The Mt Pilot fire tower in the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park will be dismantled this week.

The tower, which was built in 1961, is believed to have replaced a wooden structure which was burnt after being struck by lightning.

“As part of the project to construct the new Mt Barambogie fire tower, the Mt Pilot structure will now be dismantled, removed from the site and recycled,” Forest Fire Management Victoria’s District Manager - Ovens, Jarrod Hayse, said.

“The works are expected to take five days to complete and are weather dependent,” Mr Hayse said.

“The Mt Pilot fire tower has played an important role in the early detection of fires across both public and private land in the Indigo and King valleys for more than 60 years.

“It played a pivotal role during major bushfires in the 2003 Woolshed Valley fire and the 2009 Beechworth fire.

“The fire tower was closed by Forest Fire Management Victoria in 2016 after ongoing issues associated with its lightning protection system.

“The new Mt Barambogie fire tower was operational this fire season and provides fire detection across a larger footprint including areas such as Barnawartha, West Wodonga, Beechworth, Chiltern, Springhurst, Rutherglen, Yarrawonga, Wangaratta, Eldorado, Glenrowan, Milawa, Moyhu, Peechelba, Bundalong and Wilby.

“Early detection is critical to responding to incidents and containing fires before they have the opportunity to spread and threaten communities and the environment.

“Forest Fire Management Victoria operates a network of 72 fire towers, located strategically around the state to ensure maximum coverage of Victoria’s parks and forests.

“This includes 16 towers in the Hume Region.”

The Summit Walking Track, which provides access to the Mt Pilot tower site, will be open during the works and will be maintained for visitors to the park.