Erskine Falls to close in extreme fire weather
Thursday 1 November, 2018
Parks Victoria will close Erskine Falls, near Lorne, on days of extreme fire weather to protect the safety of visitors at the popular site.
The waterfall’s visitor area will be closed when an Extreme or Code Red Fire Danger Rating is forecast for the Central fire district. An Extreme rating means extremely hot and dry weather with strong winds.
Parks Victoria will re-open the visitor area to the public the following day.
Entry to the popular Erskine Falls visitor area car park is via a steep access road through a densely forested part of the Great Otway National Park. The lower viewing area at the base of the waterfall can only be reached by a walking down a long series of steps.
Emergency services have identified Erskine Falls as a very high bush fire risk area, due to the heavily forested area, difficult access and location of the Falls.
If extreme weather prompts a closure, Parks Victoria will close the access road leading into the visitor area, place Variable Message Board signs at key locations nearby, alert local media, and inform the Lorne Visitor Information Centre.
Visitors are encouraged to check the Central District Fire Danger Rating before their visit by going to emergency.vic.gov.au.
To receive real-time emergency warnings and alerts, visitors should download the VicEmergency app to their smartphone.
Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria, Area Chief Ranger Surf Coast, Michelle Anstee:
“Erskine Falls is a very popular visitor location along the Great Ocean Road. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Otways and is a truly spectacular sight after heavy rain.
Despite the site’s popularity, we need to close the site on days of extreme fire weather as our first priority is the safety of our visitors and staff. Access to the visitor carpark is on a single access road through dense forest. The waterfall viewing area at the base of the falls can only be reached a set of steep stairs.
There is also limited phone reception at the site, meaning it would be difficult for the public to call emergency services for help during an incident.
Closures will be kept to a minimum as days of Extreme or Code Red fire danger do not occur frequently in the Lorne area. We urge the public to keep themselves - and emergency services personnel – safe by staying out of closed areas of parks.
On days rated Extreme or Code Red, visitors are advised to stay away from forested areas and head to towns along the Great Ocean Road to visit a café, swim at patrolled beaches or enjoy retail shopping.”