MELBOURNE: Smoke from raging bushfires in Australia blanketed parts of neighbouring New Zealand on Sunday, turning the sky over Auckland a bright orange.

The city is more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from southeastern Australia, parts of which have been devastated by bushfires that have raged for months.

As the skies turned "scary", the public were urged by police "not to call the 111 emergency number to report the orange haze in the sky caused by the Australian bush fires".

The sky above Auckland's Sky Tower turns orange as smoke from the Australia wildfires arrives in New Zealand, Photo: AP
The sky above Auckland's Sky Tower turns orange as smoke from the Australia wildfires arrives in New Zealand, Photo: AP

"We are currently receiving high numbers of calls related to this," police said. Local police have asked residents to stop calling the nation's emergency hotline to report the issue.

Scientists say the reddish colour is caused by the smoke making blue light less visible.

Zimena Dormer-Didovich told Reuters that it was unsettling and felt "apocalyptic".

"We're in Auckland, New Zealand. That's why this is so shocking to us - we're so far away yet this smoke is so intense," Dormer-Didovich said, adding how the few hours of exposure to the smoke were being felt.

"My 14-year-old's asthma is playing up, and I'm starting to notice that my breathing is slightly affected too."

Social media was filled with photos and videos of the orange haze as one woman, identified as Namita, described the scene on Twitter as "eerie and scary".

Players practice ahead of the ASB Tennis Classic as the sky in Auckland turns orange as smoke from the Australia wildfires arrives in New Zealand,
Players practice ahead of the ASB Tennis Classic as the sky in Auckland turns orange as smoke from the Australia wildfires arrives in New Zealand, (AP)

Forecaster Weatherwatch.co.nz said the sky changed dramatically in the early afternoon.

"The skies, which were already fairly overcast, turned a dramatic orange and darkened significantly," WeatherWatch said.

The bushfires in Australia have killed 24 people, destroyed more than 1,500 homes and burnt through more than 5.25 million hectares (13 million acres) since September.

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