THE Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) has begun a program of planned burns in the south-west.
DEPI's far south west operations manager Peter Scott said 200 hectares had been burnt last week along the Nangeela-Tullich Road at Corndale, north-west of Casterton and were still being patrolled this week.
Mr Scott said that depending on weather conditions and fuel moisture levels, another burn of 366 hectares along the Corndale-Long Lead Track at Corndale might take place on Thursday, August 28, while another 544 hectares along Peters Track, north-east of Dergholm, could be blackened out during the weekend.
He said it was likely the department would wait until spring to burn another 712 hectares along the Nangeela-Tullich Road at Corndale.
"Smoke may be visible in the areas around Dergholm, Casterton and Corndale this week," Mr Scott said.
"There may also be smoke over the roads nearby so we ask road users to slow down and obey all traffic signs and instructions from fire crews near the burns," he said.
Mr Scott said planned burning reduced fuel hazard to make it easier to control bushfires before they grew and threatened communities, lives and assets.
"Planned burning also reduces the damage caused by bushfires by slowing them down and making them less intense," he said.
"Every burn we do now means we are better prepared for future fire seasons.
"Combined with community and householder preparedness, planned burning is a very effective way to reduce the threat of severe future bushfires to communities and the environment," he said.
Mr Scott said if people experienced any symptoms that might be due to smoke exposure, they should seek medical advice or call Nurse-on-Call on 1-300 60 60 24.
For information on planned burns visit: www.depi.vic.gov.au/burnsmap