Emergency Warning level fires developed yesterday at 3 locations, around 500ha at Lake Repulse in the Upper Derwent Valley, 1000ha at Forcett to the east of Hobart and a small but threatening fire at Bicheno on the east coast. A further 30 smaller fires were reported by TFS around the state. Late in the day the Lake Repulse fire started to threaten the communities around Ellandale, leading to increased presentation to the New Norfolk fire refuge.
The fire at Forcett developed across the Tasman Peninsular, with the entire peninsula isolated by road closures at Eaglehawk neck. A Forcett fire refuge is operating at Sorell.
(please note that “refuge” in this instance does not mean refuge of last resort – they are more like evacuation centres)
Media reports are quoting 85 buildings damaged or destroyed and 1 unconfirmed fatality, mostly around Dunalley. Red Cross activated 9 volunteers on Friday to assist councils at the Ouse, New Norfolk and Sorell community fire refuges. Two volunteers remain on duty tonight at the New Norfolk refuge.
Under current forecasts and information, we are not expecting to be asked to provide much more assistance at fire refuges. There is however a significant community recovery situation unfolding on the Tasman Peninsula which we will start planning for over the next few days as the situation becomes clearer. All major Tas fires were downgraded to watch and act this morning and we are expecting to stand down our remaining team at New Norfolk at 0800.
We have had a request from Tasmanian Police to activate NRIS (the domestic version of Restoring family links) , as calls to their Police Information Line relating to people who can’t be contacted have increased. This is currently being actioned, awaiting final confirmation from TasPol