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Asthma & Bushfire Smoke

Bushfire smoke and smoke from prescribed burning activities can be a major trigger for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions. It’s important to be prepared and know how to respond if you are exposed to smoke.

Prescribed burning occurs across the ACT by ACT Parks and Conservation Service and the ACT Rural Fire Service.  Prescribed burns reduce fuel hazard, assist in the protection of assets (natural, cultural, and/or built), our rural landscape and our water supply. They can promote ecological diversity, and improve fire fighter safety by reducing fuels in strategic areas. 

Prescribed burns generally occur in spring or autumn but can occur in other parts of the year if suitable conditions exist.  Every effort will be made to conduct the burn in weather conditions that will minimise the impact of smoke on residents. Fire managers are constantly monitoring weather to ensure that burns will not adversely affect the community. 

Keep up-to-date on the prescribed burn schedule here

Sign up to receive notification emails here

What do I do?

Tips to stay safe and well if there is bushfire smoke in your area:

  • Stay indoors when there is smoke (unless you are advised to evacuate); close all windows and doors and block air vents.
  • If you have an air conditioner, use it - set it to recycle, at home and in the car.
  • Avoid doing physical activity outdoors while smoke is around. 
  • Continue using your asthma preventer medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Always have your asthma reliever medication (blue/grey puffer) with you, and use it as soon as you get symptoms - to prevent them from getting worse. If available, use a spacer as it helps get more medication into your lungs.
  • If your asthma reliever medication isn’t working, or needed 2-3 times hourly or more, seek urgent medical advice by calling 000 for an ambulance. 
  • Older people, children, and those working at the fire front are most at risk, so be aware and if you notice someone having trouble access help fast.
  • If you don’t have an Asthma Action Plan, or are unsure what to do in an asthma emergency, follow the Asthma First Aid procedure on the back of this brochure.


Asthma & Bushfire Smoke brochure (PDF 267.5KB)

complete with useful contact numbers and Asthma First Aid

Contact the Asthma Helpline

Got a question about asthma? Please complete the form below to email us your questions and one of our Asthma Helpline team will get back to you as soon as they can. If you'd rather speak to someone directly, you can also call 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) during business hours.

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