• Tony Bosworth

Smoke haze will be an issue most of this week as hazard reduction burns continue into the weekend

NSW Health is warning people to take precautions as smoke from planned hazard reduction burns causes poor air quality across Sydney, including the Hawkesbury, in the coming days.

We’ve just come off an online media catch-up with the RFS who say smoke will be a problem in the Sydney basin over the next few days as hazard reduction burns continue into the weekend – weather permitting.

NSW Health’s Executive Director of Health Protection, Dr Richard Broome talks about smoke hazards

“As you can appreciate, some of these burns were postponed last week ahead of the Anzac Day celebrations.

“What we are asking people to understand is these are important burns and in some cases they are the first in some areas for 12 months. They are programmed to continue over the coming days, and we are expecting similar smoke levels over coming days.”

NSW Health’s Executive Director of Health Protection, Dr Richard Broome, said smoke can have serious health effects, especially for people with existing heart and lung conditions.

“Smoke particles irritate the eyes and airways. For most people, this causes temporary symptoms like cough and sore throat. However, smoke particles can worsen heart and lung conditions like angina, asthma and emphysema, potentially causing serious illness,” Dr Broome said.

“Smoke from hazard reduction burns can be patchy and conditions often change rapidly. Over the coming days, the smoke is expected to be worse in the mornings, so people are advised to limit outdoor activity until it clears in the afternoon.

“It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the NSW air quality website for real-time information about air pollution levels and for advice on what action you should take.”

General tips to decrease your risk from smoke:

· Follow your doctor’s advice about medicines and your asthma management plan if you have one. Keep your medication close at hand. Consult your doctor if symptoms worsen.

· Monitor air quality: Air quality information and a health activity guide are available at https://www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/air-quality/air-quality-concentration-data-updated-hourly.

· Avoid vigorous outdoor activity when it’s smoky.

· Spend more time indoors: Keep doors and windows closed in your home until the smoke clears. Air quality is also generally better in air-conditioned venues such as cinemas, libraries and shopping centres.

· Avoid indoor sources of air pollution like cigarettes, candles and incense sticks.​​​​​

More information can be found at the NSW Health website: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/bushfire-smoke.aspx

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