Fire two attacks

POLICE are investigating vandal attacks to two of the 21 fire towers across the Gippsland region.

The Mount Useful fire tower west of Licola and the Mt Tanjil fire tower in the Tanjil State Forest north of Moe have been damaged.

DSE staff carrying out routine inspections discovered the damage.

DSE Heyfield district manager, Graeme Taylor, said at the Mt Useful tower doors and locks had been forced open, graffiti sprayed around the fire tower cabin, shutters broken, chain link fencing cut and the ladder to the tower had been damaged.

The Mt Tanjil fire tower’s windows had been damaged by gun shots.

Mr Taylor said the towers were a critical first line of defence in monitoring for fire activity in forests and parks.

“It’s unbelievable that anyone would actively damage a structure that is vital for the early detection of bushfires and the protection of our communities,” he said.

“Our fire towers and fire tower operators are our eyes and ears in the summer months and provide a dedicated and critical service to help prevent the spread of bushfires.”

He said the vandalism would result in unnecessary costs and extra work for staff as they undertook the planned burning program.

Anyone with information is being urged to phone police or the DSE Heyfield office.

Forest and parks users are also being urged to watch out for suspicious activity and report it to the police or the DSE.

People can phone information to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the DSE customer service centre on 136 186.