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VCC Bushfire Report
Access Ant
1:43:46 PM
This is a copy of a report I've sent to Rock and Argus. I know there has been disscussions on the bushfires already so I apologies in advance if I've repeated anything already stated by others.

Grampians Bushfires
The Grampians Bush Fire Has burnt about 130,000 ha of Park and private land. I have been informed by Parks that about 48% of the Grampians National Park has been affected by the fire (see DSE Fire Map). Whether that 48% is totally burnt in all areas is unknown at this time by either Parks rangers or myself. Some areas namely in the North have remained unaffected and are open to the public. However the damage to the burnt areas is so extensive that Parks Vic staff has been unable to enter these areas until such time as their insurance personnel have assessed it.

Due to the size of the damaged area it will most likely be some time until this occurs, meaning that Parks Rangers will be some way off before they can actually get into these areas and start the rehabilitation process (we are most likely talking months). These areas will remain closed until Parks have been able to assess the safety and environmental concerns. Parks and DSE crews will be removing burnt tree hazards, obviously on the roads first, then the main tourist walking tracks before getting around to the less touristy areas. I recommend anyone wishing to visit the Grampians to contact the Grampians National Park on 03 5361 4000 or visit their website at to acquire the most current information about access to these areas. Other information will be available on the VCC website at and also the DSE website at

I have contacted Parks on behalf of the VCC to express our interest in helping with the recovery process and with whatever works might need to be done in the future to facilitate the speedy re-opening of burnt areas. Of course assessing what damage might actually have happened to the actual cliffs and climbs (such as features expanding in the heat and breaking off or anchor points such as trees or boulders not being there) will have to wait until such areas are open again to the public or until Parks allow us access to assess these areas. It is very important for climbers (or anyone for that matter) to stay out of the closed areas, not only for the danger of falling trees and limbs but also for the environmental impact that extensive erosion causes when there is no vegetation left to hold down the soil. Parks has informed me of severe landslide is some of the steeper terrain and I believe that they are having trouble with people trying to access the Park through closed roads. Also anyone willing to be involved in the rehabilitation works in the future should contact me through the VCC’s Website or call 0419 563 733.

Due to the size of the fire and the number of crags affected I have been unable to confirm exactly what has happened where and to what extent but it’s fair to say that all of the South Eastern Grampians (Barbican Rocks & Wall, The Dials, Mt William etc) and Central Grampians (Bundaleer, Mt Rosea etc) will have been greatly affected. It also got close to getting right into the Victoria Valley, it spotted into a few areas and did jump across Syphon Rd at a few places, I have been informed by locals that the fire did burn north of the Goat Track, but it appears from the DSE Fire Map that it might have just missed the Northern Victoria Valley crags (The Gallery, Red Rocks, Mt Fox, Eureka Wall etc). It did however burn the Asses Ears, Wallaby Rocks and Cherub & Maul Walls. As I stated above without actually getting in there and assessing the sites for myself, and the massive amount of work that Parks Vic face, I have been unable to confirm this information at this time. Anyone with any addition information should contact me on the above details so that I can keep up-dating climbers on the situation.

The Brisbane Ranges-Anakie Fire
The bush fire at Anakie did get into the Brisbane Ranges National Park however it did not affect the climbing site of the Amphitheatre (Falcons Lookout) but I have been informed by Rangers that the area of Staughton Vale was one of the most intense areas of the fire front. His quote was the whole area looked like it was “nuked”. Also, as in the Grampians, it will be some time before insurance assessors have been in to see and assess the damages before they will allow Parks in so they can start the recovery process.
Ant Callaghan
Access & Environment Officer
1:48:20 PM
the goat track and parts of glenelg river road are locked and closed.

2:22:21 PM
So, does any one know when the Goat Track re-opens?
2:46:04 PM
Any reports from Stapylton? That is, with many other areas closed, is Staplyton campground overrun with groups that otherwise would have been dispersed throughout the park?
4:43:09 PM
We were in the Vic Range on the Weekend. We accessed via the south. Jensens Rd and Glenelg River Rd. (We didn't travel any closed roads either. The main roads are open). The fire didn't seem to have crossed over to the western side of the Vic Range from what we could see. The Parks Vic maps also show this to be the case. Mt Fox, Red Rocks, Curiosity, Gilhams etc are all fine. Others had been to the Gallery on Sat and it wasn't burnt.
The access via halls gap and the central grampians is not possible (not surprisingly) as these roads are closed with large numbers of trees down.

2:38:23 PM
The Roses Gap Road is open for business and can be used as a good option when getting from
Melbourne to the northern end of the Vic Ranges (via Brimpean Rd, Henty Hwy). Of note - is the HUGE
firebreak that seems to have been instantly created along the western half of the Roses Gap Rd. They
appear to have bulldozed a 30m wide swath for at least 3 kilometers through the pristine National Park.

3:46:28 PM
On 20/02/2006 nmonteith wrote:
>The Roses Gap Road is open for business and can be used as a good option
>when getting from
>Melbourne to the northern end of the Vic Ranges (via Brimpean Rd, Henty
>Hwy). Of note - is the HUGE
>firebreak that seems to have been instantly created along the western
>half of the Roses Gap Rd. They
>appear to have bulldozed a 30m wide swath for at least 3 kilometers through
>the pristine National Park.
Well, a 10m wide firebreak is useless as tits on a bull. How narrow were you going to make it ? Are you insinuating that they have cleared the forest for the trees (so to speak) ?

3:58:48 PM
I just always find it amusing that in times of alledged crisis all concepts of 'enviromental protection' goes
out the drain. It wasn't long ago that the rangers were threatening to ban climbing in the Vic Ranges
because someone had been using a bush saw to trim a few branches around a boulder problem.
4:05:37 PM
A 30 metre wide firetrail vs potentially the rest of the park being burnt out. Well worth the perceived impact.

I rather the fire trail, then the impact to the flora and particularly the fauna if the fire burnt the rest of the park!

4:12:17 PM
Bush Fire = Nature (or so they keep telling us)

Firebreak = deliberate destruction

I am just playing the devils adovcate here. The only reason they built those firebreaks was to protect tax-
payers houses, businesses ect in areas bordering the National Park. They couldn't give a toss if the
forest burnt and the animals got torched.
4:20:00 PM
settle down young neilo. Curiosity crag was once torched now it's a lovely little area. The beauty of regrowth

4:31:27 PM
Thats the point KP. Fire is not all bad - but the bloody great firebreaks seem like a pretty huge deliberate
act of destruction by National Parks...

5:27:14 PM
Firebreaks are just the visble aespect of our impact on the environment (like bolts and chalk) :)

Not sure about takepayers property, more like protection of the (toruism) infrastucture required for all you weekend warriors !

I must say guys I was pretty happy to hear the sound of a bulldozer comming up the driveway in the early hours of the morning the first night of the fires.

Anyway it all regenerates over time, the grampians has been logged, mined, grazed, burnt, etc and generally recovered to what you see today. (pristine environment)

5:41:57 PM
Devil's Advocate?? - Two can play at that game!

The only issue here is whether to have fire breaks at all - because if you've decided to use them the size of the fire break is purely matter of working out what is the appropriate size needed to contain the fire in question. I'm sure the fire service is fine at doing that.

On the question of whether they should be there at all -

On 24/02/2006 nmonteith wrote:
>Bush Fire = Nature (or so they keep telling us)
>Firebreak = deliberate destruction
>I am just playing the devils adovcate here. The only reason they built
>those firebreaks was to protect tax-
>payers houses, businesses ect in areas bordering the National Park. They
>couldn't give a toss if the
>forest burnt and the animals got torched.

This argument contains its own answer - Fires in national parks are ok (natural occurance in a natural place). But tax-payers houses (or any houses for that matter) do not display the magic of re-growth (neither do the people who life in them). Therefore it is entirely consistent with the management of the national park as a natural environment to attempt to keep natural fires contained within aforementioned natural area.

The logical extention of My Learned Friend (if we're going to play DA's, we might as well do it right;) Neil's argument is that fires should not be contained at all. If you can't justify what is in reality a small amount of destruction to appropriately manage a fire, then you can't justify water bombers, fire trucks or anything.

I'm not even going to bother to distinguish the case of boulderer v small branches, as management of park users is pretty clearly a different issue to management of natural disasters.

I rest my case.


6:17:35 PM
Fire is required by some species of plants for seed germination etc, and the flora does normally recover. Though faster growing non natives can get a strangle hold post fires if unchecked.

The larger cost would be to the Fauna! Imagine if the fires were to have burnt the whole park! The native fauna are aleady contained into a small area due to a couple of hundred years clear felling in the Western district. This has forced them into small pockets of bush still remaining like the Grampians and they would have been decimated if the fire did take out the whole park!

I don't agree with a lot of Parks management, but to give them grief over the fire break is cynical Neil and undeserved in this instance.

To compare an act which is to protect the greater resources to the pruning of trees for bouldering is ludicrous (and I can't believe you decided to bring that issue up again!).

11:47:10 AM
Here was I thinking that fire breaks were to make it easier to get to cliffs like the Planetarium.

Does anyone know if there was much destruction of animal life in the Grampians? Last month I was bushwalking in an area of Tasmania that had been burnt a couple of days earlier the only dead animal I saw was a yabbie.

James Mc

12:07:22 PM
I was recently walking through a burnt out area along the east side McKenzie Ck that was once brimming with flora and fauna. Prior to the fire trout, blackfish and yabbies could easily be spotted in the water. On the walk I saw nothing except 3 dead kangaroos and 5 wallabies in the creek floating or jammed under logs. Of interest this creek downstream becomes Horsham's water supply!

In relation to the fauna, Emu Park in Wartook look after sick and injured wildlife. They have been busy treating animals for fire related injury. As well as self funding their efforts in treating the animals, they rely on donations from local organisations.

Whilst living in the Gramps, climbing, walking and exploring I have developed an affinity for the area. To see the destruction of the bulldozers was one thing however, to see the devastation of the fire was another. In the face of the conditions present during the fires I condone the efforts of fire crews to stem the advancing fire from further affecting areas of the park, and private land. Not such a bad thing given regeneration is going to happen either way and the possibility of managing a bigger clean up could have meant the larger areas of the park be closed indefinitely.


4:47:51 PM
a friend of mine was devastated when i told him he couldn't climb at Staughten Vale because of the fire!!

i don't see it as all bad, it's good for regrowth, it's just a pity about the animals and property lost. The bush will grow back though.

5:48:04 PM
I saw a female emu with five chicks just outside the containment line this morning. The death of a large number of animals is inevitable in this kind of fire, but the buggers keep on breeding.
8:49:28 AM
does anyone know if mt difficult is open for climbing ?

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There are 32 messages in this topic.


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