Four Wheel Drive Victoria would like to remind our members that as record numbers of people are expected to visit state forests, parks and reserves across Gippsland this Australia Day. Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) is urging people
who are planning a trip to plan ahead and keep safe.
With thousands expected to make the most of the public holiday with a trip in the outdoors, people are encouraged to have a backup plan in case their destination is full, following the rules including not blocking road access to sites.
FFMVic, Acting Deputy Chief Fire Officer Kelly Rash said: 'A huge concern is the increasing trend of vehicles blocking access for emergency vehicles to state forest areas.'
'At Brunton's Bridge last Australia Day, a medical emergency occurred requiring evacuation and our authorizing officers were called to site to help guide the ambulance through due to the number of vehicles blocking access. In several other locations, vehicles were double parked and impairing access.
'Most people do the right thing but, often the increase in visitors to the region brings undesirable behavior which consumes our resources and reduces the quality of everyone's experience.
'Unfortunately, following public holidays and long weekends, FFMVic crews also spent considerable amounts of time clearing up rubbish after others,' said Kelly Rash
'We are urging people to be careful, especially when it comes to campfires. In the past 6 months. FFMVic crews in Gippsland have extinguished 77 unattended campfires, in every case preventing the potential spread of a bushfire.
'We want people to enjoy our beautiful public land areas, follow the rules by knowing what they can and can't do and set a good example by behaving responsibly.'
Sites expected to attract thousands of visitors include, Coopers Creek, Brunton's Bridge, Chenye's Bridge, Toorongo Falls and Noojee.
If you're headed to Gippsland State Forests this January 26, please remember:
-Always have a backup location if your chosen site is crowded
-Ensure you always allow access for emergency service vehicles
-Take your rubbish home with you
-Extinguish your campfires and never leave them unattended
-Stick to formed tracks and trails
-Check the fire danger rating. Most regional areas are now in the Fire Danger Period
-Camp at least 20 metres from waterways
-Do not camp in day visitor areas