Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Efron said the current blanket of smoke covering the city skyline was from fires in eastern New South Wales.
But that is set to change late Monday, Mr Efron says, as thick smoke which has settled over the Bass Strait from the East Gippsland fires is blown back towards Victoria by a sea breeze.
“In the Melbourne region, it’s gotten significantly worse over the last couple of hours. We might see a slight improvement in the afternoon, but it won’t clear that much, and it could actually get worse,” he said.
“The smoke will be hanging around into Tuesday, due to an absence of strong winds.
“The good news is that there’s no sign of weather conditions which will cause a spike in fire danger.
“We’re experiencing a humid period from Tuesday, and there will be showers and thunderstorms in the fire-affected eastern districts.”
Air quality in East Gippsland is forecast to drop to “hazardous” levels on Tuesday and Wednesday, after being considered “very poor” on Monday.
The EPA’s state agency commander Marleen Mathias said air quality would be “poor” or “very poor” right across the state until Tuesday.
“Before this, the weather had been in our favour, pushing the smoke away,” she said.
“We expect it should be similar to last Monday. That’s why we’ve been trying to get the message out for people to close their windows and prepare in advance.”
Melburnians should stay inside where possible and not exercise outside, close windows and doors, and program air-conditioners to recirculate air if they are being used.
People with pre-existing respiratory conditions needed to follow their medical management plans, and should contact triple zero if they experience severe symptoms.
Animals also need to be watched closely for signs of distress.
Ashleigh McMillan is a breaking news reporter at The Age. Got a story? Email me at email@example.com