Residents help fight King Island blaze

Residents help fight King Island blaze

2 March 2007

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Tasmania, Australia — Residents of a seaside hamlet on Tasmania’s KingIsland are helping fight a bushfire that could threaten their homes.

Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) incident controller Gavin Freeman said the blazewas burning through peat and dense scrub about 5km from Naracoopa, on theisland’s east coast.

“I am confident the fire will not breach our containment lines but it isin the lap of the gods when it comes to weather,” Mr Freeman said.

Residents from the 50-60 houses in the community met firefighters last night.

“We told them the community was not under immediate threat and to expectsmoke. We also explained our strategies and what would need to be done shouldthe fire breach containment lines.”

Mr Freeman said the fire was difficult to control because it was smoulderingin large areas of peat and igniting dense shrubs.

“It can look quite benign but then flare up suddenly as the tea treesignite.”

He said residents joined fire trucks this morning to battle the blaze.

“They are helping the 12 firefighters from the TFS and Tasmania Parksand Wildlife, using hoses and helping spot and put out peat fires.”

The blaze has scorched about 5000ha of pasture and scrub.

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife (TPW) spokeswoman Liz Wren said three otherbushfires in southern Tasmania would remain uncontained until rain put them out.

The fires caused by lightning on February 16 have swept through a total of38,000ha and are threatening precious alpine forest and other trees andvegetation, including the fire-sensitive King Billy pine.

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