TWO of Morwell’s residents have escaped the town’s smoke and haze for a few days, playing in Bendigo’s Country Week Bowls competition.
Don Fuller and Bob D’Brass are among more than 800 bowlers taking to the city’s greens for the annual event.
The pair say they visited Bendigo to get away from the Hazelwood coal mine fire, which started on February 9.
Fuller said the duo, who were competing in Country Week for the second time, said it was nice to get some fresh air.
“We spoke about coming to Bendigo a couple of years ago and so we decided to come,” he said.
“It is at an opportune time because at the moment Morwell is shocking to live in.
“It is not as bad as Beijing but some days at our bowling green it gets so bad we can't bowl. It is quite distressing.”
Fuller said despite officials saying the fire was under control, he says the fire was still flaming.
“You just have to walk out at night and you can see the glow. The coal fields are just alight,” he said.
“Helicopters are bombing the area all the time and then when they do bomb it all the ashes come up. It is quite horrific.”
D’Brass said their bowls club was lucky to not get damaged.
“The pit is on one side of the freeway and exactly on the opposite side of the freeway is our club,” he said.
Fuller said visiting Bendigo was a great relief.
It is lovely in Bendigo. It is a wonderful place to come.
“It is lovely in Bendigo,” he said.
“It is a wonderful place to come. It rained on Monday, which was really nice.”
D’Brass said he was enjoying getting to know the competitors from across Victoria.
“Everywhere you go there is a wave and a smile,” he said.
“It is great.”
D'Brass said the best thing about playing bowls was the camaraderie.
"It is all about getting out and about instead of staying home and doing nothing," he said.
Country Week ends on Friday.