Sydney cloaked in thick soup of smoke amid 'out of control' fires storming across bush

More than 2,000 firefighters are battling fires ripping through bush close to Australia's largest city.

Sydney has been left shrouded in a soup of thick red smoke after "mega-fires" consumed an area larger than Shropshire.

On Friday evening, local time, New South Wales Rural Fire Service had placed emergency warnings on three "out of control" blazes burning across more than 1,100 square miles of land.

In some areas residents have been warned "it is too late to leave", with others told there is a "risk to life and properties".

Numerous smaller fires remain under control, with crews from New Zealand and Canada joining efforts to douse flames.

It is thought smoke from the blazes could "drift all the way across to New Zealand" in the coming days, fire bosses said.

Trees were pictured ablaze next to roads in New South Wales. Credit: AP

Harrowing video shows roadside trees ablaze, with aerial footage depicting large areas of trees alight.

Shane Fitzsimmons, New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner, said in an on-camera statement: "We are very mindful that these fires are putting up a huge amount of smoke.

"The smoke drift is going all the way across to New Zealand and is being captured and reported on satellites as impacting communities that far away.

"So these fires are significant, the fire behaviour is extraordinary."

Sydney's iconic Opera House was cloaked in a red soup of smoke on Friday. Credit: AP

Conditions are set to worsen in the coming days, with high temperatures of 30c (86F) predicted at the start of next week.

Sustained drought in the region has left parched ground a tinder-box for flames, easily ignited by high temperatures.

Since October, bushfires have killed six people and destroyed more than 700 homes across Australia.