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Managing smoke and its impact on the community

Hazard reduction is an important tool in protecting communities from the threat of fire.

The NSW Government is committed to carrying out hazard reduction burning, while balancing the potential impacts of smoke on the community.

An interagency committee has been formed to better manage smoke impacts on human health and the environment from hazard reduction burns. The Smoke Management Steering Committee consists of representatives from:

  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (Science, Economics and Insights)
  • NSW Rural Fire Service
  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (National Parks and Wildlife Service)
  • Fire and Rescue NSW
  • Forestry Corporation NSW
  • NSW Environment Protection Authority
  • NSW Health
  • Bureau of Meteorology

The committee has established protocols around assessing the likely impact of smoke on communities, actions which may limit the impact of smoke where possible, and how to communicate with members of the community about preventative action to reduce the effects of smoke.


  • Agencies consider the impact of smoke on local communities when hazard reduction burns are planned and carried out.
  • Notifications are required to local residents close to the hazard reduction burn.
  • Hazard reduction burns are carried out when conditions are suitable, and may be postponed or changed depending on prescription, weather conditions and possible impact of smoke.


  • When there are large hazard reduction burns or multiple burns which may create significant amounts of smoke across a broad area, smoke modelling and forecasts are used to assess where smoke may drift or settle.
  • Agencies will assess the impact of smoke across the community and may take steps to change planned burns to reduce the impact of smoke.
  • Changes may include postponing some burns, adjusting lighting patterns or adjusting the size of the burn.
  • Weather conditions are monitored.

  • Agencies will seek to communicate with the community in advance of smoke impact, so people can take preventative action.
  • Where weather conditions change, or where there is greater impact of smoke than forecasted, agencies will communicate with the community about actions that can be taken to reduce the effects of smoke.
  • Air quality monitoring, air quality forecasting, smoke advisories, media alerts and social media will alert you to the likely impact of smoke, or when smoke is impacting.

While there is a role for Government and agencies in evaluating, limiting and communicating the impact of smoke, members of the community also have a role in understanding the effects of smoke and taking preventative action where possible.

There is a range of ways that you can monitor the potential for smoke in your area, including: