Tasmania bushfires: Hundreds of firefighters battle blazes as residents told to evacuate

‘The safest thing you can do is leave before the fire arrives’

Zamira Rahim
Sunday 27 January 2019 20:33
Firefighters continue to battle a number of blazes across Tasmania
Firefighters continue to battle a number of blazes across Tasmania

Emergency services in Tasmania are battling 72 separate bushfires and have urged residents living near five particularly dangerous sites to evacuate their homes.

“Over 1,000 kilometres of uncontained fire edge remains burning across the state,” said Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) Chief Officer, Chris Arnol.

“With more challenging fire behaviour predicted towards the middle of this week, and another 5-6 weeks to go this bushfire season, it’s not the time to become complacent.”

370 firefighters and 31 aircraft have been deployed to battle the bushfires and the situation is expected to worsen early next week.

Austalia’s Bureau of Meteorology has raised the fire danger level to “very high” in seven Tasmanian districts for Tuesday’s forecast.

Temperatures continue to hover around 30C and windy conditions are likely.

The TFS asked residents near the five fires at Emergency Warning level, the hightest bushfire rating, to leave the area.

“People situated near an Emergency Warning level bushfire should leave now,” Mr Arnol said.

“Burning embers will arrive ahead of the main fire, and smoke and ash will make it difficult to see and breathe – the safest thing you can do is leave before the fire arrives.”

The Great Pine Tier bushfire, the largest blaze, is burning across 36,000 hectacres.

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A total fire ban has been put in place across the state, meaning Tasmanian residents are prohibited from using barbecues, outdoor fires and portable stoves.

On Saturday the TFS said in a statement the fires had, over the past month, burned through 99,000 hectares of land, with the blazes spreading “in remote and challenging terrain”.

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