Wind put firies back on alert

Wind put firies back on alert

27 April 2013

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Australia — FIREFIGHTERS are back on high alert today because of extreme winds and unusually warm temperatures.

A “very high” fire danger warning has been issued for Tasmania’s South-East and Derwent Valley, with fears strong winds and gale-force gusts could make fires difficult to control.

Fire authorities have urged people against burn-offs and asked campers to take extreme caution around campfires.

The temperature is expected to reach the mid-20s today in the South today, well above the average maximum of 17C for April.

Tasmania Fire Service chief Mike Brown said property owners should avoid lighting fires and extinguish fires already burning.

He said that, despite recent rain, conditions were still extremely dry in some areas and susceptible to bushfires.

The Tasmanian Fire Service has not declared a total fire ban today, but Mr Brown said people should still avoid open fires.

“We are mindful that it is school holidays and people may be camping, but people should take extreme care with fires in the open,” he said.

Mr Brown urged campers to use gas cookers if possible, or ensure any open fires had a 3m clearing and were thoroughly extinguished.

He said any fire could spread rapidly in today’s conditions and be difficult to control.

The Bureau of Meteorology has also issued an extreme weather warning for the South-East.

Forecaster Rachel McInerney northwesterly winds would average 55km/h, and there would be gale-force gusts of up to 110km/h.

Hobart’s maximum temperature is forecast to reach 24C. Conditions are expected to abate tonight, and fire warnings will ease tomorrow.

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