Buckra Bendinni fire causes poor visibility across the Nambucca Valley

Photo taken by the Nambucca Headquarters Rural Fire Brigade at the Kian Rd fire: "Our crew of 5 encountered plenty of smoke and dust but got a nice wash from overhead as the chopper dropped a couple of buckets on a spot over. Water conservation was a high priority as well as watching out for Death Adders."
Photo taken by the Nambucca Headquarters Rural Fire Brigade at the Kian Rd fire: "Our crew of 5 encountered plenty of smoke and dust but got a nice wash from overhead as the chopper dropped a couple of buckets on a spot over. Water conservation was a high priority as well as watching out for Death Adders."

The Kian Rd fire has now exceeded 800 hectares in size.

And the smoke from that fire has left the rest of the Valley in a thick haze.

Visibility is poor right across the shire, with reports from Bowraville that it was difficult for people to see their own hand in front of them this morning.

While local fire crews have been successful in laying down containment lines, there are still worries for when the mercury starts to climb again from tomorrow.

"It's in the box now, but everything depends on the winds. We just need to sit and wait," Inspector for Lower North Coast RFS Wayne Leader said.

From tomorrow a strike team from Coffs Harbour will join the efforts to keep the fire boxed in.

The North Coast Public Health Unit is advising people to protect their health as smoke from the fire, and backburning from the Bees Nest fire affects air quality across the region.

Fine smoke particles are known to affect the human respiratory system and can aggravate existing chronic health conditions by penetrating deep into the lungs and entering the blood system.

Director of the North Coast Public Health Unit, Paul Corben, said the fine particles can cause various health problems such as itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.

"We urge people with chronic respiratory or cardiac conditions to be aware of the health effects of being exposed to bushfire smoke and to take steps to protect their health," Mr Corben said.

"Not everyone who is exposed to bushfire smoke will have health problems and most healthy adults will find symptoms clear without any long-term consequences.

"However, smoke exposure can lead people with lung disease or chronic bronchitis to develop shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, many days after smoke is inhaled. We recommend these people closely monitor their symptoms and follow their asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) action plan."

People sensitive to smoke should stay in air-conditioned premises where air filtration systems can help to reduce smoke particles in the air and avoid strenuous outdoor activity.

"Symptoms can occur for several days after smoke is inhaled, so people with chronic respiratory conditions need to be vigilant with their own medication or treatment programs," Mr Corben said. "If symptoms do not settle, contact your doctor."

In the event of an emergency, always remember to dial Triple Zero (000).

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