We know that smoke from planned burns can cause concern. However, smoke is an unavoidable by-product of this essential work to protect:
- the environment
- critical infrastructure
from the impacts of bushfires.
We use available science to take a measured approach when carrying out planned burns. Crews must take every opportunity while conditions are right to reduce bushfire risk.
We monitor smoke levels across the state. We work closely with the Environment Protection Authority and Bureau of Meteorology to keep the smoke impact as low as practically possible while delivering the required program.
Learn about current air quality in your area and actions you can take to protect your health by visiting EPA AirWatch.
If you live in or are visiting a smoke affected area
Plan ahead to protect your health – be prepared for smoke:
- sign up to the Planned Burns Victoria to see what's happening in your region
- 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 the smoke is a bushfire or a planned burn:
- check Planned Burns across Victoria
- call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226
- follow any relevant advice or messages.
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.
More about smoke
Smoke stays around:
- a few days – after a planned burn
- up to 2 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, 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 – 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.
Download the protect your health from smoke flyer
Page last updated: 26/10/22