Sunday update: Bushfire response now 140 firefighters

ABOUT 50 people attended a community update from the Tasmania Fire Service at the Ouse Town Hall this morning, which was about double the turnout of the previous meeting on Friday. Those present heard first-hand from fire and police officers about the need for people in the Bradys Lake, Lanes Tier and Mentmore Tier and surrounding areas to remain aware of the ongoing bushfire situation.

There are current advice and warnings in place and these are updated on the TasALERT website.  At the time of writing there are Watch and Act Warnings for: 

  • Highland Waters, Central Highlands and Surrounds
  • Victoria Valley & Osterley
  • Strickland and Surrounding Areas
  • Dee, Bradys Lake, Tarraleah and surrounds
  • Victoria Valley Road, South of Osterley

There are also several advice warnings in the area and a Smoke Alert has been issued for the Central Highlands, Derwent Valley, Brighton, Glenorchy and Surrounds. See all these on the TasALERT website.

Incident Controller Mark Klop told the meeting that the fire had burnt through more than 5000 hectares but there were no further reports of property losses. He said there were 90 firefighters involved in the effort this morning, and by later in the day this had risen to 140 firefighters from three agencies. There were also 15 aircraft involved in the firefighting response today, consisting of four fixed-wing aircraft and 11 helicopters. 

There is a big presence of emergency service workers at the Ouse Fire Station and an airbase has been established at Tarraleah, with half the aircraft remaining onsite overnight and half returning to Hobart and Launceston.

Mr Klop told the meeting that conditions are expected to be changeable and people in the area should maintain situational awareness for their own personal safety. An evacuation centre remains available at the New Norfolk Sports Centre, 50 Derwent Tce, New Norfolk. Only travel if it is safe for you to do so.

Inspector Jon Cooper of Tasmania Police urged residents to remain aware of the possibility of road closures, which change from time to time according to conditions. He said residents leaving the bushfire-affected areas should not expect they would be able to return, as conditions may have changed. Road closures are updated on the Tasmania Police website and motorists should follow the directions of officers at the scene.

Inspector Cooper said several of the fires were regarded as suspicious and he encouraged anyone with information to provide it to police or Crime Stoppers, no matter how small or insignificant the information might seem. contact Bridgewater CIB on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers Tasmania at crimestopperstas.com.au or on 1800 333 000. You can stay anonymous.

Picture: Some of the council representatives and agency representatives at today’s meeting at Ouse.

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

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