[Update Friday September 19] NPWS advises that all roads to and through the Minyon Falls area will be open from tomorrow however the Minyon Loop walking track will remain closed. Some fire is still active in the area.
[Original report, September 18] The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) believes the fire that burnt out 150 hectares of pristine Nightcap National Park on the weekend, and closed the popular Minyon Falls lookout and walking tracks, was set by firebugs.
NPWS officer Lisa Wellman told Echonetdaily that police are investigating the matter and treating it as arson.
‘Some walkers reported some people in the vicinity at the time that they thought were acting in a suspicious manner and reported it to police,’ she said.
Police have yet to respond to Echonetdaily’s questions regarding the investigation however.
As late as Tuesday evening, whisps of smoke were still hanging over the scorched valley beyond the locked gates at the park’s entrance.
With the fire now extinguished, Ms Wellman says NPWS staff are in ‘mop up’ mode.
She added the Minyon Falls area will be closed until at least Friday and possibly all weekend.
‘We need to determine the full trail affected by the fire is safe to walk on, that there’s no chance of re-ignition, and then [to be able to] ensure public safety once it is reopened,’ Ms Wellman said.
‘We hope not to inconvenience people for too long but we want to reassure people that their safety is paramount,’ she added.
‘Down in among the walking track we are still conducting operations that are “active”, such as breaking open smouldering logs to fully extinguish them.
‘Unburnt trees that may have fallen may also be a point of re-ignition. Staff are still out there, we’re mapping the fire ground today.’
Ms Wellman said NPWS hopes to at least open the main road by the weekend so people can visit Minyon Grass lookout and the top of the falls but added they may still not be able to access the trails for a few days yet.