Fire damage in Tasmania’s south-west wilderness revealed in new photos

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Updated

January 14, 2019 17:13:26

New photos have revealed the extent of the damage by a large fire burning in national park in Tasmania’s south-west wilderness.

The Gell River Fire has burnt about 20,000 hectares since it started by lightning strike more than three weeks ago.

A team of 12 remote area firefighters and two paramedics from New South Wales travelled to Tasmania last week to help fight the blaze.

The specialist firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service have taken photos and vision of what the fire has left behind.

Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) operations officer Mark Klop the blaze has a perimeter of 245 kilometres.

“The vegetation varies across the fire ground,” he said.

“We’ve got quite thick dense forest in some parts of the fire, we have button plains, which is sort of long grassy plains that are in the valleys around the fire.”

He said the TFS were using sprinklers to combat the blaze.

“We have used sprinklers on fires before but probably not to this extent,” he said.

“It’s a way of dealing with difficult terrain and difficult edges that we can’t continue to put remote firefighters into.”

Firefighters brace for warm weather

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is predicting a “very high” fire danger until Friday, as hot to very hot conditions are expected in parts of Tasmania .

And Mr Klop said firefighters were gearing up for those extreme conditions.

“The warmer conditions will through the course of the afternoon increase any fire activity that’s still out there,” he said.

“But we’re not too concerned about the weather, at this point in time there are no strong winds forecast.”

Around the state, the BOM has forecast a very high fire danger for the Upper Derwent Valley today, and a very high fire danger for the Central North, East Coast, Midlands, Upper Derwent Valley and Central Plateau districts on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tourists fined, thrown out of park for lighting fire

As the fire danger continues in Tasmania, bushwalkers have revealed three international visitors lit a fire in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in the state’s Central Highlands last week.

Local bushwalker Seane Pieper said he and two friends stumbled across three tourists on Wednesday night, one who was French, and asked them to extinguish the fire, but the trio refused.

“They didn’t extinguish it,” he said.

Mr Pieper said his friend proceeded to warn the tourists of why fires in the area can be highly dangerous.

“The more experienced member of our team said ‘mate you have to put it out. The world heritage area is very dangerous if that peat gets going it will never go out’,” he said.

They later alerted authorities who issued an infringement notice.

In a statement, a Parks and Wildlife Spokesperson said, “The investigation resulted in an infringement notice being issued and the alleged offenders being directed to leave the park.”

Fires lit on peat can result in fines up to $15,000 dollars.

Topics:

bushfire,

weather,

disasters-and-accidents,

emergency-planning,

tas,

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First posted

January 14, 2019 15:58:48



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