Fire refuge closes as immediate danger passes

WITH the reopening of roads and the Lachlan bushfire downgraded to Watch and Alert status, the New Norfolk Salvation Army has closed its refuge centre but is prepared to reopen the Hamilton Rd facility if needed.

At the height of the bushfire emergency this evening, the Tasmania Fire Service recommended that people in Moss Beds Rd, Top Swamp Rd and surrounding areas at Lachlan should leave if their homes were not suitably prepared.

Tasmania Police closed Lachlan Rd and Moss Beds Rd, Lachlan, as well as Glebe Rd and Humphrey Rd at New Norfolk, to stop or redirect traffic trying to enter the affected area. Due to heavy smoke throughout the Lachlan area, police also urged motorists to slow down and turn on their headlights.

Click here for the latest report on the fire

Check the Tasmania Police website for updated road closure information.

Six people and three dogs sought refuge with the Salvation Army at its headquarters in New Norfolk, and all returned home after the emergency had passed.

As of 10pm, the bushfire at Glenfern Rd, Glenfern, still has the potential to put Moss Beds Rd, Top Swamp Rd and the surrounding areas at Lachlan at high risk within six to 24 hours.

Spot fires have been reported in the Lachlan area and there may be embers, smoke and ash falling on Moss Beds Rd, Top Swamp Rd and surrounding areas.

Local councillors and community members have taken to social media to thank the various emergency services for their response to this evening’s emergency. The Cheeky Little Place cafe in Burnett St, New Norfolk, has announced that coffee will be free for all firefighters tomorrow (Wednesday).

With challenging fire weather conditions ahead this week, the Tasmania Fire Service has urged people to reconsider the need to use fire over the coming days. “TFS is considering declaring a Total Fire Ban for Thursday and Friday for the southern region,” acting deputy chief officer Shane Batt said. “In addition, TFS will declare the fire permit period for the whole state on Thursday, however between now and then we discourage landowners from starting fires on their property.”

“What we have seen today is fires that start easily in dry vegetation and develop quickly. The last thing we need is more fire in the landscape ahead of Thursday and Friday. TFS crews have responded to over 20 vegetation fires across Tasmania today. The threat of fire will remain over the coming days and the bushfire season is now here. We need people to stay alert and report all fires straight away to Triple Zero (000),” Mr Batt said.

As well as today’s Glenfern/Lachlan fire, which was first reported at 12.55pm, local fire brigades also responded to vegetation fires at Illabrook Rd, Lachlan; Black Hills Rd, Magra; and Lyell Hwy, Hayes, during the day. On Monday they dealt with fires at Gordon River Rd, Karanja, and Collins Cap Rd, Molesworth.

A separate bushfire at Moss Beds Rd, Lachlan, was first reported at 12.41pm on Friday, but was quickly brought under now under control and is being patrolled. This fire covered an area of about 100 square metres.

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