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A TOTAL Fire Ban has been declared for the next three days across the eastern half of the state, covering 12 municipalities including the Derwent Valley.
The Total Bire Ban means it is illegal to light or to cause a fire in the open between 2am on Saturday, December 28, and 2am on Tuesday, December 31.
This includes (but is not limited to) incinerators, burn-offs, campfires, fire pots, and wood-fuelled barbecues. Machinery including lawn mowers that could cause a spark, should not be used.
More information on Total Fire Bans and fire incidents can be found at www.fire.tas.gov.au or by listening to ABC Local Radio.
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a severe heatwave, fire dangers and a band of lightning over the coming days. Much of Tasmania is expected to experience severe heatwave conditions during Saturday, Sunday and Monday as extreme heat builds over the state and temperatures rise into the low-to-mid 30s for inland areas.
Monday will be extremely hot across parts of the east and southeast of Tasmania, with temperatures approaching 40 degrees in those areas. The forecast maximum for New Norfolk on Monday is a very hot 39 degrees with a 70% chance of showers in the afternoon and evening.
The increasing heat will result in Very High fire danger ratings across parts of inland Tasmania on Saturday and Sunday. Extremely high temperatures, strong northwesterly winds and low relative humidity will lead to Severe fire dangers across much of southeastern Tasmania on Monday, with Very High fire dangers for most of the remainder of the state.
An active band of lightning is expected to cross Tasmania during Monday evening and early Tuesday, bringing scattered lightning across the state. Although thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by 1-5 mm of rainfall, the bureau says new fire starts may be possible, especially about the eastern and northern halves of Tasmania where fuels are very dry.
Thunderstorms are also expected to by gusty, with gusts of 80-90 km/h possible. The severe fire dangers and gusty thunderstorms that are expected on Monday are being generated by an approaching cold front that will direct extremely hot, gusty, continental northwesterly winds across Tasmania before crossing early Tuesday. After maximums of 33 degrees today, 32 tomorrow and 39 on Monday, next Tuesday and Wednesday are forecast to be a much cooler 22 degrees.
The Bureau of Meteorology says Fire Weather Warnings are likely to be issued over the coming days. Warnings are updated regularly at: www.bom.gov.au/tas/warnings/