People will be seeing and smelling smoke across Victoria from planned burns on public and private land, along with agricultural burn offs and wood heaters.

Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer, Darrin McKenzie, said crews from both FFMVic and the CFA were conducting these burns to reduce bushfire risk before next summer.

“Autumn is a critical time for our planned burning program and so far our program has been fairly limited because of the long and hot summer we have experienced, with limited rainfall.”

“In the last week, conditions have finally opened up for us and we have to take advantage of the suitable weather conditions.”

“We understand that the smoke is an inconvenience for people – and we are sorry for this – but if we do not complete this work now we won’t reduce bushfire risk before summer.”

“We are working closely with the Bureau of Meteorology to assess weather conditions, such as humidity, temperature and wind speed, and will only carry out burns when the conditions are suitable”

“We are modifying our program to reduce smoke impacts on community over the next few days. Advice from the Bureau indicates wind speeds should increase tomorrow which will see smoke lift in parts of the state – especially around Melbourne.”

“The Environment Protection Authority is monitoring air quality, with monitoring stations in place in and around Melbourne and throughout North East Victoria.”

CFA Chief Officer, Steve Warrington, said it was great to see CFA and FFMVic crews working side by side to reduce bushfire risk for communities.  

“We are doing these planned burns now, to prevent bushfires later – that is our common goal. Victoria is one of the most fire prone areas in the world and we must do everything we can to protect the community.”

“The fire danger period ends today in all areas of Victoria except East Gippsland. Despite this, people must register their private burn offs so we are able to consider potential smoke impacts.”

“Over the past 12 days we have issued over three thousand permits for agriculture burns off, which are contributing significantly to the smoke across Victoria.”

“The smoke will be around for a few days so we remind people to continue to monitor conditions.”

If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure, the Department of Health and Human Services advises people to seek medical advice or call Nurse-on-Call on 1300 60 60 24. Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call 000.

For the latest information about when planned burns are happening near you, go to ffm.vic.gov.au/plannedburn, download the VicEmergency App or call the VicEmergencyhotline on 1800 226 226.