22 Nov 2019
Newnes State Forest near Lithgow is closed to the public until further notice due to the risk posed by the Gospers Mountain fire in the adjoining Wollemi National Park.
Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Regional Manager Jason Molkentin asked the community to cancel all plans to visit Newnes State Forest and stay out of the forest until further notice.
“There is a large dangerous fire in the adjoining national park, the landscape is incredibly dry and we expect the high fire danger to continue for the foreseeable future,” Mr Molkentin said.
“The fire in the adjoining national park continues to grow and conditions could change quickly. In addition, when it’s this dry, even a small spark from an exhaust pipe can start a fire, so we also want to minimise the chance of anyone inadvertently starting a new fire in the forest.
“In the current conditions, we are seeing erratic fire behaviour and unpredictable rates of spread. This is a large forest, we have no way of knowing who is in there, parts of the forest have limited mobile phone reception and it would be extremely challenging to evacuate.
“We would be extremely concerned about people’s welfare in the event of a fire and cannot take the risk of having people in Newnes State Forest at all until we have substantial rain.
“Newnes State Forest is popular with four wheel drivers and trail bikers, including many who travel from throughout the Central West region, as well as Sydney the ACT and beyond.
“If you had plans to travel to Newnes in the coming weeks, please reschedule, as the forest will be closed until further notice. Closure signs will be placed at the major entrances near the Zig Zag Railway and along State Mine Gully Road.
“We appreciate the inconvenience, but it is proving to be an extremely dangerous and destructive fire season and we need to take extra precautions to manage the fire risk and ensure people’s safety.”
A large number of other State forests remain closed until further notice, and Forestry Corporation is continuing to close forests periodically in line with shifting fire conditions.
Information about closures is available on the Forestry Corporation website or facebook page.
Anyone planning to visit a State forest should check current fire danger and fire bans via the Rural Fire Service website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au In an emergency, call 000.
Media contact: 0294074265