January 02, 2019 15:15:05
A fire in Tasmania’s south-west wilderness has burned through more than 2,000 hectares and forced the evacuation of bushwalkers in the area, as the state is warned to brace for a scorcher on Friday.
- Vale of Rasselas Track
- Walking track to Lake Rhona
- Squirrel Creek to Lake Curly
- The Spires
- The Denison Traverse
- The Sawback Track
The bushfire, which is burning at Gell River, approximately 6 kilometres north-west of Lake Rhona, began early Friday afternoon.
Tasmania Fire Service personnel, supported by waterbombing aircraft, are working to contain the fire.
Leah Soo and two friends were camped at Lake Rhona on Friday and saw the fire on their way to a nearby peak.
“It seemed a distance away but as we were hiking back with the strong winds it blew the smoke over to Lake Rhona,” she said.
“At one side it was just all smoke and one side was clear sky.”
Ms Soo said the party “didn’t really think it would travel as fast”.
“But as we were hiking back we saw the helicopter land on the beach where our campsite was.”
Ms Soo said other campers at the lake told her they needed to leave because of the fire.
“We came back and people said, ‘We’ve got to evacuate’.”
About 10 campers were airlifted out by helicopter, Ms Soo said.
The Tasmanian Fire Service has advised people not to commence bushwalks in the area or drive on the vehicle tracks.
Smoke alert ahead of scorcher
The TFS cautioned that there may be smoke and ash from the fire visible around the greater Hobart area.
“People with medical conditions are advised to have a personal plan for avoiding smoke from the burn,” the TFS said in a statement.
“People traveling in the area should exercise caution if driving in smoke. Turn on your headlights and drive slowly.”
The TFS said there was no threat to communities at this stage.
“If you live in the area of the fire, stay informed in case conditions change by monitoring local radio stations and the Tasmania Fire Service website.”
The smoke alert comes as parts of the state are warned temperatures nudging 40 degrees Celsius on Friday.
“The Upper Derwent Valley and the south-east of Tasmania are facing severe fire danger conditions on Friday, with the possibility of parts of the south-east being upgraded to extreme tomorrow,” the TFS said.
“Most districts of the state will be rated at very high fire danger levels as temperatures rise into the mid-30s for areas of the east and south-east of the state, including Hobart which is forecast to reach 35C.
The state maximum expected is 39C around Campania, north of Hobart.
Bruny fire deliberately lit
Meanwhile, fire investigators now say the Christmas Day blaze on Bruny Island was deliberately lit.
The fire at the popular holiday destination in southern Tasmania forced the evacuation of 150 people.
One home was destroyed and damage to property was estimated to be more than $300,000.
Aircraft flying in the area as part of the fire-fighting effort had to be grounded because of a drone in the air, operated from a nearby sports oval.
January 02, 2019 13:52:03