's skies have been orange-hued and littered with smoke and flying ash during the day, prompting people to wear masks to protect their lungs when outside, Reuters reported. The air quality is of grave concern — on Monday, the levels of PM2.5 (the most harmful air pollutant), were 22 times the accepted safety level, making going outside equivalent to smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day, according to The New York Times.