BETTER communication, more accurate weather predictions and a bit of luck helped Tasmania survive its worst bushfire day since 1967 without loss of life, Tasmania Fire Service chief Mike Brown has said.
More than 200 homes were lost when up to 40 bushfires burnt out of control around the state two weeks ago, most in the Forcett fire that is still burning on the Tasman Peninsula.
Winds of up to 100km/h, 43-degree temperatures and very low humidity combined to create catastrophic fire conditions on the peninsula on Friday, January 4.
Mr Brown said the conditions were comparable to the Black Tuesday fires on February 7, 1967, in which 62 people died.
But so far the only death connected to this year's bushfires is that of Victorian firefighter Peter Ronald Cramer, who died of a suspected medical condition while working three kilometres from the Forcett fire near Taranna on Sunday.
Deputy Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard said he was not yet prepared to rule out the possibility that someone may have died as a result of the fires.
"It certainly appears that we haven't had a loss of life, which is quite amazing in the circumstances, considering the ferocity of the fire that came through," Mr Tilyard said.
Mr Brown said credit for preserving life should be shared between more effective fire- fighting techniques, an intensive public information campaign and a community that took the risks seriously.
"We have learned the lessons of (Victoria's 2009) Black Saturday," Mr Brown said.
When the conditions get up to extreme or catastrophic, there are no resources on the planet that can stop a fire.
"The outcome for fires is very, very dependent on how the community responds."
Mr Brown said the fire service saw the catastrophic fire conditions coming in weather forecasts received on January 2, and were able to pull firefighters back off annual leave, get planes and bulldozers in place and begin warning the community.
On Thursday, January 3, the fire service took to ABC radio to warn residents from Copping and Dunalley to leave the area.
Police, firefighters and State Emergency Service personnel doorknocked homes in the area to pass the message on, and police began co-ordinating an evacuation effort.
Mr Brown said the devastation at Dunalley underlined the importance of having a bushfire safety plan and putting it into action early.