Bushfire risk closes Watagans National Park

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has closed the Watagans National Park to keep the public safe from bushfires.


The closure will give NPWS staff time and a safe space to undertake fire suppression activities such as back-burning, if required.

Despite a small reprieve with yesterday’s rain and the coming cooler weather, today’s fire danger rating will reach Extreme levels in some parts of the Hunter and Central Coast.

NPWS put a fire ban in place throughout the Watagans National Park across the October long weekend due to the elevated fire risk, with a total fire ban declared on Sunday 1 October.

On Sunday evening a fire was reported at Monkey Face in the Watagans National Park and has been named the Gap Creek fire. Investigators are looking into its cause and it may be linked to a campfire. Crews have been actively fighting this fire with aircraft and Remote Aerial Firefighting Team crews from both the Rural Fire Service and NPWS, as well as fire tankers. The fire is around 83 hectares in size and not yet contained.

A second fire was reported on the morning of Tuesday 3 October after starting in Congewai Valley and crossing into Watagans National Park. This is also suspected to be from a campfire and is under investigation. Known as the Click Creek fire, RFS and NPWS fire crews have been actively fighting it with aircraft and fire tankers. Heavy plant machines are currently maintaining existing containment lines and fall-back options. This fire is currently 211 hectares and not yet contained.

NPWS and other fire authorities implore the community to heed total fire bans and other restrictions to help keep all of us safe. Authorities are busy enough in the current conditions without thoughtlessly lit fires causing more issues.

Depending on weather, fire operations are expected to continue for a further week or more. After a risk assessment of smouldering grounds and weakened trees has been conducted, the park will reopen.