IF YOU live in a bush paradise then be prepared for a fiery downside, was the blunt message from Glamorgan-Spring Bay Mayor Bertrand Cadart yesterday.
Cr Cadart, who lives near the burnt-out settlement of Courland Bay and had to leave his house and spend Saturday night at Bicheno, said he knew some of the people who lost their houses but were too upset to talk publicly.
He said he did not know until yesterday if his house, where he lives with his fiancee, Catherine Fouquet, would survive, as it was surrounded by bush and near the fire front.
Cr Cadart said it was just luck that the wind blew up the slope at his place, pushing the flames away.
He did extensive backburning a few years ago and maintains two vehicle entrances but scrub grows close to his house.
"I accept the fact that I could lose it all," he said.
"Such is the price you pay when you live away from everyone else.
"We need to convey the message to the people of Tasmania that if you choose to live in a place like this that you can lose it all.
"If you do not want that, you should live in a built-up area with no trees.
"I do not want to live in a paddock, I like the way it is."
Bicheno itself was free of smoke yesterday but the surrounding hills were full of spot fires and many roads were closed, ruining holiday plans.
For Launceston couple Eva and Geoff Moran, their dog, Old China, and their relatives from Melbourne, waiting for roads to reopen was too much.
They had booked a cabin at Coles Bay for a holiday but were stopped at the Coles Bay Road turn-off from the Tasman Highway. The road was closed for backburning but it was opened later.
"It's disappointing but you cannot do much about it," Mr Moran said.
"We will go back to sunny Bicheno then back home."
They all said they were disappointed their holiday was cut short but were impressed by the efforts of firefighters and saddened by the losses suffered by many.