On Tuesday morning, Tumut residents woke up to the view and the smell of smoke that had blanketed the region overnight.
Daniel Osborne from the NSW Rural Fire Service said that the smoke could be coming from a number of different fires, including internal burning that is occurring nearby because of the Dunns Road fire, the Orroral Valley fire to the east in the ACT, or the Snowy Monaro fires to the south.
Tumut is positioned almost in the middle of these fires. The towns’ position, partnered with the fact that it’s in a valley, makes Tumut prone to smoke whilst fires continue to burn.
Mr Osborne explained that a lack of wind and temperature changes overnight contribute to smoke behaviours and encourage it to settle in the valley.
“Typically overnight when the temperatures come down, the smoke gets pushed back down to the ground because it’s heavier than the air,” he said.
“That contributes to the smoke sort of being socked-in to an area.
“Without the wind, and with that inversion layer staying [in place] keeping that smoke down, [the smoke] just hangs around until the inversion burns off throughout the day, and if wind picks up it will blow out.”
Unfortunately the region could be in for a lot more smoke over the coming weeks. The smokes behaviour will depend on wind increases and decreases, wind direction and other weather factors, but as long as fires continue to burn, smoke is a possibility.
“It all hinges on real, meaningful rain,” Mr Osborne said.
People are encouraged to take precautions against the smoke such as closing windows, avoiding vigorous outdoor activity, spending more time indoors, running an air conditioner to filter out some particles, and avoiding indoor sources of air pollution like cigarettes, candles and incense sticks. People with respiratory illnesses and diseases are encouraged to stay inside and follow their doctors’ advice about medicine and their asthma management plan if they have one.