Feb. 26 - Fire fighters warn a blaze at an open cast coal mine in Australia that's blanketed a Victoria town in smoke could burn for months. Paul Chapman reports.
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This fire at an open cast mine near the Australian town of Morwell is defying all efforts to bring it under control.
Acrid smoke from the inferno blankets the whole area.
The fire's been burning for more than two weeks but Victoria fire service says it could burn for months.
The state's chief health officer says Morwell's residents face a tough time.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) DR ROSEMARY LESTER, VICTORIA'S CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER, SAYING:
"We know that the fine particles in the smoke can get down into the lungs and that can cause short term health effects like exacerbation of asthma, worsening of heart or other lung conditions, and we know that the people who are most vulnerable to these effects are people with pre-existing heart and lung conditions, children, the elderly, smokers, and pregnant women."
Police believe the fire may have been started deliberately.
Media reports say forecasts of warm weather to come next week won't help the fire-fighters' battle to tame it.
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