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Fire crews sent to Tasmania's north-east as temperatures, winds increase

Friday January 19, 2018 - 16:14 EDT
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A total fire ban will remain across parts of Tasmania tomorrow, with dangerous weather conditions expected. - ABC licensed

Extra fire crews have been deployed to the eastern half of Tasmania as emergency services brace for the threat of bushfires.

Dangerous conditions today have seen The Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS)

Crews have been focused on a very high risk of bushfires in the Derwent Valley and Upper Derwent regions but the threat is moving north-east.

The temperature has hit 36 degrees Celsius in St Helens and the Fingal Valley with wind gusts of up to 80 kilometres predicted.

TFS spokesman Peter Middleton said 14 firefighting aircraft were ready to respond and extra crews had been sent to the state's east.

"As the front comes across we're looking at the north-east of the state later in the afternoon and into the early evening where we'll see severe fire danger ratings and if we get sort of gusty conditions could even push into the extreme fire danger ratings for short periods of time," he said.

"We've got crews strategically placed in areas like St Helens, Ouse, Gretna, Cambridge to respond quickly if we need to."

He urged the public to remain vigilant.

"It is tinder dry in a lot of those areas across the eastern half of the state and we want to ensure the public is vigilant, ready to act, has a bushfire survival plan and is monitoring the situation," he said.

"If anyone sees any fires whatsoever in the landscape we want them to report it immediately, no matter how small ... we want it reported so we can get on top of it as quickly as possible."

A smoke alert has been issued for Campbell Town because of a bushfire at Lake Leake Road but there is no threat to communities.

Parks and Wildlife (PWS) staff will also be patrolling popular campsites where arsonists are known to operate.


PWS have banned campfires for the rest of summer.

The Bureau of Meteorology said parts of the state's north-east were expected to reach 38C.

Senior forecaster Rachel McInerney said it has not been that hot since December 2015.

"We're looking at fairly widespread areas of low to mid-30s right across the central north, northern midlands, north-east and east coast," she said.

"It's unusual we get maybe one or two days of summer where we start to push into the mid high 30's so it's not what we're used to."

Launceston temperatures climbed to 33C sending many people to Cataract Gorge for some relief.

In contrast, a cold front crossing the south has seen the temperature in Hobart fall from 31C at 9:00am to just 19C by mid-afternoon.


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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