Bowls guidelines for smoke-affected environments

by Team BV

With the onset of bushfire smoke having the potential to impact matches, greens, and posing a health risk to players and officials, the below information can help your club with managing the risks associated with air quality, smoke and exercise.

Noting how quickly weather conditions can change and smoke pollution can become significantly worse or significantly improve in the space of hours, the decision to play or practice should ideally be considered in the same way as other weather events (rain, lightning, heat) and be made on the day.

However, this needs to be balanced against the health risks, potential inconsistent application of approach where there are no official umpires, and in many cases the lack of a “real time” measure of air quality. This may require organisers to implement a blanket cancellation of matches prior to game day.

It is recommended that clubs advise all players and officials of the heightened risk to health when participating in smoke-polluted conditions during outdoor play because of the increase in air entering the airways and triggering respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

The following considerations should be taken into account when deciding to play or train when air quality is a potential issue.

General air quality at the club and on the green

  • If any of the air quality measures are over 200, we advise serious consideration be given to suspending play/practice. Noting that ‘real time’ measures may not be available, the 24-hour rolling average measure should be considered along with the other points below (acknowledging that the 24-hour rolling average may over or underestimate the actual air quality at the time of judgement). Air quality measures for Victoria can be found via the link here.


  • Where visibility is poor, air quality will be poor.

Player feedback 

  • Officials/coaches/managers should monitor players and officials for signs of feeling unwell and seek regular feedback.
  • If those with known respiratory conditions are coping and have the support they need including medications.