Bushfires, Smoke, and People: assessing the risks and benefits from planned burning on the urban-rural interface

Protecting communities from severe landscape fires demands the balancing of many interests and potential risks. Reducing forest fuels through the use of planned burns is a well-established intervention to reduce the hazard of severe bushfires but a common side-effect of this practice is the short-term exposure of communities to air pollution. Our project aims to understand health risks from smoke from different types of fires, through the use of remote sensing, atmospheric modelling and epidemiology. With our partner investigators in health, atmospheric chemistry, environment and land management, we aim to support evidence-based policy and guidelines for managing smoke from planned burns and bushfires.

In 2012 the (then) Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (now DELWP) initiated a series of projects relating to smoke management and agreed that some of this funding could be used to support an application for a larger international study. A similar strong commitment to fire smoke health research was made by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and together these two organisations provided the essential foundation for building this ARC Linkage project. We hugely appreciate their support. The project commenced in August 2014.

Research Groups

Related Diseases


Team Leaders

  • Dr Fay Johnston

Local Collaborators

  • Professor David Bowman (University of Tasmania)
  • Dr Farhad Salimi (University of Tasmania)
  • Dr Grant Williamson (University of Tasmania)

External Collaborators

  • Professor Michael Abramson
  • Dr Martin Cope
  • Dr Martine Dennekamp
  • Dr Sarah Henderson
  • Prof Bin Jalaludin
  • Assoc Prof Meg Krawchuck
  • Assoc Prof Geoffrey Morgan
  • Dr Owen Price

Doctoral Students

  • James Furlaud
  • Mercy Ndalila
  • Angela Yao

Related Funding Bodies