Tassie Alight: Homes Lost, Fires Burning For Months, Water Supply Worries And Looting
More than 66,000 hectares of land has been ravaged by fires in Tasmania, some burning since December.
Wednesday is expected to be the most dangerous day of the week, with temperatures forecast to peak in the mid-30s and winds of up to 40km/h, exacerbating conditions which have seen some fires in the state burn since before Christmas.
As of 3pm Wednesday, 13 bushfires remained at emergency level while an additional 11 blazes were at watch and act.
Tasmanians are currently being urged to conserve water, with provider TasWater warning mains supply is not guaranteed during times of fire.
"Fire conditions are expected to continue over this week and it is critical we have water available for the Tasmania Fire Service and residents defending their homes," spokesman Mark McConnon said.
"We would encourage everyone to make sure they use water efficiently."
The Tasmania Fire Service is battling four major bushfires in the Huon Valley, on the central plateau, at Gell River in the southwest and at Zeehan on the west coast.
In the southeast, a fire burning on the western side of the Huon River is putting people and homes at risk at Wattle Grove, Judbury, Lonnavale, Franklin, Castle Forbes Bay, Glen Huon, Waterloo, Surges Bay, Brooks Bay, Glendevie, and Police Point.
More than 400 firefighters are on the ground battling to contain the blazes, including personnel from ACT, NSW and New Zealand, while another 60 are due to arrive from interstate on Wednesday.
At least three homes near Castle Forbes Bay have been destroyed and it is likely more will be lost, Chief Fire Officer Chris Arnol said.
"These homes were destroyed after they either came under ember attack or direct combustion by radiant heat," Arnol told reporters.
"Owners have been notified. We're grateful they're safe. By all reports, their properties would have been undefendable. Their decision to leave early...saved their lives."
Residents have been told to leave their homes if it is safe to do so or actively defend their properties from embers, smoke and falling ash, while police have urged fleeing residents to ensure they lock their homes.
A 42-year-old man allegedly looted several properties in Huon Valley are on Monday.
"Thieves are often opportunistic and I urge everyone to lock their belongings to prevent being a target of burglary," Inspector John Ward said.
The TFS issued a smoke alert for the greater Hobart area on Tuesday as Hobart's CBD too felt the impact of the fires, though far from the frontline.
Smoke engulfed Blundstone Arena as crowds turned out to watch the Hobart Hurricanes take on the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League.
There is currently a total fire ban in place for southern, eastern and parts of central Tasmania.
Locals can find out more by looking at www.fire.tas.gov.au for more information.