News and updates

EPA air quality data shows very poor air quality at Coolaroo fire site

13 Jul 2017

Air quality in the immediate vicinity of a large fire at Coolaroo is very poor, data from Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s incident air quality monitoring equipment shows.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) requested EPA Victoria to deploy its air monitoring equipment to a fire at SKM Recycling and Waste Management at 94 Maffra Street, Coolaroo earlier today.

The fire is producing a large plume of smoke that is impacting the local community. For the latest updates on the incident, people are encouraged to visit    

EPA’s equipment is stationed at two sites, immediately to the south of the fire, with data from both sites showing very poor air quality (as at 7pm, Thursday).

Data from EPA’s air quality monitoring equipment deployed to the fire at Coolaroo is available from EPA’s AirWatch website.

The incident air quality monitoring equipment allows EPA to undertake localised monitoring for small particles in the air, known as PM2.5.

These tiny particles are present in smoke and measure less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (the average width of a strand of human hair is 75 micrometres in diameter). Because of their small size, PM2.5 particles are the main pollutant of concern in smoke.

EPA officers are also providing advice on managing fire water used to extinguish the fire to reduce impacts on local waterways.


  • Ash particles fall out of the smoke in locations near the fire. Ash is a fine powder that may be visible on surfaces.
  • Although too large to breathe into your lungs, ash particles may cause local irritation to the eyes, nose or throat. These health effects should resolve quickly. If not, call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 or seek medical advice.
  • If you come into contact with ash, wash it off your hands, face and neck as needed. If ash gets in your eyes, gently wash out with clean water.
  • Practice good hygiene – wipe down surfaces with soap and water.


  • Smoke can affect people’s health.
  • People with heart or lung conditions (including asthma), children, pregnant women and the elderly are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.
  • People with existing heart or lung conditions (including asthma) should follow the treatment plan advised by the doctor.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure, seek medical advice or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.
  • Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call 000.

More information about smoke impacts can be found here:





Page last updated on 13 Jul 2017