Police investigations ongoing into the George Town bushfire, leads being followed

George Town butcher Robert Bannon had already prepared some barbecue packs for the local volunteer firefighters before they had the blaze fully contained on Tuesday.

He was thankful, their efforts had saved his home which was right in the path of the deliberately lit fire.

Mr Bannon describes the incident as “a bit scary”, with grass alight within 10 metres of the side of his house.

“I think everyone really appreciates the volunteers because if it wasn’t for them, and the helicopters, quite a few houses would have been burnt and goodness knows where the fire would have ended up,” he said.

“It’s happened three or four times before … but nobody likes to see that sort of thing happen.”

The fire was reported about 2pm, and with wind speeds up to 55km/h it travelled fast.

About 15 hectares was burnt in total, damaging 500 metres of fencing and destroying a nearby telegraph pole.

The investigation into cause of the fire is ongoing, Tasmania Police Sergeant Andrew Hanson said.

“We have conducted extensive inquiries, we have door knocked all the houses in the neighbourhood and those inquiries, plus some information from witnesses at the time, have led us to identity a group of people who may be able to assist us further,” he said.

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Police believe the fire was started in a small area of scrub at Blue Gum Park between the dog park and the archery field. 

A pile of rubbish, including some type of large mat or cardboard, was used as an ignition source, fire scene examiners believe.

Police would still like to speak to a man who was seen riding an unregistered trail or motorbike in the vicinity of Quinn Avenue and Margeurite Street about 2pm.

Sergeant Hanson said residents should not be fearful but, as always, should remain vigilant of fire at this time of year.

George Town fire brigade chief Andrew Taylor said he “couldn’t be happier” with the response of the 60-strong ground crew, the four aerial teams, and police.

“The response that was made to this event, and supported by management from both a TFS and Tasmania Police perspective, would be a model to use right across the state,” he said.

“It was the weight of attack, lots of resources, knock it out quickly and it was done superbly, you couldn't ask for any better.”