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Managing extreme heat and smoke: a focus group study of vulnerable people in Darwin, Australia


Campbell, SL and Anderson, CC and Wheeler, AJ and Cook, S and Muster, T and Johnston, FH, Managing extreme heat and smoke: a focus group study of vulnerable people in Darwin, Australia, Sustainability, 14, (21) Article 3805. ISSN 2071-1050 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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2022. The Authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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DOI: doi:10.3390/su142113805


Extreme heat and poor air quality arising from landscape fires are an increasing global concern driven by anthropogenic climate change. Previous studies have shown these environmental conditions are associated with negative health outcomes for vulnerable people. Managing and adapting to these conditions in a warming climate can present substantial difficulties, especially in climates already challenging for human habitation. This study was set in the tropical city of Darwin, Australia. We recruited individuals from population groups vulnerable to outdoor hazards: outdoor workers, teachers and carers, and sportspeople, to participate in focus group discussions. We aimed to gain an understanding of the impacts of extreme heat and poor air quality and how individuals perceived and managed these environmental conditions. We identified a number of key themes relating to impacts on health, work and activity, and adaptive behaviors, while identifying gaps in policy and infrastructure that could improve the lives and protect the health of vulnerable people living, working, and playing in this region. In addition, these outcomes potentially provide direction for other regions with similar environmental challenges. Extreme heat and poor air quality place an additional burden on the lives of people in high-risk settings, such as outdoor workers, teachers and carers, and sportspeople.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:extreme heat; smoke; adaptation; climate change
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Human impacts of climate change and human adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Social impacts of climate change and variability
UTAS Author:Campbell, SL (Dr Sharon Campbell)
UTAS Author:Anderson, CC (Dr Carina Anderson)
UTAS Author:Wheeler, AJ (Dr Amanda Wheeler)
UTAS Author:Johnston, FH (Professor Fay Johnston)
ID Code:154111
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2022-10-30
Last Modified:2022-11-10
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