Morwell is a city located in the Latrobe Valley area of Gippsland in the east of the state of Victoria in Australia approximately 149 km east of the state capital.
It has a population of about fourteen thousand people.
Since February 10th the Hazelwood open cut coal mine has been on fire as result of arson in the area.
The coal mine, which support Hazelwood power station, has been burning for two weeks and the smoke is effecting the health of the towns people.
The State Government spent $20,000 on “breathing masks”.
The immediate effects of this event will slowly abate, but in the long term this could possibly reduce the life expectancy of effected people by as much as 10 years.
The state’s Chief Health Officer,Rosemary Lester, said the air quality had not reached the trigger point for evacuating the town, but she said it was “a wise thing to take breaks from the smoke”.
Morwell schools and child care centres have stopped children going outside due to poor air quality. The Environment Protection Authority’s air quality index for Morwell East peaked at 459 at the weekend, and at times on Monday it exceeded 200. The worst rating, “very poor”, is 150-plus.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the northerly wind would help disperse the smoke around Morwell on Tuesday, but would make the fire-fighting effort more difficult in the open-cut mine.
He said the fire was about 50 per cent “out”, but this could change depending on the conditions and fire-fighting efforts on Tuesday.
video below is from February 10th 2014