Difficult to control bush fires are still raging across Tasmania with several communities at risk from falling embers and thick smoke.
What had started as several small fires have over the course of several weeks been pushed forward by strong winds, adding to the challenges faced by firefighter teams.
The state’s first ever four day total fire ban has been issued today, as currently more than fifty fires burn across the state and authorities are attempting to cut down any additional risks.
TFS chief officer, Gavin Freeman, today urged people to practice caution and good sense.
“We know it’s a long weekend and we know there will be people camping, but just gas fired cookers, they’re ok as long as the area around them is cleared, but no open fires please,” he said.
While many are being maintained and monitored across remote parts of the state, twelve are currently (at time of posting) burning close to communities and are at the “advice” alert level. No immediate threat is faced by these communities but they are advised to practice caution and remain ready for more news.
Two larger blazes however have recently been upgraded to the “watch and act” alert level, with firefighters issuing several advisements to residents in and around the areas of Nunamara on the Tasman Highway, with the between Bourkes Road and Binghams Road most affected.
All residents are advised to:
-Be on the lookout for falling embers, being scattered by strong winds.
-Be mindful of the danger of thick smoke.
-Take action to ensure your house and family are safe.
-If the premises is too unprepared, be prepared to leave, quickly.
-If you have a bushfire survival plan, use it now.
Firefighters have also issued a warning to anyone who doesn’t live in or near the Nunamara area to stay away and if travelling, find an alternate route.
A “watch and act” alert is also in affect for the Mawbanna area, with the blaze located next to Pipeline road.
The warnings issued to residents near this area include the same warnings as above but also include:
-Keep up to date on details of the situation by listening to ABC local radio or visiting www.fire.tas.gov.au for updated alerts.
-Residents are also advised to report any fire activity they believe fire services are not currently be aware of, specifically fresh sparks/embers.
-Drivers in the region are also advised to drive with their headlights on no matter the time of day, when driving through smoke, to avoid accident.
Across the state, the effects of the numerous ongoing blazes are being felt in a very real way with a blanket of thick white smoke covering much of the state, moving across towns and even reaching the cities. Visibility ranges from hazy to very obscuring with many drivers across the state using their headlights to avoid risk of accident.
While temperatures have dropped slightly across the state this week, lack of significant rainfall and strong winds have meant that Tasmanian fire crews have been stretched thin, maintaining such a large number of blazes.
With more than forty two thousand hectares burnt in the past ten days, the decision was made to call in reinforcements from interstate, to alleviate some of the stress on Tasmanian fire crews and help regain control. More than one hundred remote area fire fighters are being flown in from New South Wales and will be joined by more than thirty support personnel.
Emergency Management Minister Rene Hidding said that this reinforcement boost combined with expected cooler weather approaching next week is a welcome wave of good news.
“With interstate back-up to arrive tomorrow and more favourable weather conditions forecast, I am advised that substantial progress can be made by early to mid next week,” he said.
For any details or queries about the current fire situation near you,
please visit www.fire.tas.gov.au