Avoid the Otways on Monday, Surf Coast Shire to close services

December 29, 2019 BY

The Large Air Tankers are based at Avalon and will be available tomorrow. Photo: JAMES TAYLOR

WITH extreme weather conditions forcing the abandonment of the Falls Festival at Lorne today, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) is urging people to avoid the Otways region tomorrow (Monday, December 30).

Andrew Morrow, FFMVic Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said a Total Fire Ban was already declared for tomorrow, making it illegal to light any fires.

“We’re expecting extremely hot, dry and windy conditions. If a fire starts and takes hold, it can be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast-moving.”

The fire ban covers campfires and all barbecues, including solid and liquid-fuelled versions, as well as ‘unconventional’ heat sources, such as rotisseries and portable grills.

Mr Morrow said due to the high fire danger, the Erskine Falls, Triplet Falls and Lake Elizabeth forest areas would be closed.

Compliance officers will be patrolling local parks and forests, including the Otway Forest Park and Otway National Park to inform people about the conditions and risks.

Incident Management Teams will be rostered at local Incident Control Centres at Colac and Geelong. Firefighters and a fleet of firefighting vehicles will be ready to respond to any fires, and firefighting aircraft will be on standby at Colac. Large Air Tankers will also be on standby at Avalon.

With the Total Fire Ban in place, Officer Morrow said people should reconsider plans to visit parks and forests, as they can be ‘extremely dangerous’ under those conditions.

We strongly urge the community to consider the need for visiting local forests or parks during periods of high and extreme heat as they can be extremely dangerous under these conditions.”

People already in parks and forests are asked to leave while it is still safe, and should stay informed about the weather, and watch their surroundings, as well as being ready to enact bushfire plans as emergency services may not be able to respond, and to call 000 if they see or smell smoke.

Full details of park closures and bans are available at parks.vic.gov.au.

Meanwhile, the Surf Coast Shire has announced several changes to their services tomorrow, including:

  • No kerbside waste collections will operate. There are changes to collections from tomorrow to January 4. Collection will be moved to the following day. Find out more
  • All Landfill and Waste Transfer Stations will be closed
  • Winchelsea swimming pool will be closed
  • Visitor Information Centres (VIC) in Lorne, Anglesea and Winchelsea will be closed. Remote service for the Lorne VIC will be provided from Torquay Visitor Information Centre, which will remain open
  • Immunisation sessions will be cancelled
  • Maternal Child Health services will be rescheduled
  • Delivered meals services will not operate and home and community care services will be rescheduled
  • Winchelsea Health Centre will be closed
  • Council’s Community Bus service will not operate
  • The Geelong Regional Mobile Library service is not running, and
  • All Senior Citizens Centres will be advised to close

For the full list, head to surfcoast.vic.gov.au/Community/Emergencies-and-safety/Extreme-fire-danger-Monday-30-December.




Surf Coast Times – Free local news in your inbox

Breaking news, community, lifestyle, real estate, and sport.