Tasmania, Australia — Firefigthers battled to control 20 bushfires acrossthe state yesterday as the first blast of summer set temperatures soaring.
Fires at Bream Creek and Kellevie, Esk Main Rd, Avoca, and Henty Main Rd,Zeehan, were still out of control last night, but firefighting efforts werehelped by milder conditions than expected.
The temperature reached 33C in Hobart city yesterday, but measurements at thefire front put local temperatures somewhere in the high 20s.
The north-easterly winds were also lighter than expected, meaning the blazesdid not progress as far as feared.
Milder conditions are forecast today.
The Kellevie fire has burnt nearly 5000ha and while there are many houses inthe area, none is considered to be in immediate danger.
The fire, which started on December 5, is burning in the Wielangta StateForest in and around Back Run Hills, down through Iles Tier, and has reached thenorthern end of Marion Bay to the east.
Containment lines along the southern boundary of the fire, including thoseleading up to the W12 Road on the east coast, held up yesterday and fire crewstook advantage of last night’s mild conditions to extend and strengthen them.
They will continue the construction of containment lines to the north andmonitor control lines to the south today.
The fire is still burning above the W12 Road and across the north to Mill Rdat Nugent.
The Wielangta Rd will be closed until further notice.
Because of trees and powerlines being down, Kellevie Rd between Nugent andKellevie will be closed for at least a week while Aurora crews repair the damage.
Tasmania Fire Service East Coast district officer Gerald Crawford said itcould be several more days before the fire was properly contained.
“That’s depending on the fire behaving relatively mildly and remainingwithin the lines that we’ve got,” he said.
Other fires at Tugrah Rd, near Devonport, and Stoney Head, Beechford, havebeen brought under control and were being patrolled last night.
A spot fire is also burning in a mound of peat on Henty Main Rd, Zeehan, butis not considered to be a threat.
Police are investigating a number of small scrub fires they believe weredeliberately lit at Gagebrook, north of Hobart, on Friday night.
The fires at Tottenham Park are thought to have been lit by people ridingtrail bikes through the area.