Following the severe weather and storm event last week, the Wombat State Forest, the northern part of Lerderderg State Park, Macedon Regional Park and Trentham Falls remain closed to the public.
Forest Fire Management Victoria crews have been working hard over the past week to access impacted areas and assess damage to roads, recreational sites and the natural environment.
“Immediately following the storm event, our crews worked closely with SES, CFA and Victoria Police to address urgent safety and access issues for community members and public road managers, while restoring power and water supplies,” Grampians deputy chief fire officer Tony English said.
“Since then, crews have continued working hard to clear fallen trees, debris and other hazards from storm-affected areas.
“In addition to this, we are also using our aircraft to assess the extent and severity of damage to areas that we haven’t been able to access from the ground at this stage.
“This includes assessing primary access roads and critical infrastructure such as bridges and communication towers.
“While work continues to make these locations safe again, we ask everyone to please follow road closure signage, both for your own safety and to allow crews to operate safely and effectively.”
More than 150 roads and tracks across the Wombat State Forest and Lerderderg State Park remain closed, including larger roads such as Firth Road, Bunding–Blakeville Road, North Blackwood Road and Lerderderg Road.
“Although it is too early to tell when roads will be re-opened, it is expected closures will be in place for some time, given the severity of the storm,” Mr English said.
“Recreational sites are also closed to the public, including popular visitor locations such as Firth Park Campground, Carrol Springs Campground, Nolans Picnic Area and Werribee River Picnic Area. These sites may be closed for some time as we work to assess and safely open them.
“We also want to remind the community that fallen logs provide valuable habitat for our wildlife and that you can only take fallen or felled wood from designated domestic firewood collection areas.”
Designated domestic firewood collection areas are currently closed in the Wombat State Forest, however, alternative collection areas can be found at www.ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood/firewood-collection-in-your-region
“While we understand the desire to help crews and collect wood from fallen trees following the storm, falling trees, branches and hidden power lines still pose significant safety risks to the community, as well as emergency crews working to restore road access and power,” Mr English said.
“We will look at future opportunities to sustainably provide excess fallen wood for community use, however, our first priority remains clearing hazards and addressing threats to life and safety that have been caused by these extreme events.”