Smoke from the Australian bushfires has already started having an impact in Northland, but the effects will be far more noticeable today.

The top half of the North Island woke yesterday morning to a red-tinged rising sun, a day after 'apocalyptic' haze from the Australian bushfire crisis hit the South Island.

In Northland this produced a reddish early morning glow and a 'hazy' effect throughout the day.

And NIWA meteorologist Seth Carrier said Northlanders should notice far more of an impact today when smoke from the wild bushfires is expected to make a presence over the region.


The decade closed to an inferno in Australia with holidaymakers huddled on the beaches, whole towns devoured, dozens of homes destroyed and at least two lives lost on the deadliest day of the worst bushfire season on record.

The Australian Defence Force and emergency services in Victoria were preparing late yesterday to evacuate people stranded in the beachside town of Mallacoota in East Gippsland.

With around 4000 people stranded on Mallacoota Beach, most of them tourists, HMAS Choules has been sent to the area with the possibility of beginning to evacuate people by sea, the Australian reports.

Meanwhile, in New South Wales, authorities had less than 24 hours to move the thousands of people stranded on the South Coast who face a humanitarian crisis amid looming horror fire conditions.

Hundreds of people queued for hours yesterday to get food and supplies after power was lost to thousands of homes across the region. A road has been opened north of Batemans Bay to allow stranded holidaymakers to return towards Sydney. There are 50,000 homes without power and residents have no phone service and are low on fuel.

A NIWA map showing smoke from the Australian bushfires heading across the Tasman towards Northland.
A NIWA map showing smoke from the Australian bushfires heading across the Tasman towards Northland.

Carrier said while the South Island had so far seen the worst of the bushfire effects, the North Island would be seeing more today.

He said Northlanders would expect to see smoke from the fires, but the worst of that was likely to have been overnight/ early hours of this morning.

''So because it will be dark you are unlikely to see the worst of the smoke, but it will still be visible to some extent [today]. You may see a bit of yellowing or reddening in the sky as well and a bit of a hazy look too. So more of an optical effect really,'' Carrier said.


''The smoke will then mainly disappear on Saturday, so Saturday should be relatively smokefree up there, but there's a chance the smoke will return to Northland on Sunday.''

He said the smoke would be fairly high in the atmosphere so is unlikely to cause any health problems for Northlanders.

The devastating bushfires are a reminder of just how much damage fire can cause, with Northland under a restricted fire season.

Despite being tinder dry, and at risk of going up in flames too, there have still been several fires in Northland over the past week, particularly in the Far North, with at least one believed caused by fireworks.