People may see and smell smoke from planned burns across the state this Easter long weekend as Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) crews take advantage of favourable weather conditions.

FFMVic Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman said: “The potential for a smoke event in Melbourne is highly likely given the stable weather conditions.”

“Weather conditions that are suitable for planned burning can also cause the smoke to linger for several days,” Mr Hardman said.

“The smoke is a combination of our burning and other agency burning and is expected to lift on Sunday when the weather conditions change.

“Smoke can affect people’s health. We ask that people remain aware of the conditions and take action if you or your family are exposed to smoky conditions.

“We understand that smoke is an inconvenience and we thank people for their patience while we carry out this important work to reduce bushfire risk.

“We are taking this window of opportunity to conduct two planned burns today in the Greater Melbourne area.” They are:

· A 16 hectare burn at Mount Dandenong on the Kyeema Track east
· A 32 hectare burn at Lysterfield on Sunset Track

“Planned burns greatly reduce the impact of bushfires by minimising fuel loads and autumn is a critical time for our planned burning program.

“Our experienced fire officers work closely with the Bureau of Meteorology year-round to only carry out planned burns when conditions are suitable.”

People with pre-existing conditions should follow their treatment plan, and if you are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure from planned burns, seek medical advice or call Nurse-on-Call on 1300 60 60 24.