UPDATE: FIRE access roads in Far East Gippsland have been locked by VicForests, an environment group has claimed.The Department of Sustainability confirmed they gave permission for the gates to be locked on the Mt Jersey road and on Thirty Six Mile road near Goongerah.
Environment East Gippsland Coordinator and member Goongerah Country Fire Authority branch Jill Redwood said roads in question were vital for fire access.
"These roads provide major access to the west for the local community – the most dangerous direction for fire threats," Ms Redwood said.
"(Fire) call outs to the western side of the valley are not uncommon (and) . . . the road (provides) access the Snowy National Park from the local campground."
EEG claimed VicForests were restricting access because they were logging a 30ha area nearby.
"But instead of putting gates on the logging roads they are stoping public using a huge area which is the main fire access (road,)" she said.
A DSE spokeswoman said the roads were blocked for public safety and said the CFA had been informed.
"They are at the boundary of the public safety zone area, to protect the public and VicForests operators," a DSE spokeswoman said.
"Local CFA brigade has been advised and have keys to access the gates in the event of fire.
"Signs are in place to advise that the tracks are not accessible to the public."
VicForests did not return calls.
The environment group have been at loggerheads with both government agencies over logging sensitive East Gippsland regions, predominantly in areas deemed nationally significant rainforests.
But EEG had a win today when VicForests agreed to protect nine of these significant rainforest sites in East Gippsland.
"The out of court settlement means that VicForests agreed to no logging at three forest areas," Ms Redwood said.
"And to modify their logging boundaries in another six Rainforests Sites of National Significance."