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Updated January 05, At least properties have been destroyed and thousands of people have been left stranded by bushfires that are continuing to rage out of control in Tasmania. Towns on the devastated Tasman Peninsula in the state's south-east are cut off and only accessible via sea.
Meanwhile, a fire emergency warning has been issued between Inala Road at Forcett and the Tasman Peninsula. The service says Taranna is currently being affected by the fire and it is too late for residents to leave the town. An emergency warning has also been issued for the Bicheno area in the state's east, where a 4,hectare fire is burning out of control. Firefighters warned the communities of Friendly Beaches and Bicheno may be affected by smoke, embers and ash.
The TFS says it is likely too late for residents to leave the affected area, with residents urged to activate their bushfire plans and defend their homes or leave, but only if the path is clear. People need to remain vigilant, ready to enact the bushfire plan, and listen to media and the warnings through our website as to instructions of what they need to do.
Overnight a massive sea rescue operation moved more than 1, people trapped by the Tasman Peninsula fires to safety in Hobart, 50 kilometres away. Acting State Premier Bryan Green says every effort is being made to ensure safe centres are available at Nubeena and Sorell and back in Hobart.
Dunalley residents have told how they were forced to dive into the canal in the middle of the town to escape the wall of flames coming towards them. There are still dozens more fires burning burning out of control across Tasmania, forcing evacuations and cutting off towns. Authorities have increased the danger warning of a fire burning out of control at Nubeenanear a fire refuge centre on the Tasman Peninsula. A fire at Lake Repulse in the Upper Derwent Valley has destroyed several homes as well as livestock and farming equipment in the area and there is a watch and act alert for the area.
Residents have been told to move to a nearby safer place as the last resort, but only if the path is clear. A fire at Speedwell Road at Montumana, in the state's north-west, is still burning out of control, but the alert level has been downgraded. Police have taken control of the fire-ravaged area in Tasmania's south, declaring it a serious incident site. The main street of Dunalley was gutted by fire on Friday night, with nearly 65 homes destroyed as well as the local school.
Fifteen homes have gone at Boomer Bay, 20 at Murdunna and about 40 per cent of the properties at Conelley's Marsh have been damaged or destroyed. The move means police can restrict public access to the the area and people must obey officers' instructions at the site.
However, a team is investigating reports a fire crew was unable to reach a man who was defending his home when the fire passed over. So at the moment that remains positive.
I'm looking out the window now The gas cylinders are screaming, and the temperature outside would be 70 degrees - it'd burn your face, it's that hot, if you step outside the building. Dunalley resident Tony Young says he realised the town was in danger when he noticed clouds of smoke and a helicopter. She says residents who remained in the town are in shock, with some houses surviving but neighbouring ones burned to the ground.
We've just arrived in Dunalley by boat. The fire engulfed this township overnight. And the road out is cut. Seventy homes have been destroyed. Police are still trying to for all the locals. A of people evacuated before the fire. Others got out by boat during and after. We were met at the docks a man asking if we were headed back to Hobart and if there was space for him. He stayed to try and save his farm but lost his home right in the centre of the town. Around me I can see home that have been burnt to the ground and others smouldering but the house next door survived.
Power lines are down. We've seen a few people here are driving through the town or walking the streets - in tears, or looking shocked. Mr Green took a flight over the Tasman Peninsula and says he saw many houses that had been destroyed around Dunalley. He thanked emergency crews and those who had operated ferries and boats to evacuate those stranded on the Tasman Peninsula. Take a look back at how events unfolded on Friday evening. It got pretty bad here about 45 mins ago," he said. I just could not believe it, it was so dark.
I felt for the people in Dunalley.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has told Channel 9 the Federal Government is working with Tasmanian officials to support the communities affected by the fires. Extremely hot, dry and windy conditions on Friday put southern states on the most extreme fire alert for several years. Temperatures in Hobart hit Topics: bushfirefiresdisasters-and-accidentsdunalleytasdodges-ferrycoppingellendale First posted January 05, More stories from Tasmania.
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Photo: A large plume of smoke rises from a bushfire burning on Mt Feathertop in the Victorian Alps on January 24, Audience submitted: Christian Jemison Photo: The glow from the bushfire near Harrietville, in Victoria's alpine region, is visible below a starry night on January 24, Read the story Audience submitted: Inna Skrypay Photo: Malcolm, the Erickson Air Crane, he off to drop its load of water on a large bushfire in the Victorian Alps after filling up at a lake near Harrietville on January 23, Read the story Audience submitted: Christian Jemison Photo: The mangled wreckage of a property and a car are left after a bushfire hit the Victorian Gippsland town of Seaton.
The photo was taken on January 21, Firefighters described the blaze, near the north-western NSW town of Coonabarabran, as one of the fiercest they had seen. Twitter: cosmicpinot Photo: A view from the International Space Station shows bushfire smoke clouds over southern Australia on January 14, The Great Australian Bight is visible on the left of the image. Mr Hadfield has become well-known for posting spectacular photos of the earth from above while working as an engineer on the ISS.
Audience submitted: Lynne Meale Photo: Fire burns inside a power pole after it was burnt through by the bushfire in Forcett, south east Tasmania, January 6, Audience submitted: Lynne Meale Photo: A massive fireball approaches Dunalley south-east Tasmania, school in foreground was destroyed.
Audience submitted: Ken Collier Photo: The inquiry into January's bushfires will not hold public hearings. Read the story Audience submitted: Andrew Photo: A bushfire which began burning near Forcett yesterday is threatening communities around Copping. ABC: Andrew Fisher. Related Story: Fires rage across Tasmania. Related Story: Victorian blaze continues burning out of control.
Related Story: Fire risk high as southern states swelter. Map: Tasmanian bushfires map. Sorry, this video has expired. Photo: Smoke rises over Bicheno this morning from a large bushfire burning along the Tasman Highway. Audience submitted: Ken Collier. The trees just went off. They were like firecrackers - 20, 30 feet high, the flames.
Dunalley resident Tony Young on the loss of his home Listen to the interview. Photo: Towering inferno: A bushfire at Dunalley lights up the skies at nearby Primrose Sands last night. Audience submitted: Kathy Webster. Photo: Residents flee to the beach for safety at Primrose Sands. Audience submitted: Kate Butterworth. The sky was just scarlet It burnt right to the waterline. It was just unbelievable.
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Thousands stranded as crews continue to battle fires