Asbestos hazards after bushfires

Asbestos is one of the hazardous materials that may be present after a fire.

How bushfires create asbestos threat

Bushfire damage to a building (house, garage or shed) may affect the integrity of building materials and threaten your health. The presence of asbestos in damaged or destroyed properties is a concern.

Following a fire, asbestos material – including clumps and fibres – may remain on the property. It can risk your health if the asbestos contaminated ash or debris is disturbed and you inhale it.

This could occur, for example, while people are searching for valuable items in destroyed or damaged properties.

How you can reduce your risk

If bushfire has damaged your building, you should not enter your property until emergency services, utilities companies or your local council tells you it is safe.

When you do visit your property, whether you believe asbestos may be present or not, wear protective clothing, including:

  • sturdy footwear and heavy-duty work gloves
  • disposable coveralls (with long sleeves and trousers)
  • P2 face masks

Also:

  • keep children (and animals) clear of the site
  • moisten the ash with water to minimise dust and keep damp but do not use high pressure water sprays
  • don’t bury building rubble – it may contain hazardous materials including asbestos
  • don't move or spread ash and debris around your property
  • don’t attempt to cleanup buildings either damaged or destroyed by bushfires, particularly if you know asbestos is present. Only licensed professionals should remove and dispose of asbestos.

Further information

You can find further information, specific to each state and territory, at:

You can also find further Australian Government information at:

Last updated: 
18 January 2020

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