By Jed Lanyon
Smoke from Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis has blanketed the Yarra Valley, as the Environmental Protection Authority Victoria listed the air quality in the region as hazardous.
Mooroolbark, the EPA’s closest monitored location to the Yarra Valley, received the hazardous air quality rating on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 January.
The EPA advises residents to remain indoors when possible to avoid the smoke haze and to be vigilant for symptoms of coughing and shortness of breath.
Yarra Valley Racing (YVR) cancelled their scheduled event for today.
YVR chief executive Brett Shambrook told the Mail, “After consultation with Racing Victoria, the decision was made to cancel the race meeting due the very poor air quality in the interests of our equine and human participants.
“With the potential for the air quality to become hazardous as the day progresses – the decision was a simple one.”
The hazardous rating forced the closure of several outdoor pool facilities as Yarra Ranges Council announced that Kilsyth Centenary Pool, Seville Waterplay Park as well as Belgrave, Healesville and Lilydale outdoor pools would not be operating under the smoky conditions.
EPA Victoria is advising people in smoke-affected areas to stay inside if possible, closing all doors and windows, to switch air conditioners to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’ and to avoid exercise.
If poor air conditions persist, the EPA advises residents who are concerned about their symptoms to see their doctor or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024. And to seek urgent medical help if anyone has trouble breathing or experiences tightness in the chest.