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Mt Field NP, Hastings Cave & Pool and Wellington Park closed - Friday 25 Jan


As a result of the total fire ban and current fire weather forecast for strong winds, the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) advises that Mt Field National Park and Hastings Caves and Thermal Pool will be closed on Friday 25 January 2019.

Subject to weather and fire conditions, these parks will re-open on Saturday 26 January, 2019.

The Wellington Park Management Trust also advises that Wellington Park will be closed on Friday 25 January 2019. The Pinnacle Road will be closed to all traffic as of 10pm today (Thursday 24 January 2019).

In a statement released today PWS State Fire Manager Paul Black says the Gell River fire to the west of Mt Field and the fire burning in the Tahune area is expected to produce extreme levels of smoke and ash.

"The weather forecast for Friday is hot with high wind gusts, so the camping ground and day area walks at Mt Field will be closed all day Friday,” Mr Black said.

Windy conditions pose additional risks of tree falls and will trigger closure of the Russell Falls circuit. The Alpine area at Mt Field is already closed so these worsening conditions make the park unsafe".

"There will also be a full site closure of the Hastings Cave and Thermal Pool, taking effect from Friday."

"PWS will be working with campers and tourism operators to support the additional closures now planned for the Friday".

"We believe closing these sites is the most prudent course of action to ensure visitors are not put in harm's way," Mr Black said.

The Mount Wellington Park Management Trust has also decided to close Wellington Park on Friday. The Trust has advised that the Pinnacle road will be closed from 10 pm on Thursday night.

The closures follow consultation with the South West Fire Response Incident Management Team and the Southern Regional Management Team.

Subject to weather and fire conditions, these parks will re-open on Saturday 26 January, 2019

Mr Black said all other PWS sites in the south east will remain open and will be monitored. "This includes Maria Island, the Tasman Peninsula, the Three Capes Track, and all sites on Bruny Island, and Cockle Creek", Mr Black said.

"Melaleuca and the South Coast Track will also be open and will be monitored."

Mr Black said 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 until the end of the long weekend (Tuesday 29 January 2019). Visitors are advised to check websites for information before travelling to these parks on Saturday.

Mr Black acknowledged the efforts of the PWS, the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS), volunteers and interstate firefighters involved in the fire-fighting effort.

"Life, property and environment are always the priority of the co-operative fire-fighting effort, and they are also continuing to undertake a major effort to protect the public, infrastructure, and the natural and cultural heritage values of the Stat''s reserves in fire-fighting operations in several areas across the State,' he said

The instructions from the Tasmania Fire Service are that on days of a Total Fire Ban, all outdoor fires are banned except electric stoves and barbeques, and gas barbecues provided they are cleared of flammable material for at least one metre. Other barbecues and portable stoves including those that use wood, charcoal or other solid or liquid fuel (trangias etc.) are banned.

Our priority is community and visitor safety," Mr Black said. "In the current dry conditions, campfires can easily escape, spread rapidly, are difficult to control and threaten people in campgrounds and nearby communities."

A full list of track, road and area closures (including campgrounds) is available at www.parks.tas.gov.au/closures.