No stopping volunteer firefighters

SIX volunteer firefighters sitting outside the Tasmania Fire Service Northern regional offices at Youngtown look confused when asked why they gave up their weekend to help mop up fires burning in other areas of the state.

``Someone has got to do it,'' Branxholm volunteer Lloyd Heywood said.

St Marys volunteer Luke Webb agreed.

 ``Without us, you'd be stuffed,'' Mr Webb said. 

The group formed part of a 16-strong taskforce that departed Youngtown yesterday for the 1500-hectare bushfire burning at Interlaken Road near Steppes and Lake Sorell in the Central Highlands. 

They will spend two days strengthening containment lines in that rocky terrain before moving further south to help control the 25,000-hectare fire that destroyed more than 200 homes and flattened Dunalley on the Tasman Peninsula.

The Northern volunteers will be conducting back-burning operations and ``blacking out'' or fully extinguishing the perimeter of the fire.

Fire-weakened trees, known as ``widow-makers'' for their tendency to fall on unsuspecting firefighters, mean this is traditionally one of the most dangerous aspects of the job.

``Falling trees are the biggest risks and something you have always got to be mindful of and watching out for each other for,'' Mr Heywood said.

Taskforce leader Heath Bracey said the team could work through the night at the Central Highlands fire, depending on fire conditions.

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