The 25-year-old's character Katie Sugden will be one of several villagers in peril when an arsonist strikes on the ITV soap this week, starting a ferocious blaze that will ultimately take the lives of at least two show regulars.
When asked to sum up her experience shooting the dangerous scenes, Winward told The Mirror: "It was all a bit terrifying really, with smoke everywhere and the fire outside. The smoke was so thick I couldn't even see the people next to me.
"To make things even worse, I have really bad asthma so I was on the verge of a panic and asthma attack, I was coughing like mad. It was all a bit 'Aagh - this is getting quite close to the bone now'."
Prompted to recall the recent diagnosis of her asthma, she added: "I was fine until two years ago then suddenly something wasn't right... It was scary because I didn't know what was wrong with me. It got to the stage where, if I lay down in the wrong position, I was struggling to breathe and my chest was so tight.
"It's very odd that [the asthma] just came but I'm used to it now and know what I can and can't do."
Winward also revealed that it wasn't the heat of the fire, but the bout of snow that hit during filming that really panicked the Emmerdale cast and crew.
"We had three lots of thermals on, foot warmers and big puffa jackets nearby," she explained. "I was convinced I'd got frostbite in my toes.We had to be evacuated twice, too, as the snow was so bad - they were worried the village might get cut off.
"So, if anyone thinks working in TV is glamorous, forget it. They should have been there while we were shivering in our pyjamas."