Up to 100 people still to be located

UP to 100 people remain unaccounted for as bushfires continue to ravage parts of Tasmania.

The missing include Tasmanians and tourists from interstate and overseas.

Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard said triage teams were yesterday searching every destroyed house at a rate of eight an hour.

``There's up to 100 people we haven't had any contact with. That's not to say they've come to any harm, but I can't totally eliminate that until we've had that confirmed,'' he said.

``(In) the premises that we've been through and checked so far we haven't found any deceased people and we certainly hope that continues, but we also have to brace ourselves for the fact we may locate one or more deceased people before we finish that process.''

The three major fires that started at Forcett, Lake Repulse and Bicheno have collectively burnt 60,000 hectares and destroyed more than 100 properties.

Another fire in the South has burnt through an additional 60,000 hectares. It is not endangering any property but did force the evacuation of bushwalkers, who were airlifted out.

Across the state about 20 fires continue to burn, and Police and Emergency Management Minister David O'Byrne warned all residents in bushfire-prone areas to remain vigilant as the weather heats up this week.

``While  we're hopefully beyond the worst of the situation with the weather and fires we are still in pretty difficult circumstances here, and the weather is not on our side.''

Tasmania's chief fire officer, Mike Brown, said he could not say when those major fires would be brought under control.

However, he said it was heartening that so far no deaths had been reported.

``If I reflect back to 1967 when we had the Black Tuesday fires in Tasmania, the weather conditions we experienced on Friday were very similar to those sorts of conditions,'' he said.

``The outcome in 1967 was 2000 homes lost and 62 lives lost.

``There's obviously been significant properties lost (in these bushfires) but to date there's no evidence of anyone dying or serious injury.''

The Arthur Highway remains closed to the public.

Last night  there was a planned convoy of emergency services vehicles preparing to travel into the peninsula.

Mr  Tilyard said if it was safe to do so the convoy would return with people in private vehicles.

``Obviously we're as keen to do that (reopen the road) as   everyone else is, but we won't do it until it is safe,'' he said.

Up to 2000 people remain on the peninsula - cut off from the rest of Tasmania. Others were removed by boat, and have taken refuge in Hobart.

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