THE wildfire at Mount Walsh National Park has been burning now for at least a month, with locals saying the only way it will be put out is by rainfall. Photo: Moira Thompson
THE wildfire at Mount Walsh National Park has been burning now for at least a month, with locals saying the only way it will be put out is by rainfall. Photo: Moira Thompson

Rain is the last hope for month-long Mount Walsh blaze

THE wildfire at Mount Walsh National Park has been burning now for at least a month, with locals saying the only way it will be put out is by rainfall.

All of Mount Walsh National Park is currently closed due to the ongoing blaze, including Waterfall Creek, Coongara and the bush camping and day use areas.

A spokesperson from the Department of Environmental Science (DES) said the fire is currently just one blaze and there no indication of what started it.

“The fire is posing no threat to life or property,” the spokesperson said.

Darren Geissler’s property backs on to the Mount Walsh National Park and said they have been back burning for weeks to protect their land.

“We’re constantly on it,” Mr Geissler said.

“We’ve gotta still do about 18km of back burn to put us right but were only doing that as we have to do it and as were allowed to do it.”

Mr Geissler said they would be back burning quicker if DES allowed them to.

“We can only go as far as they will let us go.”

Mr Geissler said it would take rainfall for the fire to be put completely out.

“It’ll take three or four inches,” he said.

Head Officer of North Dallarnil Rural Fire Brigade Max Pearce said his crews have been working to contain the blaze for weeks, but haven’t been back this week.

“When our blokes were up there it was in containment lines but I heard yesterday that they're putting in more breaks,” Mr Pearce said.

“They’re not going to put it out until we get rain or they put in containment lines and make sure that they're absolutely secure and blacked out properly.”

Mr Pearce said there is a lack of communication and there needs to be more detailed updates about the current situation for the local’s safety.

“People aren't very well informed about it,” he said.

“All is good until someone gets hurt.”

Mount Walsh bushwalking guide Moira Thompson said more planning needs to be done around “small, cool regular burns” which are carried out after rain and have less of an impact on the environment.

“So much of the country is being cooked and this is so unnecessary,” Ms Thompson said.

“The Mt Walsh NP is nearly 20,000ha, so a section at a time is all that is needed to be burnt.”

Ms Thompson hopes that DES will work collaboratively with farmers, rural fire and other stakeholders to better manage these situations.

“This collaboration needs to be an annual round the table discussion with maps, and including Council, Department of Main Roads and Ergon Energy,” she said.

“It also needs to be done town by town as local knowledge is vital.”


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