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Bushfires and burnoffs

Planned, controlled burns are important for safety in our community. They protect life, property and the environment by reducing the fuel levels (e.g. leaves, brush and small shrubs). However, smoke is a common trigger among people with respiratory conditions like asthma.

For information about planned burn offs and bushfires visit the Department of Environment and Water SA.

They have information about planned hazard reduction burns here.

Key tips to minimise the effects of bushfire smoke:

1. Know your risks

Children, the elderly and people with respiratory conditions including asthma, are the first to feel the effects of smoke and particle pollution and need to take extra care. If you have asthma, or if you are responsible for a child or elderly person with asthma, be aware of the risk and be prepared.

2. Stay on top of your asthma management

The risk of an asthma flare-up after exposure to smoke may be reduced by maintaining good asthma control. Find out more about your current asthma control with the Asthma Control Test or call the free 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 ASTHMA 278 462) for personalised information and support.

Symptoms can occur for several days after smoke is inhaled, so people need to be aware of any signs or symptoms of their asthma worsening and follow their asthma action plan

3. Be Prepared

Make sure you have access to blue reliever medication and continue to use your preventer medication as well.

Inform others around you that you experience asthma, and where they can access your blue reliever medication, written Asthma Action Plan or the Asthma First Aid plan.

Ensure you have a fire plan in place.

4. Avoid Smoke

  • When smoke is in the air, but a fire is not directly threatening you, stay indoors and close all windows and doors.
  • Avoid doing any physical activity outdoors.

5. Take Action

  • If you develop symptoms such as coughing or wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath, follow your written Asthma Action Plan or commence Asthma First Aid.
  • If your reliever medication isn’t reducing your asthma symptoms, call the ambulance and continue with the Asthma First Aid process until the ambulance arrives.  

For further information about managing your asthma contact the 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 278 462).


Asthma and bushfire smoke brochure (PDF 475.8KB)

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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Article Last Reviewed: 13 Dec 2016  |  Article Updated: 06 Feb 2019

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