Call to make bushfire escape plans

FIRE permits will be required in the North and South from Tuesday, following the declaration of the Tasmanian bushfire season yesterday.

There will be a total fire ban in the South today.

Depending on weather conditions, fire permits might be required in the North-West between later this month and January.

Tasmania Fire Service regional chief Jeff Harper said fine fuels were drying out, which meant running fires were possible and these fires could burn overnight.

He said fire permits were not a ban on lighting fires, but would help avoid false call-outs, especially when most of Tasmania was covered by volunteer firefighters.

Mr Harper said the North-East and Northern coastal areas were the driest parts of the North, with a lot of coastal vegetation burning easily.

He said campaign fires, such as January's bushfires, were possible this season.

``We encourage everyone to take care,'' Mr Harper said. ``Know your risk and make a plan; put it down in writing and practise it. Any plan should identify where your nearest safer place is, and what if the worst happens?

``Every good plan has a failure rate. We all should have that second or third plan.'' Mr Harper said if fire conditions were dangerous, the safest course of action was to leave your property.

TFS chief officer Mike Brown urged people to take extra care when using machinery that emitted sparks, including lawnmowers, slashers, grinders and other cutting tools.

New firefighting vehicles for the bushfire season include Compressed Air Foam appliances and National Aerial Firefighting Centre helicopters, which have water-bombing capacity.

There will be two contracted helicopters stationed in the North and three in the South, with more than 25 further aircraft available on-call.

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