Coal still burning at Hazelwood mine

Over a month after the Hazelwood coal mine was declared safe, hotspots are still burning at the site.

Victorian Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said there are several small hotspots underneath cladding that are causing smoke.

Lapsley said the Morwell fire brigade was on hand to help mine owner GDF Suez in monitoring the small blazes.

"The aerial appliances are still in around the Valley, and all of those other technical things with thermal cameras are here as well, so the technology is here and it's just a matter of deploying it if it’s needed," he said.

"We'd suggest it's not needed in what it's shown up over the last few weeks but we don't want to have anything that might pop up that needs to have special attention – if it needs it, it will get it."

Meanwhile, Victoria's chief health officer, Rosemary Lester, said there was no guarantee people exposed to the Hazelwood fire would not suffer lasting effects.

The fire, which burned for 45 days, sent acrid smoke and ash over the town of Morwell.

Many residents said they suffered from chest infections, nose bleeds and nausea as a result of the smoke.

Despite air quality levels reaching dangerous levels, the town was not fully evacuated, with a government inquiry set to probe the official response.

In Morwell last week, Lester said residents will be able to participate in a10-year study aimed at determining any long-term effects of exposure to the fire.

According to the ABC, Lester said she would prefer the medical study to run for longer.

"We want to be able to improve future planning and response to any similar event, heaven forbid that anything like this will happen again, but we want to make sure that we learn from this experience and make sure that any response to a future experience, that we take that opportunity to learn," Lester said.

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