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General Climbing Discussion

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VCC Bushfire Report

8:51:23 AM
On 27/02/2006 darkxst wrote:
>does anyone know if mt difficult is open for climbing ?

It didn't get burnt - and the Roses Gap road is open. I imagine it is ok to climb there...
6:30:04 PM
I'd just like to point out that the firebreak in question (and several others) was not "a pretty huge deliberate act of destruction by National Parks" but was in fact created by the CFA. Firebreaks are only contructed by Parks Victoria when they serve a useful purpose and then they are generally restricted to one bulldozer blade width, sometimes 1.5 in extreme cases. Perhaps before pointing the figure of blame you should make sure you're pointing it in the right direction.

6:47:31 PM
I wasn't actually aiming the finger at Parks Victoria - just generally at 'authority' who suddenly seem to be
able to bulldoze great swathes of the National Park without much in the way of enviro impact research
being done before hand. If they were going to build a proper road through the park then it would be years
before they got approval (if they ever did). Just a thought - not blaming anyone in particular. Our society
is full of these sort of contradictions and confusions!

7:33:29 PM
Two weeks ago the property I live at in Yea was burnt out by a grassfire. We now have a large firebreak around the property. Its really ugly. However I now know why they are so important. A week after the fire came through we still had hotspots burning, even after several tankers had unloaded thousands of litres of water on the area. The hotspots were all located around the significant trees on the property. If you multiply that by the number of trees in the grampians then you get an idea of the problem. The fire breaks in the grampians are ther to stop further outbreaks of fire in the time that it is still dangerous, that is several weeks.
If you want to get worked up about something, how about litter at the cliffs? Our favourite local crag is tennerife and we visited today. Once again i found myself tidying up after climbers litter. This litter will be around long after the fire breaks have regerated.
11:29:49 PM
I was riding my bike through the Gramps yesterday (south from Lake Bellfied and then over Mirranatwa Gap into the Victoria Valley). Although it was a pretty amazing sight to see how much of the region is burnt, regrowth is already visible in places.

What surprised me was that that the region didn't look or feel unnatural, which was quite different to the sight of what looked like a massive firebreak cut through the Serra Range (visible from the Victoria Valley). It is a very sizable scar on that range.

I'm not being critical of fire management though (I reckon everyone fighting the Gramps fires did a phenomenal job). It was just an observation from my travels yesterday.

10:13:07 AM
yes they did bulldoze this god awfull swath. This was done on the fri night, in the dark, and they were going to burn on monday, but with many calls to fire command and asking why burn there, and the event of some rain they didnt burn,.. They actually went through private property as they, the powers to be didnt know where the park actually started.
In the last fires they went though our property and did circles with the dozer. - why- because they can!

Some one in a high place that is invoved with one of the organisations in the Grampians has said, that the only good national park is a black one- this person is against the park, would just love to have farm land everywhere, no trees, no access to rock, nothing.
Its a sad place at present. Many animals are displaced, even if they survived the fires their habitats have been destroyed
10:33:20 AM
Missed this thread, beleive me they dont give a toss about the land/ home owners that have properties along the park. I have properties off roses gap road. As mentioned in one other post, in the last fires they destroyed alot of our property with the dozers. They dont care about the flora and fauna, they dont care about you the climbers. The people who are involved with the controll of the fires are directed by others, who in alot of cases know very little about the enviroment. They sit on their machines and push over the trees.

There could be a bit of favourtism re one property on the roses gap road, the owners of this proerty give dollars to local clubs so I can see this place being saved and yes that is the word. As for the rest of the people all around roses gap road, smiths road, we are classed as greenies , the locals would deally love us to go.

If they had used water bombers early in the fire then it would not have spread as quickly. The fire was so intense apparently far more intense than the 1939 fires wihich none of us were around to see.
john s
4:31:48 PM
Some information from the PV Grampians Advisory Committee meeting last Friday:

1. about putting the fire out earlier and how the fire moved around

There were seven lightening strikes in and near the park on the night of Thurs-Fri 19/20 Jan - all had crews on the ground and planes dropping retardant on them the next morning. Six were put out that day.

There were two planes operating in the Grampians that day but one had mechanical faults during the day. Because of fires in other regions they couldn't get a replacement.

The Mt Lubra fire started in a gully halfway up the west side of the Serra Range, it was reported at 7.45 am by a spotter plane. Because of the terrain, the fire crews reckon that they wouldn't have been able to get it completely under control that day even if they had had extra planes. It is possible that satellite sensing or other methods may have seen the fire earlier but it looks like noone is doing that sort of sensing for Victoria at the moment (apparently they use it in WA).

During the night the cool air drainage pushed the fire down the gully and it 'crowned' (i.e. burned in the tops of the trees) across Henham Tk. There was a lot of work to get control lines around the fire on the saturday (getting crews into the top of the range, dozers and continuing the bombing with the big aircraft etc) , but they couldn't get it done before the horrible weather on the Sunday.

With the NW wind on the Sunday the fire went south, crossed Teddy Bear Gap and set off spot fires right out towards Willaura. When the wind changed to the south these fires burned up across the Major Mitchell plateau and over to Pomonal. Another part of the original fire went across the Serra Range and out to Pomonal via the Dials and Barbican. Most of what burned that day was very intense (though I've seen an aerial pic of barbican wall and it didn't look as bad as what you can see of the back of the Dials from the Dunkeld Road.)

There are some patches of green out the back of Bundaleer (that you can see from Reeds Lookout along with some very hot patches down towards the VicValley). As far as I could tell (from Boroka lookout and from the Dunkeld Road) Rosea isn't as bad as it might have been, but it will be a while till access is opened up to these areas.

Over the next few days the fire burned past Halls Gap and the Watchtower and over into the Wartook Valley and the Asses Ears. The control line on Roses Gap Road was put in when this was happening , but more on that later.

We were lucky with the cooler weather that stopped the fire getting into the VIc Range but it also seems like the parks people had to argue hard with the CFA to get the control lines put in on Syphon Road and Goat track and not to just wait for the fire to come right over the Vic Range and have controls on the western side.

2. Effect of fuel reduction burns
I'm usually a bit doubtful about the effectiveness of control burning, but you can definitely see evidence in the aerial photos of the fire stopping or not burning in areas that have been burned recently (in the Vic Valley, in the back of the Asses Ears and in the Wartook valley)

3. The firebreaks
I've seen the firebreak along Roses Gap Rd and it does look awful. I know that PV often has problems with CFA and other crews not doing things like this by the book (Brodie I'll send you PM about how you might follow it up)

There is a plan to revegetate all the firelines (like they did with the one that stopped the Mt Difficult fire from getting to Stapylton in 1999)

4. The PV plan for re-opening the park
Obviously, the next priority is going to be walking tracks around Halls Gap and MacKenzies Falls for the tourist rush at Easter. there are some easy-ish things but in the some parts of the Wonderland and elsewhere there is no trace of the original track. There is a bridge burned on the Glenelg River Road but I'm not sure where. So, it is all going to take some time.

It is really important to stay out of places like Bundaleer and Rosea til we can work out if the new access tracks should go on different alignments (to stop future erosion etc). If you walk in the ash now you'll create a track that might be in the wrong place.

PV is about to employ a volunteer coordinator to help with arranging the work that needs to be done. Just let Ant at CliffCare know that you are interested. He'll be organising some workdays soon.
12:37:07 PM
Zebedee wrote:

>I saw a female emu with five chicks just outside the containment line this morning.

Err, that would be a male. Female involvement finishes once the eggs are laid. She's then free to go off and party. The male incubates the eggs for 55 days and the chicks stay with him for about 4 months.

8:26:58 AM
On 27/02/2006 darkxst wrote:
>does anyone know if mt difficult is open for climbing ?

Supposedly not. Walking tracks to Mt Difficult were closed last Sat (5/3/06) but I haven't looked this week. At Troopers Ck there are Track Closed signs on the paths leading to the cliffs and the waterfall. Apparently any track which can potentially link up with walking tracks in the Wonderland Range are closed.

Have to agree with oter posts that fire breaks are really ugly despite understanding their usefulness. Apparently authorities involved had pretty heated arguments involving the Roses Gap Rd break.
12:55:34 PM
John S is correct PV have a Volunteer Coordinator - Dylan Bowman and no doubt he'll be coordinating working bees with Ant once areas are safe to re-enter. At this stage trees are still coming down without warning.

There are 5 bridges out in the Park:
Just west of Lake Wartook on short track between ChimanTk and Mt Difficult Rd
Glenelg River Rd near Phillips Island and Moora/Rosea Track
Lodge Road nr the Lodge (midway between Syphon Rd & Rose Creek Rd intersections
Bullawin (?) trk jst east of Red Rock and
Syphon Road down douth near Glenelg River Rd intersection.

As John said it is really important to stay out of closed areas of the park, not only for safety issues, but because PV need to work out if the new access tracks should go on different alignments (to stop future erosion etc). Any tracks created now will only add to the already considerable erosions problems.

9:27:13 AM
Spent the weekend up at Mt Diff, the tracks to the crag are definitely open. The ranger turned up on Sunday and removed the closed signs (or turned them round where he couldn't remove them).

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There are 32 messages in this topic.


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