Firefighters burn a fire break sending smoke into the air. Photo: Chris Ison
Firefighters burn a fire break sending smoke into the air. Photo: Chris Ison

SMOG: The towns breathing in the smoke and dust

A SMOG of smoke and dust has settled over the region, reducing air quality in towns across the region.

Bureau of Meteorology metrologist Dean Narramore said fires and dusty westerly winds had combined in the atmosphere to create poor air quality in Mackay and Moranbah.

Mr Narramore said smoke and dust high up in the atmosphere was “drifting over your part of the world”.

The Department of Environment and Science reported that today there were high levels of the microscopic dust, known as PM10 in both towns.

In West Mackay, PM10 levels daily maximum average reached 91.4 micrograms per cubic metre, well above the state guidelines of 50 micrograms per cubic metre.

Moranbah’s daily maximum average was more than double the state guidelines, at 110.2 micrograms per cubic metre.

The daily maximum was 220.4 micrograms per cubic metre, more than four times the recommended levels.

For firefighters battling blazes around the around the Pioneer Valley, Proserpine, and RosellaMr Narramore said conditions would ease as easterly winds increased humidity.

“The cold front is moving out to New Zealand and a high pressure system has moved in,” he said.

“(It will) allow fireys to go in and deal with the fires.”

Tomorrow, Mr Narramore said an easterly sea breeze would moderate the heat along the coast, with daytime conditions ranging between 30 to 35 degrees in the Central Coast and Whitsundays.

Further inland, near the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Mr Narramore said temperatures would range in the mid to high 30s.

Compared to other regions, Mr Narramore said the fire conditions were “benign”.

But the eased fire danger would not last, Mr Narramore said.

BOM reported the fire danger would return to “very high” on Wednesday before easing again on Thursday to ‘high’.

For those waiting for rain, Mr Narramore said they would be disappointed.

“There’s no rain in sight. The week is looking dry,” he said.