Farmers are being warned that a momentary mistake when burning off can be costly for the environment and land owners.

The Environment Protection Authority last week issued a warning to those contemplating throwing extra waste onto the pile when burning off this winter.

Metro region manager Daniel Hunt said that landowners could face fines of up to $8000 for burning anything outside the normal range of things like natural wood.

“It can be tempting to add household or farm waste such as silage wrap, chemical containers or old tyres to burn piles just to get rid of them,” Mr Hunt said.

“These items don’t burn properly and produce large amounts of smoke.

“The environmental impacts of burning the wrong things can be more than just a bit of smoke; you could be looking at toxic air pollution, residue running off into waterways and chemical contamination that persists in the soil.

“Some of these things are best sent to a properly managed landfill, and there are recycling options for common farm waste items such as tyres, silage wrap and plastic chemical drums.”

Fallen trees or other natural wood being burnt should be as dry as possible and not freshly cut to minimise smoke.

Farmers should make sure they have any relevant council or CFA permits.

“Most farmers understand the importance to their livelihood and their community of preventing contamination of the soil, water and air around them, and EPA prefers to look upon a fine as a last resort,” Mr Hunt said.

“It’s the community that suffers if you pollute the air, the soil or local waterways with things that shouldn’t go onto a fire.”

EPA urges people to report suspected pollution to the EPA on 1300 EPA VIC or at www.epa.vic.gov.au