The immediate health effects of bushfire smoke are well known to Australia's volunteer firefighters, who willingly fight bushfires each summer with no remuneration and at considerable personal risk. However, the population health impacts of pollution associated with large bushfires or "backburning" operations (prescribed burning to reduce the fuel load and the intensity of future bushfires) are less well defined, but are a matter of concern for emergency, environmental and public health agencies. A study from Darwin, published in this issue of the Journal by Johnston et al (page 535),1 is a welcome addition to this area of research.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.