Smoke warning from Clarke Island bushfire

SMOKE from a bushfire on Clarke Island - 24km off the State's north-east coast - may reach Launceston within the hour, the Tasmania Fire Service says.

Firefighters spent three days burning containment lines around a small Aboriginal community in the north-west corner of the island this week, but have now left the fire to its own devices.

It has already burnt out half of the island.

The smoke has drifted as far west as Bell Bay, and a TFS spokesman said it may reach Launceston this lunchtime.

``(The smoke) will be fairly diffuse, but we issue a general message to people to be aware of it, and recommend that if people experience any respiratory distress, they contact Ambulance Tasmania,'' he said.

The fire, which started as a shed fire on Tuesday, is still being investigated.

TFS North East acting district officer Brett Fazackerley would not say whether or not the fire was considered suspicious, and said a report of the investigation would be released next week.

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