TFS: Reconsider travel to the lakes this weekend

POLICE and fire authorities have urged potential visitors to stay away from the Bradys Lake and Dee Lagoon area this weekend as efforts continue to control the several bushfires burning in that part of the Upper Derwent Valley/Central Highlands.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST TAS-ALERT ADVICE

Addressing a community meeting at the Ouse Town Hall this afternoon, Tasmania Fire Service officer Jason Vinen said the fires were as yet uncontrolled and were burning in hard to reach areas. He said the firefighting effort would continue over the weekend and into next week, and this was not the time for visits to the area.

This message was reinforced by Tasmania Police later in the day. “If you don’t need to be in the area, please postpone any unnecessary travel. With the opening of deer season this weekend, we are also asking recreational hunters to stay away from the fire area for their own safety,” a police spokesperson said.

  • Stay up-to-date with bushfire warnings and alerts by visiting TasAlert.com or listen to ABC Radio as your emergency broadcaster.
  • If you are travelling in the affected areas, be aware there may be smoke on the roads. Drive with caution and allow plenty of time to get where you are going.
  • For the latest road closure information, visit www.police.tas.gov.au/community-alerts/

Mr Vinen said multiple fires had started within an hour on Thursday. This was now being investigated by police and at least two of the blazes are regarded as mostly likely being deliberately lit.

He said there had been a big focus on protecting vital facilities in the area, including power stations and communications towers. Today there were more than 50 firefighting vehicles on the scene as well as heavy machinery and water-bombing aircraft.

The Ouse meeting was also addressed by Central Highlands Council mayor Loueen Triffitt and acting general manager Adam Wilson, Inspector Dee Rowe of Tasmania Police, and TFS community development officer Emmalisa White. About 25 members of the public attended the meeting. Another meeting will be held at the same venue at 10am on Sunday, February 25.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to contact Bridgewater police on 131 444. Information can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers Tasmania online at crimestopperstas.com.au or by calling 1800 333 000. You can stay anonymous.

Current road closures in the area:

  • Victoria Valley Rd – Between Lake Echo Rd and Mentmore Rd
  • Lake Echo Rd – Between Mentmore Rd and Victoria Valley Rd
  • Lanes Tier Rd from Victoria Valley Rd – restricted to emergency services vehicles only
  • Victoria Valley Rd, from Lane Tier Rd to Bashan Rd – restricted to residents only
  • Bashan Rd – Restricted to residents only

Picture: Jason Vinen of the Tasmania Fire Service addressing today’s community meeting at Ouse.

See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.

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