Large fire at Melbourne recycling plant

Christopher Talbot

Firefighters are battling a large blaze at a Melbourne recycling plant just weeks after a damning audit found the state's dumps are ill-equipped to prevent fires.

Dozens of firefighters are battling a large out-of-control blaze at the recycling plant in Laverton North, which is sending smoke billowing over nearby suburbs, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade says.

Firefighters are attacking the blaze from above using aerial appliances while the site's operators are using heavy machinery to break up the burning bales.

Dohertys Road near Fitzgerald Road has been closed.

The fire follows an audit of the state's recycling plants, released earlier this month, which found they are ill-equipped and poorly prepared to prevent fires like the devastating Coolaroo blaze in July.

The state-wide audits follow the massive blaze that engulfed the recycling plant in Melbourne's north which burned for more than a fortnight and caused the evacuation of hundreds of nearby residents.

A number of people were hospitalised and have ongoing health concerns from the toxic smoke and ash that rained down.

The taskforce, headed by the Environment Protection Authority, had so far inspected 73 of the state's 500 recycling plants and issued 37 statutory notices for a range of issues, the EPA said when releasing its interim report on December 1.