GRAMPIANS emergency services say protecting public safety takes priority over potential economic impact when it comes to bushfire risks.
With much of the fire danger period still to come, Forest Fire Management Victoria, Parks Victoria and the Country Fire Authority have been working to manage the risk to lives and property in the Grampians.
Country Fire Authority District 16 commander Adam Baker said while the Grampians had been fortunate so far, the influx of visitors over the Australia Day long weekend could bring hazards.
"It's great that we will probably see more visitors than we normally would with people rebooking their holiday from other parts of the state," he said.
"But Australia Day is the biggest weekend for illegal fireworks. It is a worry for the area because it can create issues by sparking new fires."
Mr Baker encouraged people to bring their family and friends but leave the fireworks at home.
"We also want to remind people to manage their barbecues responsibly and make sure any fires are properly extinguished before leaving," he said.
"In the first instance a fire should be supervised by an adult and also be a manageable size, not more than a metre in diameter. Fires should not be left burning overnight and should be put out by applying water, then breaking the elements up and then applying more water until it is cool to touch."
Mr Baker said it was important that visitors to the Grampians had downloaded the VicEmergency app to monitor conditions and receive an warnings.
Forest Fire Management Victoria' Grampians Deputy Chief Fire Officer Tony Englishsaid the authority was reducing the risk of large-scale bushfires to residential areas and significant sites in the Wimmera through their planned burning program.
"Our number one priority is to protect life and property and that is what we will continue to do," he said.
"In the coming months, FFMVic's Wimmera focus will be across the Grampians National Park, near to Ararat and within the Rocklands Reservoir and a significant mechanical works program is also ear-marked for around Moyston and along hundreds of kilometres of tracks within the National Park."
The Parks Victoria policy for extreme fire danger days is for rangers to advise visitors to the Grampians National Park that the park is not closed, but that due to potential danger they should reconsider their plans and stay away from the park, visiting surrounding towns.
This response has been discussed with and supported by Grampians Tourism.
Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger Rhonda McNeil said days of extreme heat presented a real risk to public health and safety, which is why warnings to leave the park, such as in late December, were issued.
"The safety of the public and emergency services personnel is paramount," she said.
"The heat and fire conditions in late December were extreme and potentially very dangerous in a terrain such as the Grampians.
"Heatwaves and hot weather kill more people in Australia than any other natural disaster. While the national park was not closed, the advice given to avoid the area on extreme fire danger days was prudent and correct."
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.