Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fire meeting tomorrow

MOLESWORTH residents are invited to a community meeting in New Norfolk tomorrow (Sunday) to be updated on the bushfire situation. The meeting will be held at 1pm at the Derwent Valley Sport and Recreation Centre in Derwent Terrace.

The meeting has been called by the Tasmania Fire Service and State Emergency Service, supported by the Derwent Valley Council.

Considerable firefighting still to be done

Firefighters continue to battle the bushfire burning in the Molesworth area. The fire is burning in largely inaccessible areas surrounded by mountainous and extremely difficult terrain. The Tasmania Fire Service says it is likely the fire will burn for up to another week before it can be contained.

“People living in bushfire prone areas, including those living on the city fringes of Glenorchy and Hobart, need to remain vigilant and be very much aware of what is going on around them”, TFS chief officer Mike Brown said today. “People need to be prepared to act quickly and all family members need to be familiar with their Bushfire Survival Plan and know exactly what they will do should a bushfire impact on their property. Land owners also need to prepare a plan on how they will move stock and animals including family pets if a bushfire threatens."

As a result of the ongoing fire situation, the TFS has welcomed and accepted offers of firefighting assistance from interstate authorities. This will give some firefighters and incident management teams the chance to have a break, as well as boosting firefighting numbers where needed. “Tasmanian firefighters have had a long record of providing assistance interstate and internationally over the years and our people's skills and capabilities are highly regarded," Mr Brown said.

"I have been contacted by many of my counterparts across the country. The following are confirmed interstate deployment numbers coming to Tasmania: six staging area staff from Victoria State Emergency Service; and 12 incident management support staff from New South Wales Rural Fire Service. The potential for further requests for assistance will be considered later this week” he said.

Smoke haze over southern and eastern Tasmania

There is currently significant smoke and haze around Hobart and surrounding suburbs. This smoke is originating from the bushfire at Molesworth and is being driven by high winds around Hobart. Smoke will also be experienced around Bicheno and surrounding areas as a result of the Fingal Valley fire burning in and around the Douglas Apsley National Park.

There is no need for residents in these areas to be alarmed. Significant smoke is likely to be visible in these for several days and the smoke will increase in the afternoon as fires become more active. No property is under direct threat at this stage.

On Mt Wellington, Pinnacle Rd is now closed from Bracken Lane due to heavy smoke. This is a precaution only and it is not envisaged that the fire will impact on this area in the foreseeable future.

Residents affected by the smoke should remain indoors, for further information on smoke and Asthma contact the Asthma Foundation on 1800 645 130 or www.asthmatas.org.au or contact your local doctor. If you have concerns about the health impacts of smoke, contact the Department of Health and Human Services on 1800 671 738 or www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/peh/alerts/air.

For information on the current bushfire situation visit the TFS website at www.fire.tas.gov.au or listen to ABC local radio. People suffering a life-threatening emergency in relation to respiratory distress should contact Ambulance Tasmania by dialling Triple Zero.

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