Cool night aids firefighters

Cool night aids firefighters

14 December 2006

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Tasmania, Australia — Calm conditions overnight have given Tasmanianfirefighters a head start in the battle to save two towns under siege by araging bushfire.

The blaze, which this week destroyed 14 homes in the north-east seaside townof Scamander, is expected to intensify today with hot blustery conditions.

St Marys and Irish Town are under threat as the fire front, which has burnedout 14,200 hectares, grows.

Firefighters were able to consolidate control lines around St Marys lastnight, but winds are expected to whip up later this morning.

Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) spokesman Steve Lowe said the fire front was1.5km north of the town.

“That’s where we’ve been concentrating our efforts through the night, toconsolidate some containment lines in there and slow the progress of this firedown in that general direction,” he told ABC radio.

“Everything to the east of St Marys is currently still uncontained andthat’s where we expect the fire to run, down through Irish Town, towardsElephant Pass at some stage this afternoon.”

A total fire ban has been declared across Tasmania with predicted soaringtemperatures and strong north westerly winds.

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