Latest from Chief Health Officer, Victoria, Australia
Hazelwood open cut mine fire
Smoke from the Hazelwood open cut mine fire is continuing to be monitored by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). Smoke alerts are issued when air quality levels exceed national standards and as air quality changes constantly, these alerts will also be updated to reflect predicted conditions.
Smoke is a mixture of different-sized particles. The larger particles which are visible to the eye contribute to the visible haze when a fire is burning. They are generally too large to be breathed deeply into the lungs but can irritate the nose and throat.
Finer microscopic particles and gases are small enough to be breathed deep into the lungs and can cause health effects. Children, the elderly, pregnant women, smokers and people with pre-existing illnesses such as heart or lung conditions (including asthma) are more sensitive to breathing in fine particles.