Easter patrols planned

AUTHORISED officers from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will be working with Victoria Police, the Game Management Authority and Parks Victoria staff to patrol public land in Gippsland over the Easter weekend.

DELWP regional compliance co-ordinator Peter Simpson said while most visitors to public land did the right thing, activities undertaken by some had resulted in negative environmental impacts, damage to recreation sites, facilities and infrastructure, and impacts on other forest users.

“We will be conducting joint patrols with our partner agencies to target campfire safety, off-road driving offences, littering and vandalism,” he said.

“In the past we’ve found a number of children riding motor bikes, adults riding unregistered motor bikes and off-road and hooning offences. We’ve also found people illegally felling trees in camp sites and State forest areas and campfires left unattended.”

“We want to make sure everyone enjoys our natural environment at its best and on their best behaviour, to ensure safety for all and care and responsibility for the environment.”

“We’ll be handing out educational material on campfire safety and responsible trail bike riding and we will not tolerate activities such as rubbish dumping, felling trees for firewood, using illegal or noisy motorbikes, driving vehicles off-road and unattended or illegal campfires.”

“We will be on the lookout for any bad behaviour and urge all forest users to watch out for suspicious or illegal activity and report it on 136186 or to your nearest DELWP/Parks Victoria office or to local police.”

Mr Simpson said DELWP and Parks Victoria crews were conducting an extensive planned burning program across the region as weather conditions permitted.

“When burns are being conducted, firefighter and public safety is the highest priority.

“Public safety zones are put in place around planned burn sites in state forests and if necessary, depending on the location of the burn, local roads and tracks in the vicinity may be closed and signs placed on roads and tracks advising of the closures,” Mr Simpson said.

“We urge everyone to be aware of burns happening in their local area and stay clear of areas where burns are taking place or areas that have recently been burned, for their own and for our firefighters’ safety.”