Smoke haze and hot temperatures in Canberra over the holidays

The smoke haze impacting Canberra from bushfires in NSW and the hot conditions are expected to continue over Christmas and New Year.

The smoke haze impacting Canberra from bushfires in NSW and the hot conditions are expected to continue over Christmas and New Year.  

The smoky conditions will impact the air quality in different parts of the ACT at different times, depending on weather conditions and bushfire activity.

Health advice in the smoky conditions

All Canberrans are reminded to be aware of the environment over the holiday period and, when there is smoke around, avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity outside.

People who are sensitive to smoke, especially those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions, should take extra care and stay indoors where possible and take medication prescribed by their doctor. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plan. 
 
People who are sensitive to smoke and air pollution includes:

  • people with heart or lung conditions (including asthma)
  • children aged less than 14 years
  • pregnant women, and
  • people over 65 years of age.

Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice from their doctor. And anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing should seek urgent medical attention and in the event of a medical emergency call triple-zero (000).

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman on ways to look after your health in the smoky conditions.

Staying healthy in the heat

With extreme heat also forecast for the holiday period, it is important for everyone to be aware and prepare for the hot temperatures. 

During these times, it is vital to stay hydrated and to keep cool.

People who are sensitive to smoke and air pollution can also be more vulnerable to heat-related illness. During the hot weather check on others to see that they are okay.

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman on how to beat the heat.

Travelling safely over the holidays

With the bushfires currently burning in our surrounding region, it is important to heed the advice of our emergency services and to keep up-to-date on changing conditions. Stay informed via the ACT Emergency Services Agency website and download the NSW Fires Near Me app.

If travelling by car, be prepared. Make sure you take plenty of water in case of traffic delays or car breakdown. Also make sure you have your medications on hand and stored in a cool place.

While everyone should dress in cool, comfortable and loose-fitting clothing this is particularly important for pregnant women, young children and the elderly.

Never leave children or pets alone in the car, even for a minute. 

If you are travelling overseas, make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. If you are not sure what vaccines are recommended for your destination, contact your GP or local travel doctor.

Where can I find further information?

For further information on minimising the health impacts of outdoor smoke, refer to our factsheet
 
For further tips on how to beat the heat see our summer safety page.

The ACT Health Directorate is continuing to monitor the air quality in the ACT and will advise the public of additional public health advice if needed. For those interested in monitoring the levels of smoke in the air (PM2.5), see our Health advice for smoky air page. 
 
At this time, the smoky air conditions are expected to continue to impact the ACT while the NSW bushfires are burning, with dense smoke impacting parts of our region. For further information on weather conditions, visit the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Page last updated on: 24 Dec 2019