CANBERRA, Australia -- Australia's second-largest city Melbourne and other parts of Victoria had some of the worst air in the world Tuesday due to smoke from bush fires burning in the state's north and east, authorities said.
Melburnians woke up to a second consecutive day of "hazardous" air quality Tuesday, and by the afternoon the city had the worst air in the world, according to world air quality database IQ Air Visual.
"Overnight for Melbourne, it did reach the worst in the world," Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
"Those conditions are obvious when there are cooler temperatures and the particulate matter can settle very low to the ground."
The smoke delayed the first day's qualifying matches for the Australian Open on Tuesday morning, and suspended practice less than a week ahead of the opening of the first tennis grand slam of the year.
A thick blanket of smoke stretched form bush fire-ravaged East Gippsland to Geelong through Melbourne city and its suburbs.
The smoke also set off false fire alarms in the city.
People have been advised to stay indoors. Sutton said even healthy people were at risk while the air quality level remained hazardous.
Dean Stewart, a senior forecaster for the Bureau of Meteorology, told reporters that southwest winds on Wednesday will start lifting the smoke.
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