Emergency services and City of Mount Gambier are urging the community to stay away from the Crater Lakes precinct following a fire that burned 50 hectares of grass and scrub last week. The call comes as people have been spotted walking in the area despite the ongoing danger to public safety.
The Crater Lakes is closed this week, including the Valley Lakes, Centenary Tower, the back section of Carinya Gardens Cemetery, Potters Point, Marist Park, Leg of Mutton and all associated Crater Lakes walking trails while the area is under damage and risk assessment.
“Hot spots, smouldering ground vegetation, burning trees and falling trees still pose a significant risk to the public and we need to assess the area and make sure it is safe before we can open areas up for public use once again,” City of Mount Gambier CEO Sarah Philpott said.
“While the Valley Lake, Leg of Mutton and Marist Park were largely unaffected by the fire, these areas must remain closed in the first instance as they are interconnected to walking/bike trails that were damaged by the fire.”
Council is concerned that some members of the public are not heeding the safety warnings and signage to stay away from the Crater Lakes precinct.
“Council has erected bunting in the area and it has already been cut by people continuing to access the site. Our signs warning people to keep out have also been damaged. On Saturday people were seen walking along the fire affected area at the back of the Carinya Gardens Cemetery and a tree fell in front of them.”
“This behaviour is very dangerous and we stress that sections of the Crater Lakes area are not safe and people need to keep away from the site until we can assess the damage and risk. This process is underway,” Ms Philpott said.
City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin reiterated the need for people to keep away from the area at this point in time.
“We understand that people are keen to resume their walks in the beautiful Crater Lakes precinct but it’s just not worth the risk to your personal safety,” Mayor Martin said.
We were fortunate to escape this fire with no loss of life or property and we don’t want anyone to be injured by burning and falling trees and tree limbs. This is a real risk, so please stay away from the area. - Mayor Martin
Council continues to work with SAPOL and emergency services to ensure the safety of the site and the community with an increased presence in the area over the coming days.
“Emergency services will continue to monitor and control the Crater Lakes area. Please be aware that it is still too unsafe for the public to enter this area,” MFS Station Officer Adrian Puust said.
Once the first stage of the damage and risk assessment is complete Council will gradually release safe zones in the Crater Lakes area for public use once again.
Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 8721 2401 or firstname.lastname@example.org