Thunderstorms help fire fight

Saturday, 16 October, 2004

October 16, 2004

FAVOURABLE weather conditions are expected to help fire crews battling a large fire on the North-East Coast.

The blaze at Doctors Peak has already burnt about 2500ha near St Helens and is moving toward the coast.

On Thursday police asked people to leave the area from Binalong Bay to The Gardens after the fire in the Doctors Peak forest reserve near Ansons Bay moved quickly after being fanned by winds.

Forestry Tasmania’s incident controller for the Bass region, Garry Richardson, said crews were getting the upper hand on the fire.

Extra crews had been brought in to help with containment lines and firefighters in the area now numbered about 40.

“I think we are on top of it more than what we were yesterday [Thursday],” Mr Richardson said.

A large part of the fire is in an inaccessible area and a helicopter is on standby. There is no threat to property.

The weather bureau yesterday forecast showers and occasional isolated thunderstorms in the North-East.

Severe weather meteorologist Paul Fox-Hughes said blustery south-westerly winds had eased off yesterday afternoon.

“The winds should be fairly light for the next few days,” he said.

A large fire at Saddleback Forest, near Mathinna in the Fingal Valley, and another smaller fire at Pigs Rd, 8km south of Mathinna, are under control.

The Saddleback Forest fire has burnt about 800ha of native forest and the Pigs Rd fire about 150ha.

Forestry Tasmania Bass region manager Steve Manson said both fires were under control.

“Fire crews will be mopping up over the next couple of days and will continue to monitor the fires,” he said.

Investigators are at both fires trying to determine their cause. Arson has not been ruled out as the cause of the fire at Doctors Peak.

Another fire at Bicheno which started earlier this week has burnt about 1400ha and threatens homes and shacks.

Tasmanian Fire Service spokesman Ken Burns said about 95 per cent of the fire had been contained.

A fire permit period is in place for the North-East, East Coast, Midlands and southern Tasmania.

The Mercury


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