Now the cooler months are here, people are using their wood heaters and smoke can be seen in many areas across Tasmania.
EPA Tasmania and Public Health Services are encouraging residents to use their wood heaters responsibly to minimise smoke emissions.
Dr John Innis from EPA Tasmania says air quality monitoring undertaken across Tasmania shows that there is poor air quality in several locations during the winter months, when people are using their wood heaters. "On still winter days and nights, smoke tends to linger and build up around our towns and neighbourhoods, which is unpleasant and unhealthy so good wood heater operation is important".
The Director of Public Health Dr Mark Veitch says smoke reduces the quality of the air we breathe and affects some people's health.
"The smaller particles in wood smoke can be breathed deeply into our lungs and even enter the bloodstream," Dr Veitch says.
"This can worsen conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema and heart disease".
Dr Innis says the amount of smoke coming from a wood heater is dependent on the age and type of heater, but also on how it is operated.
"To reduce smoke, make sure you always burn with a flame (don't let your fire smoulder); after reloading, open the air control and burn your fire on high for 20 minutes, especially before retiring for the night; only burn dry, seasoned wood; and make sure the flue is clean", Dr Innis says.
"If you can, go outside every once in a while and check how much smoke is coming from your chimney. If it is regularly producing a lot of smoke even with good operation you may need to have your heater checked".
For further information about smoke levels in your area, smoke alerts and health advice for people affected by wood smoke visit https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/alerts/air/
More information about how to use your wood heater responsibly and reduce smoke pollution can be found on the Burn Brighter this Winter pages.