Some portable filters can significantly boost indoor air quality when bushfires break out, a study has found.
Those with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can improve air quality by 30 to 74 per cent if used appropriately, CSIRO scientists say.
Amanda Wheeler, who led the study, says its good news for all Australians, who face longer and more extreme bushfire seasons due to climate change.
"Staying inside and closing windows and doors during extreme smoke events is important, but ultimately what provides protection against smoke pollution indoors are air purifiers fitted with HEPA filters," Dr Wheeler said.
"Using more than one, if possible, inside houses is likely to lead to improved health outcomes."
The research was focused on prescribed burns.
But Dr Wheeler says the findings are relevant for other scenarios ranging from the unprecedented Black Summer bushfires to the small amounts of smoke emitted by household fireplaces or backyard fire pits.
"They demonstrate that any smoke emissions, including from neighbouring houses' wood heaters can be managed better."
The study was focused on fine particulate matter or PM2.5 - particles so small they can get deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream.
Scientists looked at how air quality in nine homes changed with the use of a HEPA filter during smoke episodes.
While the filters were effective, the level also depended on how airtight, or leaky, the houses were.
The study has been published in the journal Public Health Research & Practice.
Australian Associated Press