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Smoke from Victoria affecting Tasmania

18 March 2010

A large section of Northern Tasmania has been affected by smoke drifting across Bass Strait from Victoria this week.

EPA Director Warren Jones said satellite photographs had revealed several large plumes of smoke over an extensive area from St Helens and the Fingal Valley to Launceston, the Tamar Valley and as far west as Ulverstone on Wednesday.

“The plumes have spread across the north of the state and appear to stem from the 90 Mile Beach area of East Gippsland in Victoria where a number of planned burns are in progress,” Mr Jones said.

“The EPA air monitoring stations in the north of Tasmania recorded extremely high levels of smoke.

“Smoke particle levels of above 100 micrograms per cubic metre have been recorded which could affect people with respiratory problems.”

Mr Jones said the monitoring stations had recorded some smoke on Tuesday but levels had peaked on Wednesday.

Information from the Tasmanian monitoring stations would be made available to the Victorian Department of Sustainability.

Mr Jones said he understood the Tasmania Fire Service had issued permits for controlled burning activities in the north west of Tasmania today.

For indicative air quality data for Tasmania go to: http://www.environment.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=7747 Click on the location of the required air monitoring station for today’s graphs.

Data from the major stations is updated every hour and the BLANkET network uploads information from stations every 10 to 15 minutes. A guide to interpreting the graphs is also provided.