Warning: Sydney smoke haze from hazard reduction burns

Smoke over Sydney. Photo: NSW RFS Twitter

NSW Health is warning people to take precautions as smoke from planned hazard reduction burns causes poor air quality across Sydney and parts of NSW in the 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 here.
  • 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 here.