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'The Smoke Has Reached New Zealand': Dust And Haze From NSW Fires Arrives Across The Ditch

The fires tearing through New South Wales are so severe that smoke, ash and haze have descended on our neighbours in New Zealand.

Smoke and debris from fires that have claimed the lives of at least three people and destroyed more than 150 homes blew across the Tasman Sea over the weekend causing apocalyptic scenes in parts of Central Otago.

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Red and orange skies were seen by residents in Cromwell, about an hour east of Queenstown on the nation's South Island.

"There are currently 81 fires burning in NSW and the smoke has reached New Zealand. Feels like I've ended up in a Mad Max scene with stormy skies to the east!" Dale Wowk said in a Tweet including photos and a video of the eerie sky.

The orange haze in Central Otago. Image: Twitter/Dale Wowk.

Photos of Dunedin and Oamaru showed thick, grey smoke over homes and sports grounds. New Zealand media reports residents in Queenstown had to scrub ash off their cars on both Sunday and Monday morning.

Oamaru, New Zealand. Image: Twitter/Inner-City-Latte-Sippin-Dole-Bludgin-Union-Thug.
Dunedin, New Zealand. Image: Twitter/Inner-City-Latte-Sippin-Dole-Bludgin-Union-Thug.

Satellite images from both New Zealand's Met Service and the NSW Bureau of Meteorology show smoke and haze from the fires cascading across the Tasman and into the skies of New Zealand.

Image: Twitter/ Bureau of Meteorology, NSW South Wales.
Image: Met Service New Zealand.

NIWA Weather also warned people on New Zealand's North Island to prepare for their own share of smoke and dust on Sunday evening.

Haze In NZ
Image: Twitter/NIWA Weather.

There are currently 40 uncontained fires burning in NSW and 12 at a Watch and Act level. Conditions in NSW are only set to worsen on Tuesday, with high temperatures and strong winds forecast.

A total fire ban for both NSW and Queensland has been declared for Monday and Tuesday.  A catastrophic fire danger is forecast for the Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter areas on Tuesday.

Large areas of the state are also predicted to see severe and extreme fire danger.

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Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au