The 208-hectare ecological grassland burn was ignited on Tuesday morning and will benefit the alluvial plains grassland and a range of species, including the Plains-Wanderer and striped legless lizard, by reducing weed growth and coverage.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Chris Eagle said: “Grasslands are the most endangered ecosystem in Australia as a result of urban growth and farming. The unique plants and animals that live in this habitat effectively need fire to survive, so we carry out burns to support those native species.”A grassland burn underway in Melbourne's west showing slow fire in tall grasses

"There are only limited opportunities where conditions are suitable to undertake these important burns, so it is vital that we take advantage of every opportunity to complete them when it is safe to do so, however we understand it is concerning for people to see smoke soon after an active bushfire period," Mr Eagle said.

"In addition to ecological burns, we will also be taking the opportunity with milder weather conditions to undertake fuel reduction burns in order to reduce the size, intensity and impact of future bushfires,” Mr Eagle said.

“Without planned burning and other fuel management work, bushfires will be bigger and harder for our firefighters to control.

"We need to find opportunities to manage our bushfire risk 365 days a year, with different tools and methods, to give us the chance to get it done effectively with less risk. You may see and smell smoke from planned burns, and some roads and parks may close,” Mr Eagle said.

Planned burning, and other fuel management works such as clearing, mowing and slashing, are part of a program to reduce bushfire risk for communities and the environment.

To find out when and where planned burns are happening near you go to www.vic.gov.au/plannedburns or call 1800 226 226.