Activated VK3/VS-025 Point 713/Sierra Range 17th February 2013.
APRS Yes. Dipole Yes. Seasonal activation N/A
Decided not to follow the track as overgrown. Walked further down and followed the ridge to the summit. It is still a big walk but not as harsh as travelling in the valleys. On way up noticed smoke in Victoria Range. hmm, then the CFA helicopters started to fly over.
There was haze in the range from the fires that were started from the thunder storms last week. They were in a contained state so safe to venture. Mt William access was closed due to the fires up there but no restrictions down here.
THis is a view of the haze as walking down the track. Half way up the hill there were noticable smoke plumes,
Increased air activity and chatter on the radio on police and CFA channels indicated this was gaining attention but I was not too concerned until the wind changed. Now its coming my way. Ok. Not fun any more. My initial plan was to activate Point 713 then go to Point 733 to be back on air when VK3ZPF and VK1DI were back on summits. It was hot so would have been happy to spend 2hrs waiting in the shade however my plans changed real quick. As had already activated VK3/VS-021 (Point 733/Sierra Range) on 18/Nov/2012 so an easy decision to get out of there. VK3AFW came up so time to get out. My car was on the edge of the clearing you can see in the photos. 3.6K to get back and the fire heading that way.
It was getting bigger as I came down the hill. received an alert from CFA on the way down recommending deploy fire plan. Already had.
By 17:00 it is was classified as a large, fast moving bushfire travelling in a south/south easterly direction approximately 400 hectares in size and out of control. This fire was expected to impact Mirranatwa 19:00 PM . I was in the car and gone by then.
The road to Mt William was closed so plan B was off the cards. Increased activity on the roads so out via Dunkeld.
At no point was my safety threatened. The planning process involved monitoring the fire situation and it was clear at the start of Sunday. There were no issues until the wind changed and the fire started heading my way. It is harsh bush and you don’t want to be coming down in a hurry. My car was between the summit and the fires path.
Will not be going back to Grampians until the heat and fires are cleared. Mt Cole State forest also has fires so may be time to work on some National Parks.
Update – 19/02/2013
The Grampians – Victoria Valley Complex fire has grown to 8881 hectares in size and remains out of control.
The fire is slow moving, and includes the fires formerly known as Clutterbucks Road, Jensens Road and Burnt Hut Track. It is currently impacting Mirranatwa in the Victoria Valley.
– Victoria Valley Road from Grampians Tourist Road, Mafeking
– Serra Road, near Grampians Tourist Road, Mafeking
– Harrop Track near Billywing Track, Grampians
– Bullawin Road, near Glenelg River Road and near Victoria Point Road, Victoria Point
– Syphon Road near Lodge Road, Glenisla
– Greens Creek Road, near Glenelg River Road, Grampia
Update – 22/02/2012
The Grampians bushfire has grown to about 32,500 hectares in size.
The large, slow-moving fire is still out of control.
The Victoria Valley, Victoria Range, Red Rock and Rocklands Reservoir areas are closed to visitors.