2019-20 Bushfire risk

A forum for discussing the Australian Alps Walking Track. This is a 655 km long track from Walhalla (Vic) to Tharwa (ACT)

2019-20 Bushfire risk

Postby earphones47 » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 11:44 pm

G'day all,

I'm planning on hiking the AAWT from Jan-Feb. I was hoping for some advice on the increased risk of bushfire, and ways to counteract it. Posting this considering the crazy bushfire season NSW is already having, with forecasts for it to continue.

Cheers.
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Re: 2019-20 Bushfire risk

Postby Xplora » Wed 11 Dec, 2019 6:51 am

A difficult question to answer. Presently there are three or four fires impacting on the AAWT but neither are a great threat, for now. The track remains officially closed from Mt. Wills to Bogong Massive and then through the Barrys (Selwyn fire). The alternates around Mt. Wills and Bogong are also closed and fire crews are still trying to extinguish hot spots so they do not flare up again. I do know of some people who are walking through but fire crews may be working in the area and you will not be received well.

It is a matter of wait and see and you may need to cut your trip short. The biggest problem this year (IMO) will be dry storms, like the one in 2003 which started fires in both states. I see more of them happening this season. If this worries you then cancel. If you have some understanding of fire, some commonsense and a cool head then make a plan. There is always a bushfire risk in summer. Be weather aware and prepared to walk back to a safe or exit point. I find this site good to show the direction and intensity of a fire https://sentinel.ga.gov.au/ It is not showing the fires impacting on the AAWT which means they have subsided but they are still smoldering with trees burning underground. That is why they are still listed as not controlled. I can still see smoke from the one near me. Hot days and strong winds will have these fires running hard again.
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Re: 2019-20 Bushfire risk

Postby Zapruda » Wed 11 Dec, 2019 6:54 am

earphones47 wrote:G'day all,

I'm planning on hiking the AAWT from Jan-Feb. I was hoping for some advice on the increased risk of bushfire, and ways to counteract it. Posting this considering the crazy bushfire season NSW is already having, with forecasts for it to continue.

Cheers.


There's not all that much to say on it. The Alps are currently a tinder box and all it will take is some dry lightning or some pillock with too many rums in them to start one.

Take a PLB and monitor the situation with your phone when you get reception. As an asthmatic I would also take a proper face mask just in case.

I personally wouldn't delay the walk but I would be ready to pull the plug if it starts looking bad.

The other weekend I noticed that they had graded the Round Mountain fire trail in prep for this coming season. Be prepared for some re-routes along the track. Last year the closed a good chunk of the Jagungal Wilderness for a few weeks because of fires.

Good luck.
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Re: 2019-20 Bushfire risk

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 11 Dec, 2019 10:06 am

There should be mobile reception from the higher summits, allowing fire updates. The problem is that there are long forested sections with no fast way out if a fire starts. Hitchhiking on the north-south roads is always an option, but carry a map of Victoria so you know where you are going. I cannot recall conditions that led to such concerns and the need to make plans like this.

Zapruda said "I would be ready to pull the plug if it starts looking bad." Keep this in mind at all times.
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Re: 2019-20 Bushfire risk

Postby Zapruda » Wed 11 Dec, 2019 7:47 pm

Some info on pending Namadgi National Park closures here - http://www.bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic ... 36&t=27974
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Re: 2019-20 Bushfire risk

Postby Anotherjonesy » Thu 12 Dec, 2019 8:12 am

First time long time here

Thanks for the info on the closures.
A little intro....40 next year, have come up with a year of walking/travel to celebrate, Nepal, Georgia, larapinta, bibbulmun, and the AAWT.

However it's the AAWT that has captured the imagination, it's all I think about, therefore my hearts set on doing it first. I was pretty set on finishing work late Feb, then starting the AAWT March 11-15 heading north. However this horrendous fire outlook and impending closures has it all up in there.

I have two options, do my entire 2020 in reverse and do Nepal in March instead and leave the AAWT until last in November.

Or option two, push back the AAWT until early April hoping fire threats and closure will be gone by then.

What do you guys think , will an early April departure be doable, or is it looking like the AAWT is a write off until spring next year now?

Thanks
Ben
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Re: 2019-20 Bushfire risk

Postby Zapruda » Thu 12 Dec, 2019 8:39 am

Anotherjonesy wrote:What do you guys think , will an early April departure be doable, or is it looking like the AAWT is a write off until spring next year now?


Ben, Its a tough situation and I feel your pain. It would be devastating to see another catastrophic fire rage through the Alps again.

I think you will be fine in March but if we get some horrible fires up here they will likely close large sections of KNP and Namadgi after the fact like they did in 2003. Most of the Jagungal Wilderness was closed last year for weeks due to a fire kilometres away...

I am in either KNP or Namadgi for days at a time, every week, year round. I personally think April is one of the best times to be in the Mountains. The days are mild and the nights cold but not horribly so. The weather is relatively stable and all the annoying insects are gone. I think If you went southbound in very early April you would avoid the lingering snow that normally arrives high up in mid May. Every year is different of course.

Spring in the mountains has its owns challenges like snow melt, lingering snowpack and high river crossings but maybe it is the best option. Its really hard to say.

Let me know if you have any questions. I am always happy to help.

Stef
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Re: 2019-20 Bushfire risk

Postby Anotherjonesy » Thu 12 Dec, 2019 9:17 am

Thanks Stef
Great Insta photos by the way.

I need to rent out my place and leave my job for this 2020 adventure, so I kind of need to lock in a pretty close date soon. The more I think of it an early April departure makes more sense than a early/mid March. It will just condense my year a little more and give me less recovery time between walks. I'm confident of 25-28 days without incident(injury , weather), hopefully I'm not to ambitious...
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Re: 2019-20 Bushfire risk

Postby earphones47 » Fri 13 Dec, 2019 8:12 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone, gonna stick with it.
Does anybody know of any alternative routes following the closure of the Namadgi National Park?
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