The majority of Victoria is waking up today to a thick layer of smoke, which is forecast to disperse as rain sweeps through the state.
Hazardous air quality alerts will be in place until at least this evening for the smoke blanketing central and eastern Victoria.
The state recorded the worst air quality in the world yesterday, as smoke from East Gippsland fires spread and authorities alerted vulnerable groups to stay indoors.
“When you reach the hazardous air quality range anyone can develop symptoms,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said yesterday.
“There can be eye, nose and throat irritation, people can have a cough develop or worse, or even wheeze.”
Rain and cooler weather expected to hit the state this afternoon will help disperse the bushfire smoke, improving the air quality forecast for tomorrow to a moderate rating.
The Bureau of Meteorology said cooler conditions will remain for Victoria until the weekend, with maximum temperatures in the low 20s.
Rain and thunderstorms accompanying the cool change will hardly help firefighters battling blazes in the state’s east and northeast.
But the air pollution situation is even worse further north.
According to the World Air Quality Index, the Melbourne suburb of Melton has a ranking of 591, worse than any city in China or India.
But that figure is 636 in the Alpine town of Omeo, and 676 in the Gippsland town of 676.
But the worst in the world is the northern Victorian town of Wangaratta, which recorded a rating of 899 at 9am today.
Every town and city measured in Victoria is currently ranked as unhealthy.
By contrast, Canberra is rated as 74 today, a moderate rating.
And despite a haze over Sydney, most air quality ratings in the Harbour City are rated as good.