Sydney smoke: Before and after photos show impact of bushfire on Australian city

(CNN)Thick smoke from Australia's catastrophic bushfires is still enveloping parts of Sydney, leaving residents to breathe hazardous air after skies turned orange and brown.

As shocking footage emerged of firefighters in New South Wales battling a towering inferno shooting upward through tall trees at high speed, the country's biggest city is choking in smoke.
The air quality dropped to hazardous levels in many areas of Sydney and the surrounds area today, according to CNN affiliate Nine News Network. The NSW Environment Department's website crashed as people crowded there to look for information.
    Local resident Melisa Henderson posted a side-by-side comparison of Sydney before and after the bushfires.
    She also took video of the hazy skies.
    Meanwhile, New South Wales is experiencing the "longest and most widespread" period of air pollution, according to CNN affiliate Seven Network.
    Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said Monday that spring 2019 was the country's driest on record, fueling one of the country's worst bushfire seasons ever.
    As of Thursday, more than 117 bush and grass fires were burning, with more than 60 not yet contained, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service.
    Seven fires with emergency warnings were in place in NSW. That is the highest level of bush fire alert, and the NSW Rural Fire Service advises people take action immediately.
    Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull posted a picture on Instagram of the haze cloaking Sydney saying:
    "I have flown back into Sydney many times but never to a sight like this."
      "The reality of climate change - hotter and drier means more fires. We have to accelerate the move to zero emission energy. It will mean a safer planet for our children and more affordable energy."