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Bushfire smoke killed hundreds, health researcher tells inquiry

Image: Nick-D [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Around 80 per cent of Australia’s population ‘was affected by smoke in the 2019-20 fires’

Smoke inhalation from Australia’s bushfires during the summer of 2019-20 has been linked to 445 deaths and more than 4,000 hospital admissions, a national inquiry into disaster risk management has heard.

Fay Johnston, a public health physician at the University of Tasmania, said the total health cost was around $2 billion, which was 10 times higher than for previous fire seasons. She estimated that around 80 per cent of Australia’s population was affected by smoke from the 2019-20 bushfires.

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