Measuring the Health Impact of Bushfire Smoke: Companion Volume for the Fire DST Project

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Fire Behaviour
Fire Weather
Hazardous Materials
Health and Safety
TitleMeasuring the Health Impact of Bushfire Smoke: Companion Volume for the Fire DST Project
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMeyer, CP(Mick), Cope, ME, Lee, S, Young, S, Keywood, M
Date Published24/04/2014
ISBN Number978-0-9925027-0-6
AbstractFires are a part of the Australian landscape and a part of the Australian experience. While they recycle nutrients to ecosystems, they damage ecosystems, property, infrastructure and human life. They also emit large quantities of trace gases and particles to the atmosphere, and this smoke can negatively impact human health of either the population close to the fire, or populations several hundred kilometres away from the source as smoke undergoes long range transport. These fires can be severe and extreme or can be small prescribed fuel reduction burns designed to reduce the severity of extreme wildfires. In the later case, while the distance this smoke may be transported is low (tens of kilometres), many prescribed burns are conducted in or near the rural-urban interface where residential human population is significant. Communities exposed to smoke from these events are increasingly concerned about the negative effect this smoke may have on the health of community members. The aim of this study was to develop a Risk Tool Kit that can be used to quantify the health impact risk of smoke from wildfires and prescribed burning and to provide tools that fire managers can use to plan prescribed burning activities that minimise health impacts from the prescribed burning smoke.