3 day walks with the current fire situation

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3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby TheOmen » Mon 21 Jan, 2019 11:16 am

Dear all,

Looking for suggestions for a 3 day walk (2 night) in light of the recent fires and wanting to make use of this long weekend. I was planning to do the Moonlight Ridge Track with my partner over this coming weekend and it now doesn't appear to be such a good idea especially with Parks track closure https://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=7785.

I'm still getting a feel for all the walks in Tas and thus the question on where I can go given the current situation?

Thanking you
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby north-north-west » Mon 21 Jan, 2019 12:26 pm

There are coastal options in and near the Tarkine, although long weekends tend to bring out the 4wd, ATV and trail bike bogans, so maybe not.

The Walls is still open and that has heaps of ways to put together a three day itinerary that is as hard or as easy as you want.
(Two Out of) Three Capes can be done free from Fortescue Bay if you utilise the old Cape Pillar Track, with or without adding Arthurs Peak via that old track.
Frenchmans can be done over three days.
Far as I know the reserve is still open so you can go in to Pine Valley for instance and climb the Acropolis, or hit the mud and do a loop via Cuvier Valley and the OT with a sidetrip up Byron and/or Olympus.
Lake MacKenzie, Blue Peaks track, bit of gentle off-track exploration around there such as out to Fisher Bluff. Higgs track to Lady Lake and then follow it past Westons etc and, again, explore a bit off track. The PCT has sections that can be done as either through walks if you can arrange a car shuffle, or as out and backs ie, Black Bluff from Taylors through to Belvoir Rd plus maybe Beecroft.
Tyndall Range - take the track up to the lakes and then go south to Geikie and the Chin. Either loop back down via Hamilton Moraine (which is an easy two days), or do it as an out and back - it's gorgeous country up there.

Best to keep away from the SW for now. :(
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Tortoise » Mon 21 Jan, 2019 12:44 pm

nnw posted some good ideas while I was writing this.

Wondering what kind of walk you're after. Your plan A has a well-marked track. Are you experienced off-track, or finding pads that fade out? How many hours a day are you looking at? Are you after summits, or is forest walking ok?

I was keen to avoid long drives in on dead-end dirt roads, even those that aren't closed at the moment. That could change very quickly. I also liked the idea of not being too far away from a large body of water.

Depending on that, you could consider something near Lake St Clair, subject to checking your plan with the visitors' centre staff. We recently (during the fires) decided on a circumnavigation of Mt Olympus, plus Olympus and Byron summits. It did mean carrying 6 - 7 l each of water at one point, but it was worth it. We kept a close eye on the Tasfire site whenever we had reception, and were ready to bail the few kms back to Narcissus if needed. It's a good time to walk the Cuvier Valley, unless there's a fire too close. One of us did experience a knee-deep mud hole, but there weren't too many of those. While a lot of work has been done on the track, we still lost it for a couple of kms between arriving in the valley (from Byron Gap) and finding the re-worked track partway along Lake Petrach. The difference in time taken on those two sections was enormous. Edit: Or perhaps better under the circumstances would be to basecamp at Echo Point and climb Olympus the more usual way - again, if you're ok without a track.

A safer option if you're OK with something more simple would be to maybe camp 2 nights at Shadow Lake, with side trips to Little Hugel/the tarn on the plateau/+/- Hugel, then Rufus the next day. Or take big packs over Rufus for a circuit. I figure if there's any fire that close to Cynthia Bay, lots of resources would be thrown at it quickly. I could be wrong, of course.

Or do something at Cradle - base camp at Scott Kilvert, do a day walk up Barn Bluff or Emmett (if you don't mind boulders and a little bit of scrub that some people manage to avoid). Or some other bits and pieces like Artillery Knob, or exploring Waterfall Valley.
Last edited by Tortoise on Mon 21 Jan, 2019 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Paul » Mon 21 Jan, 2019 1:05 pm

Nice walks on the East Coast would be suitable.
You could try Bay Of Fires and walk between Ansons Bay and Binalong Bay, or Freycinet National Park at Cole Bay.

Cheers,

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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby north-north-west » Mon 21 Jan, 2019 1:34 pm

Paul wrote:Nice walks on the East Coast would be suitable.
You could try Bay Of Fires and walk between Ansons Bay and Binalong Bay, or Freycinet National Park at Cole Bay.


Long weekend. Won't be room to move.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby czechingoutofhere » Mon 21 Jan, 2019 1:37 pm

Pretty sure I read last night that they're recommending not to go on remote bushwalks anywhere in the state. I would heed those warnings as any resources that have to rescue you, can't be used to fight the fires. Do the smart thing and just hold off until the situation has calmed down.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Tortoise » Mon 21 Jan, 2019 2:40 pm

czechingoutofhere wrote:Pretty sure I read last night that they're recommending not to go on remote bushwalks anywhere in the state. I would heed those warnings as any resources that have to rescue you, can't be used to fight the fires. Do the smart thing and just hold off until the situation has calmed down.

G'day czeching, and welcome to the forum.

Yes, that's right. So it depends on what the warnings mean by remote. The Overland Track is still open, people are still collecting their permits from Parks, and walking through, some doing side trips, no doubt. Several national parks are closed, but not others. This situation may go on for most of summer, like last time.

Yes, we could all stop walking altogether. But I'm thinking that by keeping in touch with Parks and TasFire, as they have requested, and staying near easy escape routes, and staying out altogether if there is more thunderstorm activity forecast, EDIT: and, of course, more severe fire conditions, then it's quite reasonable. I personally wouldn't go to the Walls, because of the one road through tall forest out of there.

Edit: But of course you're right, the only way to be 100% sure is to not be in the bush.
Last edited by Tortoise on Wed 23 Jan, 2019 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby TheOmen » Tue 22 Jan, 2019 10:11 am

Thanks for all the ideas.

north-north-west wrote:
Paul wrote:Nice walks on the East Coast would be suitable.
You could try Bay Of Fires and walk between Ansons Bay and Binalong Bay, or Freycinet National Park at Cole Bay.


Long weekend. Won't be room to move.


I think your right north-north-west. May be nice to be close to the ocean for a dip though :)

Tortoise wrote:
czechingoutofhere wrote:Pretty sure I read last night that they're recommending not to go on remote bushwalks anywhere in the state. I would heed those warnings as any resources that have to rescue you, can't be used to fight the fires. Do the smart thing and just hold off until the situation has calmed down.

G'day czeching, and welcome to the forum.

Yes, that's right. So it depends on what the warnings mean by remote. The Overland Track is still open, people are still collecting their permits from Parks, and walking through, some doing side trips, no doubt. Several national parks are closed, but not others. This situation may go on for most of summer, like last time.

Yes, we could all stop walking altogether. But I'm thinking that by keeping in touch with Parks and TasFire, as they have requested, and staying near easy escape routes, and staying out altogether if there is more thunderstorm activity forecast, then it's quite reasonable. I personally wouldn't go to the Walls, because of the one road through tall forest out of there.

Edit: But of course you're right, the only way to be 100% sure is to not be in the bush.


Both good comments. While i'm not 100% committed to getting out and about, Iwanted to gauge my options if I was too. At the end of the day I might wait till Thursday and see what TasFire and Parks have to say and factor in the weekend forecast.

Thanks all for the suggestions.

Just found this as well from TasFire, looks like we have a totale fire ban so things aren't getting any better... https://messages.fire.tas.gov.au/sites/default/files/tfb-22-jan-2019.pdf
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Gimped » Tue 22 Jan, 2019 10:18 am

Looks like weather, fire risk peaking on Friday, so maybe after that conditions will settle a little...
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Nuts » Tue 22 Jan, 2019 10:39 am

I know the show must go on but waiting till Friday is a good short-term solution. The Overland Track would be late to close (given the logistics) but imagine the pressure on already stretched resources from elsewhere. Somewhere you're able to self rescue (into a lake/ quickly down from the peaks) (if the show must go on).
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Tortoise » Tue 22 Jan, 2019 11:02 am

Gimped wrote:Looks like weather, fire risk peaking on Friday, so maybe after that conditions will settle a little...

I certainly wouldn't be anywhere in the bush on Friday. I'd reassess after that. No way do I want to add to the problem of extracting bushwalkers, when conditions are as they are.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Thornbill » Tue 22 Jan, 2019 11:48 am

Tortoise wrote:Yes, that's right. So it depends on what the warnings mean by remote. The Overland Track is still open, people are still collecting their permits from Parks, and walking through, some doing side trips, no doubt. Several national parks are closed, but not others. This situation may go on for most of summer, like last time.

Yes, we could all stop walking altogether. But I'm thinking that by keeping in touch with Parks and TasFire, as they have requested, and staying near easy escape routes, and staying out altogether if there is more thunderstorm activity forecast, then it's quite reasonable. I personally wouldn't go to the Walls, because of the one road through tall forest out of there.

Edit: But of course you're right, the only way to be 100% sure is to not be in the bush.


I spent the last 3 days up around Shadow Lake, Rufus & Hugel. We were very aware of the fire situation before we left and checked in with Parks, who had no concerns with that particular area. Some good advice here regarding ease of getting yourself out back to the car, and then getting your car out if needed. E.g. we could get ourselves down from Shadow Lake to St Clair pretty quickly if needed, to the relative safety of the visitors centre area. There is also phone reception up that way, which enabled us to check in with the TFS website regularly for updates.

I'd echo the comments of others here and say talk to Parks about your intentions before heading off. And with high 30's and high winds forecast for Friday, being in the bush is probably going to be pretty unpleasant anyhow...
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Nuts » Tue 22 Jan, 2019 1:23 pm

Up there (at least) It should be possible to re-asses by Friday and more 'normal' weather variations back by Sunday

Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 11.59.28 am.png
Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 11.59.28 am.png (57.38 KiB) Viewed 3140 times
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby AndyR » Tue 22 Jan, 2019 5:43 pm

Parks have increased the number of tracks closed, including some of those mentioned above

https://parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=7785&fbclid=IwAR3s5sgZa0CH88GWrLOC1MkPbA7KSCJk0BkDw8m_An0EULW11t3LV96_7Fc
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby JPoland » Tue 22 Jan, 2019 10:32 pm

I'm heading in on the Arm River Track to do the Pelion Circuit over 3 days.

I don't think the situation should stop you from entering any national parks, I think you should just be smart about where you are going.
Check both the TFS website and the PWS track closures and make sure you are not going near a fire. But there are still plenty of places that you can go that currently don't have fires near them.
It would be safest to wait until after Friday though, because then you can assess if the fire situation has changed for the walks you were planning.

But I don't think it should stop you, you just need to be smart about where you are going, walk within your abilities, know your escape routes/bodies of water, and keep up to date with the latest information from PWS and TFS.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby weetbix456 » Tue 22 Jan, 2019 11:16 pm

As everyone has already said - keep up to date, keep in touch with someone so they know where you’ll be, have bail out plans ready to go, and yea I think it is a good idea to hold off until after Friday if you can! It’s ridiculously hot walking conditions out there at the moment, especially on the ridge tops or down in sheltered valleys eg cuvier. There are definitely still plenty of trip options available. In saying that, place yourself in need of a heli evac in an emergency/injury if one should arise, when parks have asked you not to go remote walk about...a tad embarrassing and most likely utilising a resource that could be better used elsewhere given the current situation. On a side note, take big water capacity! Super dry even in usually reliable spots.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby taswegian » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 6:57 am

National Parks are asking that nobody goes into the National Parks.
ABC news, 7:45 am.

I heard something the other day that sounded like they'd banned lighting of any cooking devices in NP's
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby monte » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 8:04 am

We had a town meeting in Geeveston last night and the Parks rep was pretty clear that if you do go out and for whatever reason they have to come and get you that you are using a resource that is needed elsewhere. Think they come and get you so they can't drop in a remote team to back burn an area to save some pines or something... It's better to change your plans I think. I've canned my Walls walk although that's also because I've had ash falling all over my property for 2 days and Friday is looking scary ;-(
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Lost » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 8:22 am

JPoland wrote:I'm heading in on the Arm River Track to do the Pelion Circuit over 3 days.

I don't think the situation should stop you from entering any national parks, I think you should just be smart about where you are going.
Check both the TFS website and the PWS track closures and make sure you are not going near a fire. But there are still plenty of places that you can go that currently don't have fires near them.
It would be safest to wait until after Friday though, because then you can assess if the fire situation has changed for the walks you were planning.

But I don't think it should stop you, you just need to be smart about where you are going, walk within your abilities, know your escape routes/bodies of water, and keep up to date with the latest information from PWS and TFS.


I have seen to many bushfires well ones enough to scare the s### out of me. There unpredictable Iv'e seen places and houses burn down when that area was well away from the fire front and not even on the direction the fire front was going. Wind changed and with in a day it was coming and coming fast at our houses. The speed a fire comes up a ridge is scary the smoke before emm. One controlled burn off in a national park in early October quite a few years ago i lived across the road from got away from them wind changed direction (wasn't in the weather forecast for the day)and nearly burned my house and a few others down.

I have a healthy respect for bushfires there is a beast that has it's own mind.

I see on Friday weather forecast showers in the afternoon possibly thundery. Emm possibly more lightning strikes then on Saturday Winds west to southwesterly 25 to 35 km/h tending northwest to northeasterly 15 to 20 km/h during the afternoon then tending northwest to southwesterly during the evening. So the winds swinging all over the place. You couldn't pay me enough money to go up the top on that long weekend.

While your advice is good there will be people who think they know what they are doing and the others who have no idea like from Overseas/sydney /melbounrne who do some occasional bushwalks and think there on top of it and they have planned this holiday/walk months / years ago and there going hell high water or fires.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Tortoise » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 8:40 am

One of the things that scares me now is to see other random fires starting - e.g. Savage River listed today. Too far from any other to be a spot fire, no apparent thunderstorm activity to my knowledge. Looks like they could start anywhere anytime (and spread quickly) in the current conditions.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Gimped » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 2:05 pm

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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Lost » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 3:45 pm

National Parks are now saying " With the large amount of fires burning and the potential for spotting and new starts due to the weather forecast, PWS is asking people NOT to venture into remote areas from now until the end of the long weekend (Tuesday 29 January 2019)."
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby north-north-west » Sat 26 Jan, 2019 6:10 pm

monte wrote:We had a town meeting in Geeveston last night and the Parks rep was pretty clear that if you do go out and for whatever reason they have to come and get you that you are using a resource that is needed elsewhere. Think they come and get you so they can't drop in a remote team to back burn an area to save some pines or something... It's better to change your plans I think. I've canned my Walls walk although that's also because I've had ash falling all over my property for 2 days and Friday is looking scary ;-(


Their first port of call for evacuation is the rescue chopper, and that does not use P&WS personnel or equipment.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby monte » Sun 27 Jan, 2019 6:45 am

Hmm... Might the rescue chopper be needed elsewhere too?

Apparently it took 13 staff and 2 choppers to extract everyone after the lightning.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby north-north-west » Sun 27 Jan, 2019 7:53 am

monte wrote:Hmm... Might the rescue chopper be needed elsewhere too?


They have two aircraft and multiple crews. But yes, if both helicopters are busy elsewhere they have to resort to other options - which is why I said "...first port of call...".
I think the main thing the precautionary evacuations do is relieve them of worry. If they can be fairly sure there's no-one there, they can concentrate on dealing with the fire.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Lost » Sun 27 Jan, 2019 8:30 am

north-north-west wrote:
monte wrote:Hmm... Might the rescue chopper be needed elsewhere too?


They have two aircraft and multiple crews. But yes, if both helicopters are busy elsewhere they have to resort to other options - which is why I said "...first port of call...".
I think the main thing the precautionary evacuations do is relieve them of worry. If they can be fairly sure there's no-one there, they can concentrate on dealing with the fire.


I'd say first port of call is listen to what they are saying and don't go in there. On Friday there were still people fishing Penstock and Bronte. There were more than two aircraft up there at the time doesn't matter if there's ten aircraft they shouldn't have to evacuate anyone it is pretty clear there is fires every where and there starting everywhere. As for walking the ridge lines emm obviously haven't see a bush fire come up a ridge. Scarey S###.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby north-north-west » Sun 27 Jan, 2019 10:45 am

Lost wrote: On Friday there were still people fishing Penstock and Bronte.


Stupid and dangerous. If there's a fire within a certain distance upwind you keep clear.
As I have said on the Gell River thread, on the morning after the lightning which started all the Pedder fires, there were people walking in to Junction Creek: reckless, ignorant and *&%$#! stupid. The ones heading up Alpha Moraine the previous day couldn't be condemned however - the place was safe enough at that stage.

...doesn't matter if there's ten aircraft they shouldn't have to evacuate anyone...


When there's no warning and a large section of the state is clear, it is not unreasonable to go there provided you have a proper and viable exit plan. I am not going to cower in my bunker "just in case" whenever a fire starts somewhere in the state.

As for walking the ridge lines emm obviously haven't see a bush fire come up a ridge.


I know how fires behave, I've seen plenty of them starting with living through '67. Ridgeline is the worst place you can be as a rule, because fires go uphill a lot quicker than down and also a lot quicker than a person can travel.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Lost » Sun 27 Jan, 2019 12:42 pm

When there's no warning and a large section of the state is clear, it is not unreasonable to go there provided you have a proper and viable exit plan. I am not going to cower in my bunker "just in case" whenever a fire starts somewhere in the state.

Tell that to the four people who died, over 490 were injured, and 470 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in the 2003 Canberra fires. That fire didn't even start in the ACT and there were no warnings in fact they said those fires wouldn't hit the suburbs. Same goes for Como fires, Grays point fires, Waterfall fires all of which I went through and no warnings on those either.Well until it was to late.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby Warin » Sun 27 Jan, 2019 12:57 pm

Lost wrote:I am not going to cower in my bunker "just in case" whenever a fire starts somewhere in the state.


As is reasonable - do your own risk assessment and planning.
If additional information is helpfull .. ask (here and/or elsewhere), *&^%$#@! and filter the information. Then make your decisions.
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Re: 3 day walks with the current fire situation

Postby north-north-west » Sun 27 Jan, 2019 4:02 pm

Lost wrote:[quote=="north-north-west"]When there's no warning and a large section of the state is clear, it is not unreasonable to go there provided you have a proper and viable exit plan. I am not going to cower in my bunker "just in case" whenever a fire starts somewhere in the state.


Tell that to the four people who died, over 490 were injured, and 470 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in the 2003 Canberra fires. That fire didn't even start in the ACT and there were no warnings in fact they said those fires wouldn't hit the suburbs. Same goes for Como fires, Grays point fires, Waterfall fires all of which I went through and no warnings on those either.Well until it was to late.[/quote]

First you say we have to slavishly follow all warnings and now you're saying that the warnings can be insufficient. Kind of a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation, isn't it?

Can you explain exactly what you do advocate? Are we supposed to move into fireproof shelters all over Tasmania whenever there's a report of a fire anywhere? Ignore it? Take sensible precautions somewhere in between those two extremes? Because option three is what I'm saying. It just depends on what our respective definitions of "sensible precautions" are.

There are never any guarantees. Not with weather, and not with life.
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