Intense fire prompts emergency warning

MORE than 20 fire crews battled the summer's most intense bushfire yesterday as fire danger ratings hit catastrophic in the South.

Out of the 35 fires in Tasmania yesterday the blaze near Forcett was the only one to pose real danger.

Tasmania Fire Service chief officer Mike Brown said the fire took off under ``really adverse conditions'' towards rural communities in the Wattle Hill and White Hill areas.

Residents were at high risk and several roads were closed. 

The fire prompted the service to issue the first emergency warning _ the most serious _ this bushfire season.

However, the fire, which was downgraded to the mid-level warning watch and act last night, did not destroy any property or cause injury.

Several small fires occurred in the North, including at Scottsdale, Mayfield and Travellers Rest, however, they were stopped before posing a threat.

Firefighting strike teams located at Campbell Town, New Norfolk, Kingston and Cambridge were credited with ensuring fires didn't get out of hand.

``We managed to get a pretty rapid response on the vast majority of the other fires,'' Mr Brown said.

``Local crews and aircraft support did much to jump on many fires before they developed.''

Several serious fires including in the Central Highlands and on the West Coast, started last week by lightning, jumped their containment lines due to yesterday's conditions.

Yesterday's total fire ban across the state lifted at midnight last night.

A cool southerly wind bringing air moisture was going to ease conditions across the state.

``There are no parts of Tasmania expected to get into the 30s like we had today [Tuesday],'' Northern situation officer Steve Richardson said yesterday.

Northern fire crews remained on stand-by as strong winds began to pick up at Campbell Town.

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