Cloud cover a blessing

AUTHORITIES have credited stubborn cloud cover for stopping Launceston reaching a sweltering 36 degrees yesterday.

Temperatures in the city climaxed just before 3.30pm, with the mercury peaking at 33 degrees.

The maximum fell 3 degrees shy of the predicted temperature.

Tasmania Fire Service spokesman John Holloway said vegetation fires sprung up across the state throughout the day, but no incidents got out of hand.

``It was really good the cloud cover didn't clear,'' he said.

``We're lucky conditions didn't get as bad as we expected. We were able to deploy resources quickly and in enough quantity to ensure fires that did happen didn't spread.''

Mr Holloway praised the efforts of Fire Service staff, volunteers and Parks and Wildlife personnel.

He thanked the public for heeding a statewide total fire ban in place yesterday, but reminded them to be mindful of volatile conditions.

``People do need to remember the weather over the last four days has dried up a lot of vegetation,'' he said.

``There is no heavy rain forecast for the foreseeable future. We are expecting more dangerous fire weather for the rest of the summer than we have seen so far this season.''

Mr Holloway said firefighters were keeping a close watch on wind and thunderstorms in coastal regions.

``Lightning strikes have caused some fires on the West and South-West coasts,'' he said.

``There is some possibility of lightning causing fires in the state's North and North-East this weekend.''

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