Tasman Peninsula trail of destruction

THE Arthur Highway in January is usually busy with holiday traffic.

Now its only traffic is emergency services vehicles, Aurora Energy crews and others with police permission to be on the road which connects the fire-ravaged Tasman Peninsula to the rest of the state.

Journalists were yesterday taken under police escort to a destroyed property near the town of Copping, north of Dunalley, where a search team made up of police and fire officers was working.

Charred piles of rubble was all that remained of some houses, while others survived.

Some had close calls, with grass burnt almost to the walls.

Burnt washing flapped on clothes lines, blown by the same strong winds that have fanned fires since Thursday.

Back in Sorell, people at the town's fire refuge continued to count the cost of the fire that has burnt more than 22,000 hectares.

Flynn Kaulima spent the night at the Sorell Memorial Hall last Friday but his Primrose Sands home survived the blaze.

Mr Kaulima said the support offered to those affected by the fires had been amazing.

"It's just so amazing, especially at Christmas time when everybody (has) spent all their money. People always have got an extra place for one more," he said.

Volunteers at the refuge said people had come from as far away as Launceston, George Town and Zeehan to donate goods.

Sorell businesses have also chipped in, many providing meals to those at the refuge.

Outside the police station, Simone Brown and Zane Jackson, of Melton Mowbray, were waiting to join a convoy to Nubeena to deliver donated stock feed.

"I've worked on farms all my life, I know what it's like this time of year, especially now - it's gutted the place," Mr Jackson said.

"I don't have any hay or feed but I can donate the time to deliver it ... I'm donating a week off work."

Police said search teams working in the area around Dunalley and the Tasman Peninsula had fed dogs left behind when fires swept through.

Tasmania Police Sergeant Fiona Smith said preliminary searches of properties in fire affected areas were complete and more comprehensive searches were being undertaken, with help from Victoria Police and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

Sergeant Smith said no human remains had been found so far.

By yesterday morning, preliminary searches of 731 properties in the fire affected South-East had been conducted. Police said 126 properties had been destroyed or damaged.

Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard urged anyone who had been on the Tasman Peninsula during the fire to register on 1800727077 to help police consolidate their information.

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