4wd Tracks in Murrindindi post fires.

Submitted: Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 08:10
ThreadID: 66024 Views:9593 Replies:12 FollowUps:9
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Well we aren't quite "post" the fires just yet - at 5:50am this morning several lines of fire are still visible from our property.
They are south of Eildon on tracks above the old Rubicon power station area.
Co-incidently near Morris lookout right on the track adopted by our Alexandra 4wd club.
Murrindindi shire holds many of the prime 4wding areas northeast of Melbourne from Kinglake past Toolangi and over the Black range to Buxton and on to the Catherdral ranges and Marysville.
Saturday the main Melba highway opened and we drove it north from Yarra Glen to our property in Yarck to investigate
how some of our favourite 4wd and camping areas faired.

Essentially the forest area is burnt out but its appears not to have been burnt with the intensity of the firestorm that destroyed nearby Kinglake and other towns.
4wding and camping is still possible today if you don't mind smoke-smell and there are some bright points.

We thought it wise to stay away from the burnt out towns and just check out the forests.
There was almost no traffic on the roads as we went thru and none at all in the bush.

From South to North along the Melba highway ->

The fire has burnt some areas from south of Yarra Glen, right thru to the Yea river north of Glenburn and appeared particularly intense in the forest drive up to Mt Slide north of Dixons creek.
The intensity seemed to level off by about where Marginal road starts (Marginal Rd not closed).

As a guide most of the houses along the Melba highway were scarred but survived.
A typical fight was fought by the owner of Dixon creek kennels where we board our dog.
The aging owner held off the fire with hoses although the whole north wall of their brick house is blackened but he saved around 90% of his kennels.

Just past the Kinglake turn off at Mt Slide is a burnt out pipeline excavator.

Glenburn hotel - a favourite haunt for 4wders and its fully burnt out (photo).
Glenburn Roadhouse - is ok and started serving petrol sunday, but the food side of business is still closed.
We are still anixous about the girls that served food and the best of cappicino's there.
We meet someone there who got out of Kinglake during the fires but had his car breakdown at the roadhouse, he left it parked right next to the big gas tank expecting to never see it again but the fires stopped just short of the roadhouse and he was a bit dissapointed that his wreck of a car wasn't burnt out.

We entered the burnt out forest via Two Hills road and there was no fire damage until you actually enter the state forest at Pines track.
Pines track is no longer a tricky little bog holed track that you could always count on to catch someone out, its been bulldozed into a wide firebreak, and this stopped the fire before it broke out into adjacent private property.
Near there is the Kalatha Creek group of tracks bounded by Marginal Rd and the powerlines, its all burnt but the fire wasn't that intense.
There are many unoffical camp sites in this area and I noted that where ever they were their appeared to be less fire damage.
No doubt because campers used much of the readily acessible wood for campfires and areas are relatively clear.
We stopped for a coffee at the edge of Luke creek and many of the trees their still had unburnt bark and even some of the ferns along the creek still had the occasional green fond (Photo).
In this area ash was not covering the ground and generally they was no more debris on the tracks than after a typical big wind.
This area will recover well, indeed its a popular bike area and with all the undergrowth gone it probably safter to ride there now as you can see other bikes coming around previously blind corners.
The fire more or less stopped south of the Yea river in this area and in an unexpected twist, the controversial new water pipeline that is under construction which require a 30m cleared area right along the Melba highway has obviously acted as a very effective firebreak in some places.
Further north we drove thru the Cheviot railway tunnel which is a great refuge from the fires.
The tunnel area is unburnt and there is no more fire damage until east of Molesworth near Scrubby creek road.
(Scrubby creek road was open).

Much rushed work has been done throughout the shire, as an example just up the road from our place is a communications tower in amongst the trees. Its always been low priority but now its got a massive and very rushed firebreak bulldozed around it(Photo).
Often I have read comments on the subject of 4wdrives damaging the bush, but that damage is invisible compared to what
a fire and a rushed response by teams of bulldozers has done to this forest in a few short days.
As we passed through Yea the ABC "Australia all Over" program was being broadcast".
I was very tempted to say a few words along the lines of a previous post but the glare from my wife out-shone the fires and we kept on driving.

Photos in Member Page
1/ Comms tower Instant firebreak
2/ Luke Creek Camp area
3/ Burnt Glenburn Pub.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 08:32

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 08:32
Thanks Robin
That's a very comprehensive picture of an area I used to know well.
Now living in Adelaide and haven't seen the following mentioned in reports. What is the condition of the classic mountain ash scenery on the Maroondah Highway up the Black Spur? I had intended spending some time there photographing that area this year.
AnswerID: 349330

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 08:49

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 08:49
Can't give accurate current information Mfewster.

When my friend went back there to see his burnt house it was partly ok , however the fires came back again late last week.

The link below leads to area based fire maps - there it shows the area south of Narbethong as ok but I now think that is only over the divide.


I have seen better maps , but not sure if available to public as a link just yet.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 15:14

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 15:14
Thanks Robin.
The bit I was looking for may still be OK, well so far anyway.
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Follow Up By: 93 Navara - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 22:47

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 22:47

The spur is still closed, fire is still going in there and has burnt out to approx 2 kilometres on the western side of the Dom Dom saddle. Will be closed for at least another 5 days as once out a heap of trees will have to be felled due to the age of the timber in there.

Whilst an accurate write up Robin, must implore people to leave the area well enough alone, at least for another week or two before going for a look. The Melba is carrying a heap of traffic as its the only way for the Maroondah Hwy traffic at present. Plenty of blacking out work still to be done in the area.

The Acheron is still burning, and has fire to the east in the O'Shannassy catchment and obviously to the west in Maroondah catchment.

There is also unchecked fire still to the west of Stockmans Reward in the Big River area.

Far from over but hopefully the southerly winds keep the Acheron and Maroondah fires away from Mt Donna Buang and Warburton area.

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Reply By: OzTroopy - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 08:47

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 08:47
Excellent write up Robin Miller.

Thanks for the first factual - non dramatised/sensatioanlised account of the landscape and damage I have come across.

Hope things get back to normal ( as much as possible ) down there, in the shortest possible time.
AnswerID: 349332

Follow Up By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 09:17

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 09:17
Good info Robin - didn't know about the Glenburn Pub - hope the garage people are ok - best coffee in the area, and plenty of parking. Keep safe driving out there - my friend lives in Yea half of the time, and down in Chelsea Heights the rest of the time - she reckons it is midn blowing - they have loaned their house out to a family (they have two houses up there) for the interim - and is doing all she can to help, including cleaning out gutters for old people in the town, just in case.
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Reply By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 13:06

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 13:06
Hiya Robin

I think its amazing that the tv crews never mentioned the Glenburn Pub,Does that mean you'll get an influx of bikers at Yark...

One thing i did notice and i did superimpose the CFA map of the bushfires over my Magellan Map of the areas, is that the fires East of Marysville are heading towards the Enoch Point Area...There are a bunch of houses in there believe it or not...Mostly timber from memory..

I went away with Twinkles awhile ago and you suggested Cheviot Tunnel etc etc and we went inland to where there is a big waterfall area and at the bottom there is a metal walk way...You can camp around the area too...Wasnt that far from Cheviot i thought...Do you know what it was called and if that area is burnt out Robin...

AnswerID: 349355

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 13:36

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 13:36
Hi Warfer

You might mean the Murrindindi Scenic reserve area - toilets, suspension bridge over river and walk to falls about 15km south of cheviot , it was inside fire zone - but didn't drive there this weekend.

The bikers might have a problem actually as hospitallity places are in short supply right now , they will probably stop at Yarra Glen now.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Best Off Road - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 13:49

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 13:49

That shot of the Glenburn Pub is extraordinary. The grass in the foreground seems untouched as do the trees around it. The Pub seems to be surrounded by relatively clear ground.

The Pub itself doesn't look terribly charred, but destroyed none the less. It almost looks like it melted, crumbled and buckled under radiant heat rather than burning to the ground as such.



AnswerID: 349359

Reply By: Robnicko - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 16:38

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 16:38
Great update!
Do you know if the Murrindindi Scenic Reserve area is still there? As the Mill was affected it does not sound good.

Many Sundays have been spent up there by our family. The kids were happy to hear the roadhouse is ok as they always demand hot chips from there on the way home.

AnswerID: 349375

Reply By: cobber - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 16:47

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 16:47
Have a look at this link.........http://www.theage.com.au/national/islam-group-urges-forest-fire-jihad-20080906-4b53.html?page=-1..
AnswerID: 349376

Reply By: Brian (Montrose, Vic.) - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 19:34

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 19:34
Thanks Robin, I was getting worried that I would have nowhere nearby to go camping / 4wding and would be stuck doing all those renovtion type jobs she has lined up for me, truly you are a great man!
AnswerID: 349393

Reply By: Member - Paul Mac (VIC) - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 19:37

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 19:37
Hi folks,

Thanks for the report Robin.

I have a friend who lives in Healesville who said that Murrindindi Scenic Reserve was hit. I'm not sure about the infrastructure (toilets, bridge and day shelters) but I would imagine if the fire went through the Reserve it would have taken most of that with it.
DSE had done quite a lot of work up there late last year clearing and levelling Blackwood camp and replanting.

Such a loss :-(

AnswerID: 349395

Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 21:55

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 21:55
Although much of the bush appears only lightly burnt in places I'd suggest Parks & DSE will need to close at least 90% of it off for some time until they clear the track network & camps of dangerous over hanging trees seriously undermined by the fires. Also dead animals in the creeks & rivers along with the inevitable flood damage that will occur with the 1st decent rain will cause other hazards. In the Jamieson area this took over a year to stabilize before full access was reopened. Melbourne drivers may need to look further afield for their trips in the foreseeable future.
Now may also be a good time to remind people that fires are still active in the area & in general very few roads or tracks are safe for travel with alot of heavy machinery & trucks about in the smoke.
Cheers Craig.............
AnswerID: 349413

Reply By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 13:45

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 13:45
Hiya Robin

Dont know why i did not look at GPS before but you were spot on..
Such a lovely area too

Image Could Not Be Found

AnswerID: 349474

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 15:12

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 15:12
You just love playing with them maps Warfer
Robin Miller

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FollowupID: 617766

Follow Up By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 17:39

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 17:39

The straight line indicates a brain fade from when we stopped (and i turned off gps) until i realised to turn the GPS back on @ winch rd..

FollowupID: 617783

Reply By: AdrianLR (VIC) - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 16:38

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 16:38
Thanks for the update Robin. Many places that are (were?) familiar. This is a CFA/DSE map from this morning:

Image Could Not Be Found

AnswerID: 349503

Follow Up By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 17:30

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 17:30
What someone outdoing me in the map department, we cant hav that caper can we ! lmao

FollowupID: 617781

Follow Up By: AdrianLR (VIC) - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 22:14

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 at 22:14
Took the full resources of the the CFA and DSE though!!!

All the best


FollowupID: 617845

Reply By: HGMonaro - Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 at 12:05

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 at 12:05
In a few weeks, I'm needing to drive from Mansfield to Morwell and was intending to go something like Mansfield->Jamieson->Aberfeldy->Walhalla->Morwell or maybe via Licola. Looking at the Vicroads website for current road closures it hard to know if these routes are affected. Anyone know if I can drive those ways?

regards, Nige
AnswerID: 349628

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