Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) is calling on private landowners to check the weather conditions before burning off after low prevailing winds and private burn offs in the Latrobe Valley contributed to very poor air quality on Sunday and Monday (19 and 20 May).
Video from EPA monitoring cameras in the Latrobe Valley clearly show at least one large burn off on Sunday creating a large smoke plume.
“Smoke from that and other burn offs remained in the atmosphere as there was little to no wind to disperse it. Eventually it fell back over the Valley contributing to the very poor air quality. Winds have picked up and air quality is now improving,” said EPA Chief Environmental Scientist Dr Andrea Hinwood.
A smoke plume rises over the Valley on Sunday morning
“EPA does not regulate private burn offs but is asking people to incorporate weather forecasting before they light their fires. We anticipate low winds again over the Valley in the next few days and urge them to hold off until winds pick up enough to disperse the smoke they create.”
Dr Hinwood said EPA published air quality data live on its EPA AirWatch website.
“But if you can smell smoke, that’s the time to take any health measures, especially if your household includes people with pre-existing conditions (including asthma), children, pregnant women or older people, Dr Hinwood said.
“People with existing heart or lung conditions (including asthma) should follow the treatment plan advised by their doctor.”
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- Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call Triple Zero (000).