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Smoke levels and air quality monitoring in Hobart and Kingston areas

18 October 2017

Smoke from a vegetation fire between the Southern Outlet and Summerleas Road, south of Ridgeway and north of Kingston was the likely source of smoke impacting Hobart overnight on Sunday and Monday, 15-16 October.

A smoke survey was conducted by the EPA using the Travel BLANkET mobile air quality station in the Kingston area between 20:00 and 23:30 on the 17th of October. The survey was able to trace and follow the smoke, measuring particulates as the air cooled and the smoke moved towards the Derwent Estuary.

Smoke from the vegetation fire was observed and measured to have impacted parts of Kingston overnight between the 17th and 18th of October, with PM2.5 between 100 and 300 µg m-3 in some areas during the survey period, especially the Firthside, Boronia Hill,Brown River and Kingston Beach areas of Kingston.

Smoke concentrations measured at the Hobart (New Town) reference station have been slightly elevated between the 15th and 18th of October. It is likely that smoke from the vegetation fire and, to lesser extent, fuel reduction burns recently conducted in the Mount Nelson area, have contributed to the elevated smoke concentrations in the Hobart area.

Smoke concentrations resulting from bushfire activity are difficult to predict and the levels may escalate again depending on the extent and intensity of the bushfires.

The calendar-day national air quality standard for PM2.5 is 25 µg m-3. As an approximate comparison, PM2.5 values below 5 µg m-3 signify very clear air, while a smoky winter's evening might show levels near 50 µg m-3 for several hours or more than 100 µg m-3 on the worse nights.

For bushfire information and alerts, visit the Tasmanian Fire Service website at www.fire.tas.gov.au

For information on smoke health risks and public health alerts, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/alerts

For information on air quality and real-time particle concentration data recorded at monitoring stations across the State, visit the EPA website www.epa.tas.gov.au/Pages/Real-Time-Air-Quality-Data-for-Tasmania.aspx