Monday, February 4, 2019

Monday night bushfires update

FOUR main fires across the state remain a concern, with fire agencies continuing to strengthen fire containment lines to protect communities, infrastructure and the environment. A total of 19 fires are actively burning, with a total burnt area of 194,000 hectares to date.

At 11pm Monday, there is one Emergency Warning in place, the time of release, 13 Watch and Act alerts and 20 Advice messages in relation to eight fires - however people are reminded that this situation could change at any moment.

The four main fires of concern are:
  • Brittons Link, Britons Swamp
  • Great Pine Tier, Central Plateau
  • Gell River, Southwest
  • Riveaux Road, Southwest
The Great Pine Tier Fire broke out yesterday and took a significant run of 8kms to the north of Liawenee, across to Reynolds Neck, where properties were defended by firefighters and the community.

The Brittons Swamp fire in the North-West has posed some challenges today with gusty winds from the south. Communities to the north need to be mindful of potential spotting from this fire. This includes areas south of Scotchtown, Christmas Hills and Brittons Swamp.

Crews are also continuing to strengthen containment lines on the Gell River and Riveaux Road fires.

Detailed impact assessments are underway state-wide, although assessments have been hampered by smoke and dangerous trees.

TFS can confirm four houses have been destroyed in the Riveaux Road fire, although further assessments are continuing in the area.

More than 755 personnel have been working on the fires today, including 159 personnel from interstate and New Zealand.

While weather conditions are forecast to moderate moving into the week ahead, people are reminded to remain vigilant and closely monitor the TFS website and ABC local radio as the situation may change rapidly.

TFS advises:
  • If you don't need to be in the areas under an Emergency Warning or Watch and Act, then stay away.
  • If you're staying to defend your property, monitor the conditions closely and stay alert as conditions can change quickly.
  • Stay up to date at www.fire.tas.gov.au or by listening to ABC local radio.
  • Visit the www.police.tas.gov.au/community-alerts/ for road closures.
As a result of the emergency service suppression efforts and the calmer conditions, the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has been able to assess and re-open some National Parks and other areas, including the Mt Field National Park day visitor area and waterfall circuit tomorrow (Tuesday, February 5)

PWS has assessed the public access to Mt Field National Park and is preparing to reopen the visitor centre as a day-use area only. The Russell Falls track and the Tall Trees Circuit will also reopen, but the campground, Lady Barron Falls Circuit Track and the alpine tracks remain closed.

The following areas remain closed:
  • The Southwest National Park, Hartz Mountains and Hastings Cave remains closed.
  • Junee Cave and Marriott Falls State Reserves are also closed until further notice. 
  • Walls of Jerusalem National Park Little Fischer River Track remains closed.
Walkers are asked to suspend trips until further notice due to the risks created by the current fire situation. PWS senior regionalmManager Ashley Rushton says PWS is continuing to assess track openings and closures, and is asking people not to go onto any reserve land that is impacted by fire that is unsafe.

“People planning on visiting parks are asked to make well-informed decisions. Please check the weather forecast, road closures and the PWS tracks and closures page before visiting,” Mr Rushton said.

For a complete list of track, area and campground closures please visit: www.parks.tas.gov.au/closures

With the large number of fires burning and the potential for spotting and new starts due to the weather forecast, PWS is also asking people not to venture into remote areas. Mr Rushton said the PWS has also been receiving reports of an increased amount of wildlife on roads after being displaced or impacted due to the fires.

“These animals may be confused and disoriented, orphaned or injured,” Mr Rushton said. “We are asking people to take care and slow down on the roads, particularly between dusk and dawn.”

“Please do not go into the fire grounds as it is unsafe, and also be aware of increased numbers of PWS and emergency personnel vehicles on the roads.”

Campfire restrictions are still in place across all national parks, reserves and Crown Land statewide until further notice. Parks staff will be conducting patrols to ensure that they are being adhered to. “Following yesterday’s Total Fire Ban, PWS conducted patrols of campgrounds and day use areas, and we received one report of an unattended campfire in the northeast yesterday,” Mr Rushton said.

“Overall, we have had a good compliance in relation to the Total Fire Ban and the campfire restrictions. We have also had a very good response from Tasmanians and visitors to our parks and reserves, where people have been using our website, referring to the information that’s available about track closures and obeying it, and that has been brilliant.”

As fires under hot, dry and windy conditions can travel very fast, it’s important for visitors to stay informed in case conditions change. What to do:



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