The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) is urging anyone with a respiratory condition living in the vicinity of the scrap metal yard fire in Christchurch to stay indoors, if possible, to avoid smoke.

"It is great to hear that this fire is now under control, but I understand there is still a lot of smoke coming from the site. Smoke is a major trigger for asthma and can worsen existing respiratory conditions," explains ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding.

Smoke contains tiny particles that enters the throat and lungs causing irritation. For those with severe respiratory conditions, like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis, this irritation can cause flare ups, which can be serious. Industrial fires can pose additional risks, as other pollutants can be present.

Letitia cautions anyone with a respiratory condition to stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed until the smoke clears. "If you need to go outside, we recommend wearing a mask."

"Please keep any respiratory medications nearby, and if you experience a flare up of your condition, contact your health professional as soon as possible," Letitia adds.


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