Australia — FIREFIGHTERS are back on high alert as Tasmania braces for extreme bushfire conditions today.
A total fire ban has been declared across the state with forecasts of strong winds and warm conditions providing a volatile mix with tinder-dry conditions, The Mercury reports.
The warnings come as the state’s record high temperatures continue, with Launceston recording its longest stretch of consecutive days of more than 30C and Hobart having its hottest March day for more than 70 years.
Tasmania Fire Service chief Mike Brown said landowners needed to show extreme care today.
Mr Brown said several fires during the past couple of days had been difficult to control because of high temperatures and extremely dry conditions.
And he said today is set to get worse with winds forecast to reach 50km/h.
“Everyone living in and around the bush needs to review their bushfire survival plan now and be prepared to implement it,” he said.
Mr Brown urged all Tasmanians to take extra care with machinery that emits sparks such as mowers, slashers, grinders and other cutting tools.
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has warned farmers not to use machinery today.
TFGA chief executive Jan Davis said the total fire ban revoked any permit farmers had to operate machines.
“That includes harvesters or other machinery that could strike a rock in the ground and create a spark,” Ms Davis said.
No fires can be lit in the open air from midnight until midnight today.
Tasmania’s record-breaking summer has spilled into autumn as high temperatures continue.
Launceston has smashed weather records after eight consecutive days of temperatures above 30C.
The previous record was four days in a row was set in 2009 from January 28-31.
The Bureau of Meteorology in Tasmania said it was a dramatic record because it doubled the previous one and occurred in March, on average significantly cooler than January.
The mercury reached well into the 30s in much of Tasmania, yesterday.
Hobart hit 37C just after 3.30pm.
It compared with the March average maximum of 20C.
The Hobart high, which was 36.6C before rounding, was just shy of the all-time March record of 37.3C in 1940.
The March high for Tasmania was 38C in Campania on March 14, 2008.
Bushy Park reached 38C, Grove 37C and Campania and Ouse 36C yesterday.
The unseasonal weather comes after Hobart’s hottest summer ever, measured from December to February.