Megan O'Neil didn't need a filter to make this image more spectacular.
Megan O'Neil didn't need a filter to make this image more spectacular. Megan O'Neil

Why bushfires give our sun a red glow

RESIDENTS all around the region have been mesmerised by the red glow of the setting sun over the last few days.

In the weekly cover photo call-out on the Daily News Facebook page, 17 people shared pictures of the ruby beauty.

While many may be aware that a red sun can be caused by bushfires in the area, it prompted the question as to why this was the case.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Adam Blazak confirmed the bushfire at Wallangarra was the cause of the change in colour, saying it was common sight when fires were raging.

The dust hanging around the region and position of the smoke in the atmosphere were also contributing factors, he said.

"There would be a lot of ash in the air and generally that will create the red," Mr Blazak said.

"It also depends on where the smoke gets trapped in the atmosphere, I believe in this situation the smoke is being quite close to the surface.

"It doesn't get a chance to thin out, that's why it would be coming out that colour."

Mr Blazak said the ash particles caused the light to reflect and scatter.

"The white light is made up of all the colours of the rainbow and so the ash tends to scatter away all the other colours except red," he said.

"Red is a longest wavelength so the ash scatters away the other colours and we're just left with the red end of the spectrum."


Mr Blazak said the red sun would likely be seen while the bushfire continued to burn.

Fire crews worked overnight yesterday to conduct major back burning operations and water bombers are returning to the area today to help fight the blaze.

The fire is currently headed in a north-westerly direction.

Mr Blazak said Warwick was due for a scorcher today, with a top of 39 degrees predicted.

An upper level ridge was causing the high temperatures, he said.

"By the weekend things might cool off a little bit, it would be worthwhile keeping an eye on the forecast," he said.

"It might be affected by the tropical cyclone as it approaches the coast."

While there is no rain currently on the radar for the next few days, Mr Blazak held out a bit of hope for the weekend.

"Over the weekend there is some uncertainty and if we all cross our fingers we might see an increase in shower activity but it's too early to make guarantees," he said.

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