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Smoke and Asthma

Smoke, including wood smoke stemming from bushfires or fuel reduction burning can seriously affect the wellbeing of people with asthma, emphysema and other respiratory conditions. Fire agencies have little control over smoke produced from bushfires however, the State Government's Air Quality Policy requires that land managers and individual landowners undertaking planned burning should use best practice environmental management to minimise the effects of smoke pollution on individuals and the community. In implementing this fuel reduction burning is undertaken when weather conditions will minimise the likelihood of smoke drifting into local communities.

Respiratory problems can be triggered by smoke particles in the air. During periods of high smoke, the Asthma Foundation of Tasmania recommends people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses should:

  • Always carry your blue reliever puffer
  • Minimise the amount of physical outdoor activity
  • Ideally, stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed
  • Have your Written Asthma Action Plan and all respiratory medication prescribed by your doctor close at hand
  • If using an air conditioner or heat pump at home or in the car, set it to 'recycle'
  • Try to minimise exposure to other irritants such as cigarette smoke and dust
  • Ensure you have access to a phone. Never feel embarrassed to dial 000. It's better to be safe than sorry.

For more information, please contact the Asthma Foundation on 1800 645 130 or visit the web site http://www.asthmatas.org.au/ or contact your local doctor.

If you have concerns about the health impacts of smoke, please contact the Department of Health and Human Services on 1800 671 738 (DHHS Environmental Health) or visit the website at http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/peh/alerts/air.