Fire ban and warning on air pollution

The region and the state bracing for a scorcher with asthma sufferers warned to stay indoors from air pollution from current fires.
The region and the state bracing for a scorcher with asthma sufferers warned to stay indoors from air pollution from current fires.

Smoke from bushfires in Mt Canobalas, Belerada Creek and the Wolgan valley may affect air quality in and around Penrith, the Blue Mountains and Lithgow through Tuesday and Wednesday and people are advised to heed warnings to stay indoors and avoid outdoor exercise.

Young children, the elderly and people who have heart or lung disease, including asthma, are particularly susceptible to air pollution.

Director of Public Health at Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, Associate Professor Brad Forssman, recommends people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to have an up-to-date action plan and check they have their medications on hand, such as reliever inhalers.

“On days when air pollution is high everyone should, if possible, stay indoors and in an air-conditioned building with the windows and doors closed,” says Dr Forssman.

“Air pollution can trigger a cough, sore eyes, and shortness of breath, which can last for several days after smoke is inhaled.”

Meanwhile total fire bans have been declared for much of NSW as residents are warned to prepare for hot and windy conditions.

Conditions on Wednesday will be difficult for firefighters with Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warning residents to prepare their homes, follow their bushfire survival plan and remain vigilant.

The RFS has declared total fire bans for nine regions - the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Central Ranges, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, New England, North Western, Northern Slopes, Southern Ranges and Southern Slopes regions.

Strong south-westerly to westerly winds coupled with the ongoing heat means the landscape is very susceptible to fire, Mr Fitzsimmons said in a statement on Tuesday.

Temperatures are expected to reach 41C in Moree and Walgett in northern NSW and Muswellbrook in the Hunter region.

Penrith in Sydney's west and Tibooburra in the state's far northwest are forecast to reach 40C.

Landholders, homeowners, businesses and travellers need to seriously consider how they could be affected and start planning now, he said.

"Use today and tonight to have a discussion about what you will do if a fire starts near you, so everyone in your household knows your bushfire survival plan," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

Earlier this week the Mount Canobolas fire near Orange in the state's central west threatened homes and prompted two Emergency Warning alerts. The fire has burnt through more than 1100 hectares of land.

Asthma sufferers are warned to seek medical attention if you experience shortness of breath or chest pain that doesn’t respond to rest or your usual treatment.

For more information about air pollution and health go to:  

with AAP.