The Grampians, (Gariwerd) is a series of rugged sandstone mountain ranges and forests rich in wildlife. One of Victoria’s most popular holiday destinations, its the destination of day trippers and campers, who come for the rock climbing, scenic drives, bushwalks and nature. The little, and very busy yet laid back, town of Halls Gap is at the heart of Grampians. It’s popularity is evident by the large number of accomodation options from backpackers to luxurious resorts and its many dining options.
On 15 January 2014, a bushfire which was sparked by a lightning strike started in the Grampians National Park. It was one of 68 fires burning across Victoria during this time.
The fire coincided with a heatwave across Victoria with temperatures reaching over 40 C in the Grampians region from 15 – 20 January. The fire eventually burnt 52,000 hectares including bushland and farms and was declared contained on 21 January 2014. Many residents from Dadswell’s Gap, Wartook, Brimpean, St Helen’s Plain, Roses Gap Pomonal, Bellfield, Lake Fyans, Lake Lonsdale, Heatherlie and Ledcourt were affected by the fires. Halls Gap was threatened by the fire front and ember attack and most of the town evacuated. Relief centres were set up in Horsham, Stawell and Ararat for the hundreds of people who were evacuated from their homes. Farmers lost large numbers of sheep that were either killed by the fire or later culled. At least 7000 sheep in total were lost.
A 12 km wide pyro cumulus cloud column of smoke and fire was created by the fire, generating its own weather pattern including lightning and thunder. This cloud gathered burning embers into the sky, which then scattered for many kilometres beyond the fire front, potentially starting new fires …………………………… Australian Emergency Management
We visited in January 2015 amd stayed in a fabulous little house near town, (Serra Halls Gap) that backs onto the National Park. If you are looking for accom at Halls Gap I highly recommend it for comfort and facilities. From the time we arrived, until we left three days later, we had a constant stream of visitors. Kangaroos, Cockatoos, Finches, Emus, Crimson Rosella’s……… Exploring the countryside we found a lot of the lookouts had been rebuilt. Gone were the old wooden railings lost in the fires and in there place was lovely new stainless steel railings at Boroke Lookout. The lookouts at McKenzie Falls have been rebuilt as well, along with new amenities blocks. The kiosk that stood there is gone, with just the chimney remaining.