We appreciate that smoke from planned burning may cause concern and inconvenience. Smoke may affect some people’s health. People with heart or lung conditions (including asthma), children, pregnant women and the elderly are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.

If you live in or are visiting a smoke affected area

Plan ahead to protect your health – be prepared for smoke:

  • keep checking when and where planned burns are expected to happen in your region or signing up to the Planned Burn Notification System
  • if you have a health condition, follow the treatment plan provided by your doctor
  • if you are asthmatic, follow your asthma plan and carry reliever medication with you.

Burning plans can change at very short notice because of the weather.

During smoky conditions

First check whether the cause of smoke is a bushfire or planned burn:

To reduce the effects of smoke:

  • avoid physical activity
  • stay indoors
  • close windows and doors
  • switch your air conditioner to recycle or recirculate.
  • you may wish to leave the area while it is affected by smoke

If you experience symptoms that may come from smoke, seek medical advice or call NURSE-ON-CALL. Also see:

More about smoke

Smoke stays around:

  • a few days – after a planned burn
  • up to two weeks – if many planned burns across the state.

Planned burns create smoke:

  • at any time of the year – whenever the weather and other conditions for planned burning are right
  • mostly in autumn – when burning conditions tend to be most suitable, and smoke tends to stay around.
  • also in spring – when conditions suit smaller strategic burns, and smoke tends to clear more quickly.

Smoke comes from burns undertaken by:

  • forest fire management – burns are carried out on public land to reduce fuels, maintain the health of plants and animals and regenerate timber harvesting coupes
  • local councils – the CFA burns on council land and roadsides to reduce fuel and control pest plants
  • farmers – they burn stubble in autumn, and reduce fuels in spring
  • plantation companies – they burn leftover woody material after timber harvesting or before re-planting.
  • rail, water and other authorities – they arrange burns along railway lines and other land.
  • interstate agencies – from New South Wales, South Australia or even Tasmania.

Forest Fire Management Victoria and the Bureau of Meteorology have developed a smoke forecasting service to help reduce the impact of smoke on nearby communities, where possible.

The health information on this web page is also available as a leaflet (PDF, 46.6 KB).