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Great Alpine Road open and Latrobe Valley attractions normal despite bushfire summer

February 06, 2007
Great Alpine Road open and Latrobe Valley attractions normal despite bushfire summer

Despite Victorias bushfires attractions are running as normal in the Latrobe Valley.

In fact roads are right all the way through to Lakes Entrance and across the Great Alpine Road to Bright, Porepunkah and Wangaratta.

The Great Alpine Road and the Buchan Ensay Road are open to all traffic. Areas close to Mt. Hotham and Dinner Plain remain unburnt and open for visitors.

The Australian Alps Walking Trail between Mt. Loch and Cope Hut (Bogong High Plains) and the Feathertop area is also now open.

Tourist facilities in the Buchan, Lakes Entrance, Metung, Bruthen, Omeo, Bairnsdale, Paynesville and surrounding districts are all open.

Latrobe Valley Visitor Information Centre told GoSeeAustralia that despite bushfire damage to its popular railway Walhalla is up and running with about 40 percent of the track operational.

Attractions are running as normal in the Latrobe Valley, the centre said.

The Tara Valley is 100 per cent. We had one big dump of rain, about 25mm and the smoke has gone in fact it is right all the way right through to Lakes Entrance, the centre spokesman said.

The only area which is out of bounds is the 4WD tracks. The Department of Sustainability, VicRoads, Parks Victoria, CFA and NSW Rural Fire Brigade websites give specific track and road closure advice to travellers and off-road enthusiasts.

Fine wines. Fine time. Courtesy Alpine Region Tourism
Fine wines. Fine time. Courtesy Alpine Region Tourism

This covers the North and South of Victoria, the Otways and through links with the NSW Rural Fire Brigade includes the Snowy Mountains.

The Buchan Caves Reserve, Colquhoun Forest and Regional Park, and Lake Tyers Forest park are also open for visitors.

The Country Fire Authority and Department of Sustainability and the Environment ask travellers to pay attention to the road closure signs.

Road and tracks that are closed are not safe for the public and are undergoing rehabilitation work.

Beautiful Bright strikes up the band courtesy Alpine Region Tourism
Beautiful Bright strikes up the band courtesy Alpine Region Tourism

The DSE says motorists need to travel cautiously and slowly on the roads around the fire especially some sections of the Great Alpine Road.

Visibility may be reduced due to dust and smoke because crews may be working close to the roadside.

DSE says wildlife may also be a traffic hazard.

In North East Victoria the CFA and DSE say in the Tatong and Great Divide North Fires that smoke sightings have been reported around the Tolmie area.

But the smoke is not from new fires, it comes from within existing containment lines. The fire area will continue to smoulder and put up smoke until significant rain is received.

Wildlife may be displaced and wander into populated areas. Sick or injured wildlife should be reported to 0500 540 000 or 0417 380 687.

Live to ride. The Great Alpine Road. Courtesy Alpine Region Tourism
Live to ride. The Great Alpine Road. Courtesy Alpine Region Tourism

Experienced operators can offer advice and arrange assistance. More information can be found by visiting DSE`s Fire and Emergency WebPages dedicated to Wildlife Information.

Davies Plain Track and Tom Groggin Track reopened to the public on Friday, 2 February. But the following tracks in the vicinity of the Hermit Mountain fire in Alpine National Park remain closed:

  • Mt Pinnibar Track
  • Blue Gum Ridge Track
  • Tin Creek Track
  • Stony Creek Track
  • Mt Gibbo Track from Mt Anderson
  • Shady Creek Upper Track from Dunstans Track

CFA and DSE say that the Collier Gap Road fire 3km south west of Elmhurst between Ararat and Avoca is contained and this removes any threat to residents of Elmhurst. No roads have been closed.

Soft greens on the striking drive through Bright. Courtesy Alpine Region Tourism
Soft greens on the striking drive through Bright. Courtesy Alpine Region Tourism

DSE and CFA say that travellers, campers and bushwalkers MUST obey road closures in all fire areas.

Failure to obey these signs endangers both visitors and fire crews. DSE, VicRoads and Victoria Police are constantly reviewing road closures, and make it a priority to open them as soon as they are declared safe.

Many other roads and tracks around fire affected areas are not safe and have been closed. Details of road closures can be found at the VicRoads website, or by calling the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.

Park and Forest Closures. In Victoria some state forest areas are closed due to bushfires until further notice.They are:

Goulburn State Forest including all of the Upper Goulburn Camping Reserve.

Mansfield State Forest including Running Creek Camping Reserve, Granny`s Flat, Carter`s Road Camping Reserve, Circuit Road and Mt Stirling including Craigs Hut and Buttercup Creek Camping Area.

Toombullup State Forest including Stringy Bark and the Kelly Tree and Jones` Camping Reserves. Areas listed as closed may remain closed for sometime until they can be made safe.

For further information on park and forest closures, including up-to-date maps, people are advised to listen to ABC or local radio, and to check for updates on access to parks and walking tracks with Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963 or visit the Parks Victoria website.

Alpine  trout test anglers. Courtesy Alpine Region Tourism
Alpine trout test anglers. Courtesy Alpine Region Tourism
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