A vivid orange sky caused by the Australian bush fires has given Northlanders further appreciation of the devastation our transtasman neighbours are experiencing, but the colourful haze is not causing any health issues in the region, at this stage.

On Sunday night Northland was lit up by a bright orange hue as the effects of the fires more than 2000km away made their presence felt right across New Zealand.

The sky was bright orange across the country, but Northland mostly seeing the affects from around 4.30pm. And there's a chance the dramatic orange skies could be back over the weekend or early next week.

Northern Advocate photographer Tania Whyte took this image at Whangārei Heads on Sunday evening. Photo / Tania Whyte
Northern Advocate photographer Tania Whyte took this image at Whangārei Heads on Sunday evening. Photo / Tania Whyte

Australia's worst bush fire season on record has caused devastation to large swathes of the country and led to at least 24 deaths and hundreds of homes being destroyed, with some entire villages wiped out. It's also estimated to have killed more than 480 million animals.

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More than 5 million hectares of NSW bush land has now been burnt, and thousands of Australian Defence Force personnel descended on fire-ravaged towns yesterday as hundreds of people are expected to find out their homes have been destroyed.

In South Australia, a convoy of army vehicles with up to 100 reservists is heading for Kangaroo Island as the recovery gathers pace. The blaze, which has burnt more than 155,000ha inside a 300km perimeter, is still active in some areas.
In Victoria, showers are giving firefighters some relief but hot conditions are forecast to return later in the week. More than a million ha have burnt statewide, 800,000 of them in East Gippsland alone.

Advocate photographer Michael Cunningham captured this orange skyline over Morningside, from the roundabout on Okara Drive and Porowini Ave, Whangārei, at 5.30pm on Sunday. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Advocate photographer Michael Cunningham captured this orange skyline over Morningside, from the roundabout on Okara Drive and Porowini Ave, Whangārei, at 5.30pm on Sunday. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Sunday was the most graphic illustration yet to Northlanders of the fires' impact as most of the region, along with the rest of the country, was covered in an eerie, scary orange glow.
Photos taken by our staff and provided by readers show the effects, with people also commenting on how it made them appreciate even more just how hard things are on the other side of the Tasman Sea.

Jenny Kirk, in Whangārei, said like everybody she knew about the bush fires, and she has siblings who live in Melbourne and near Bundaberg, and had been watching with absolute horror and worry just how fierce these fires are.

Reader Jenny Kirk took this eerie image from Whau Valley, Whangārei, at about 4pm Sunday. Photo / Jenny Kirk
Reader Jenny Kirk took this eerie image from Whau Valley, Whangārei, at about 4pm Sunday. Photo / Jenny Kirk

''And I've been remembering as a child (some time in the 1950s) going up to a ridge above our house in Glenfield to look over at Auckland City where orange smoke had drifted across from some Victoria fires. But it was nothing like the scale of these fires and I think it was mostly countryside that was burning then, not whole towns,'' Kirk said.

''But I've never seen anything so eerie before. And I just cannot imagine how awful it must be to be in the midst of it - choking thick smoke and ashes. It is horrendous. This is a frightening indication of what the world has become like.''

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In Kaitaia Trevor Beatson said took images of the orange sky on Ninety Mile Beach.
"The colour of the sky is just orange which throws an eerie light all round the area ... it's so different," Beatson said.

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Trevor Beatson took this shot from the north looking towards Ahipara village and Whangatautia, on Ninety Mile Beach about 6pm Sunday. Photo / Trevor Beatson.
Trevor Beatson took this shot from the north looking towards Ahipara village and Whangatautia, on Ninety Mile Beach about 6pm Sunday. Photo / Trevor Beatson.

Brent Webb captured his drone images at 6.08pm on Pakaru Rd Kawakawa.

"At first it looked like a storm coming in and then it went slightly orange and then real orange... (there was) a very surreal feeling of sadness for Australia. We just stood outside and watched,'' Webb said.

Brent Webb used a drone to capture this image at 6.08pm Sunday at Pakaru Rd, Kawakawa. Photo / Brent Webb
Brent Webb used a drone to capture this image at 6.08pm Sunday at Pakaru Rd, Kawakawa. Photo / Brent Webb

While the bush fires smoke caused such a dramatic sky, it is not causing any health issues, at this stage.

Northland Regional Council Resource Scientist – Air Obi Khanal said the council's particulate monitors did not show noticeable particulate concentration increase as a result of orange sky.

Dr Khanal said the smoke plume was very high in the atmosphere with the particles not low enough to cause any issues. The NRC will continue to monitor the situation and will let the public know if there are any potential health issues.

Pou at Maitai Bay, on the Karikari Peninsula, contrast against the orange sky caused by the Australian bushfires well over 2000km away.
Pou at Maitai Bay, on the Karikari Peninsula, contrast against the orange sky caused by the Australian bushfires well over 2000km away.

Niwa meteorologist Seth Carrier said the spectacular orange sky is unlikely to reappear in Northland during this week, but may be back late this weekend or early next week, depending on what happened to the fires.

''A northerly flow up the country (yesterday) pushed the smoke plume off the top of the North Island. It's unlikely to be back (today) although there's a possibility the Far North may still see something,'' he said.

Carrier said if the fires were doused to some degree this week Northland may not see any further dramatic skies, but if they grew, or more fires started, that could change.

Ian McNee took this image at Solomon's Point, Whangārei Heads, between 4.30pm and 5.30pm on Sunday.
Ian McNee took this image at Solomon's Point, Whangārei Heads, between 4.30pm and 5.30pm on Sunday.