FIREFIGHTERS taking refuge in their truck from a blaze have reported the state's first possible death for the bushfire season.
The crew's unconfirmed report said the man was trying to defend his house as a devastating fire ripped through the Southern town of Dunalley, destroying up to 65 properties.
Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard said the unconfirmed report was being investigated by a triage team that had been flown in to Dunalley.
``The unconfirmed report is essentially [for] one [death], but at this stage it's too early to say whether or not there might have been other people who have lost their life. It was a very dangerous situation when the fire went through,'' he said at a briefing in Hobart last night.
As Hobart hit its hottest day on record, Tasmania's first catastrophic fire conditions since the rating system was developed saw uncontrollable and unpredictable fires tear through the state:
On the East Coast fires threatened properties and forced road closures with the danger greatest near the Apsley River and Friendly Beaches.
100km/h wind gusts whipped up a huge fire at Lake Repulse near Mount Field National Park, forcing people to leave their homes.
A large grass fire at Epping Forest was brought under control and contained, thanks to irrigated crops that helped firefighters stop the blaze spreading.
But it was the Forcett fire, which trebled in size yesterday and spread to Dunalley, cutting off thousands on the Tasman Peninsula, including at Port Arthur, that caused the most damage.
Damaged buildings included Dunalley's local school, the RSL club, a service station and houses.
Another 15 buildings in nearby Boomer Bay were destroyed along with structures at Connellys Marsh.
At Nubeena, 600 people sought refuge in a school and about 100 people turned up at the Sorell Memorial Hall, which had been converted into an evacuation centre and fire situation room.
Sorell Mayor Kerry Vincent said the situation left him feeling helpless.
Tasmania Fire Service chief officer Mike Brown said 100 crews had done a tremendous effort in minimising the damage and preventing loss of life.
Near the top of the Tasman Peninsula 50 people were waiting for police boats to help them leave the waterfront area.
A police boat was also checking the shoreline for people who were reported to be sheltering in the water but no one had been located last night.
A helicopter has been working to evacuate anyone suffering heat distress or other health issues at the request of Ambulance Tasmania.
Overnight temperatures were expected to lower with higher humidity but little rain.
Mr Brown said he did not think the state was ``quite out of the woods yet''.
Late last night the Lake Repulse fire was affecting communities at Ellendale and Karanja with Hamilton and Lawrenny expected to be directly impacted about 6am today.
The Forcett fire has also reached Dodges Hill, Dodges Ferry, with residents told it was too late to leave.
Copping and Boomer Bay residents were told to go to the Falls Festival site at Marion Bay only if the path was clear.
A new fast-moving fire also broke out about 10.20pm at Carlton River.
futag- with AAPqr