Almost 3 million Australians were directly affected by the summer's bushfire crisis, a new survey has found, with more than half of Australians likely to be affected by smoke.
The survey of 3000 people by the Australian National University measured how many people were directly or indirectly affected by the fires that raged across almost every state and territory over spring and summer.
Some 14.4 per cent of respondents said they were directly affected by the bushfires, through having their property damaged, being directly threatened or needing to evacuate.
If that percentage is applied to Australia's population, it is estimated by researchers to be 2.9 million people.
Almost 80 per cent of respondents said they had been affected in some way, either directly or indirectly.
Professor Nicholas Biddle, the author of the study, said that number had been cross-referenced with other sources like insurance data, population estimates and visitor estimates for the areas affected.
He believes that while the numbers appear high, it is likely their estimates are lower than the actual number of people affected.
"If anything we might be missing people who were affected who may not be able to participate [in the survey]," Professor Biddle said.
People living outside capital cities were twice as likely to be affected, but researchers found very little association between standard demographic and socioeconomic variables and direct exposure to the fires.
However women and those aged between 18 and 24 were more likely to report being indirectly affected.
The survey also took place in January before some fires had even started, including those that threatened Canberra and surrounding areas.
Canberrans weren't the only ones to experience the choking effect of bushfire smoke, with 57 per cent of the survey's respondents saying they experienced smoke.
"This exposure undoubtedly varied in its severity, but this highlights the complex economic and public health challenges from the current fires," the survey said.
Ten per cent of respondents said they were directly threatened and 8.9 per cent said they needed to evacuate due to fires.
Almost 40 per cent of people reported that they had a friend or family member threatened by the bushfire crisis, and 13 per cent said they knew someone who had experienced property damage from the fires.
Some 53.6 per cent reported feeling anxious or worried about the fires.
The Australian National University regularly surveys Australians about their political views and experiences, but added questions about the bushfires to the January survey to measure its effects.