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Southwest campground and tracks reopen

28/03/2007

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has reopened the Huon campground and all walking tracks within Southwest National Park.

The campground and several tracks were closed as a result of several wildfires in the park, which were started by lightning in February.

PWS general manager Peter Mooney said the fires were now contained and no longer posed a direct threat to walkers and campers.

"We have inspected the campground and tracks, removing fallen trees and damaged duckboards which presented known safety issues," said Mr Mooney.

Mr Mooney stressed while the fires were contained not extinguished, those using the park should be vigilant.

"The fires are presently contained and not expected to move significantly under forecast weather conditions.

However there is still a very low possibility the fires may expand if the weather becomes hot and windy," said Mr Mooney.

"Bush walkers need to keep an active lookout for any fire activity and move well away from the fire boundaries if there is an unexpected change."

Mr Mooney thanked the public for its patience and cooperation while the PWS dealt with the fires.

"While the decision to close tracks and the campsite was taken for the safety of the public, it naturally impacts on people's ability to enjoy the beautiful parks and reserves we have in Tasmania," said Mr Mooney.

Mr Mooney praised the work of PWS staff in managing the fires - which have burnt approximately 44,000 hectares.

He said the size and location of the fires posed particular challenges for the PWS in terms of managing the fires, ensuring the safety of bushwalkers and protecting the World Heritage listed flora and fauna in the park.

"It is always a complex challenge to manage remote fires in high value areas that are also used by the public - but the team behind this has met this challenge in a highly professional way," said Mr Mooney.

Further information about track and campgrounds in Southwest National Park is available by contacting any of the following Parks and Wildlife Service offices: Derwent Park 6233 6560, Huonville 6264 8460 or Mt Field 6288 1149 or visit the Parks and Wildlife Service website www.parks.tas.gov.au