While FFMVic looks for opportunities all year to undertake planned burning to reduce fire risk, spring and autumn are peak periods. Autumn, in particular, often offer the best and most stable weather conditions for planned burning. Other sources of smoke in the air can include private burn-offs, wood burners and agricultural burns.
Planned burning is essential to protect the community property, the environment and critical infrastructure from bushfires. Carrying out these burns, which are sometimes referred to in the news as back burns or controlled burns, helps to reduce the size, intensity and impact of future bushfires.
The smoky conditions can stay around for a few days or a few weeks and may affect the health of those with heart or lung conditions, pregnant women, young children and older people.
Here are 10 ways you can look after your health during smoky conditions:
- Stay indoors with windows and doors closed until the smoke passes
- Consult your doctor if you have a medical condition and follow your asthma care plan if you have one
- Use towels to cover gaps in doors and windows that lead to outside
- Keep the air inside your home or car clean by turning your air conditioner settings to recycle or recirculate. Do not use evaporative air conditioners as these draw air from outside
- Avoid burning candles and vacuuming inside your home to keep the air clean
- Avoid physical activity to reduce your exposure to smoke. Breathing smoke particles deeply during exercise can cause breathing problems
- Visit a local shopping centre, community centre, library or cinema that is air conditioned to seek relief from the smoke
- Use an indoor air cleaner that has a high efficiency particle air (HEPA) filter to remove any smoke particles inside your home
- Visit a relative or friend outside the smoke-affected area. It is best to leave before the air quality worsens
- When there is a break in the smoke, open your windows and doors to get fresh air into your home.
We recommend you register to be notified of planned burns near your home or business via this notification system. All official burns are registered on this site and regular updates are provided. You can also stay up to date on active planned burns and critical smoke events through the Emergency Victoria website or app.
As we continue our planned burning program, you may also smell and see smoke from planned burns. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) monitors air quality across the state, and issues air quality forecasts and alerts. Those sensitive to smoke may feel the health impacts before an air quality warning is issued, so it is important to stay up to date on when planned burning will be carried out.
If you are concerned about symptoms or need advice you can contact Nurse on Call on 1300 606 204, or in an emergency call 000 for an ambulance.
Page last updated: 09/03/23