Australia

Regions of New South Wales face hazardous air quality as fires burn across the state

More than 40 bushfires are still burning across New South Wales after rain fell on some firegrounds, but air quality in Sydney won't improve for some time.

New South Wales bushfires remain at the lowest alert level after rain fell on some fire grounds overnight, while air quality is hazardous in parts of the state.

Early on Saturday morning, 48 fires were still burning in NSW with 20 of those yet to be contained.

Greater Sydney, the Central Coast and parts of the mid-north coast and northern NSW received some rain on Friday, with the Rural Fire Service in a tweet saying crews would identify any new fires from thunderstorms.

The Sydney skyline is seen from Balmain as winds blow smoke from bushfires over the CBD.
The Sydney skyline is seen from Balmain as winds blow smoke from bushfires over the CBD.
AAP

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Abrar Shabren said that while some firegrounds received rain, most didn't.

"(There wasn't) much reprieve or relief in the far north or north east where fires are burning but certainly in the mid-north coast we did see a good amount of showers," he told AAP on Saturday.

Thick bushfire smoke has blanketed parts of the state in recent days, and air quality remained poor or very poor in parts of Sydney on Saturday morning.

It was also poor in the lower Hunter, Central Coast and South-West slopes regions - while in the Central Tablelands and North-West Slopes, it was considered hazardous.

Thick smoke blankets the Illawarra region, Wollongong on Thursday.
Thick smoke blankets the Illawarra region, Wollongong on Thursday.
AAP

"We won't see the smoke really go out of Sydney until we see a significant system move in with a change in the wind," Mr Shabren said.

He said more thunderstorms and showers were expected to develop on Saturday.

"Possibly up in the north, around where the fires are we could see some thunderstorms develop today and in the next few days as well, but much of the activity will be today," Mr Shabren said.

Some of those thunderstorms on Saturday could be severe, he said, and there's also a change of storms developing in greater western Sydney and moving towards the coast.

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