Police brace for deaths as search of homes continues

10AM UPDATE: Police have not found any bodies during searches of fire-affected areas in the South.

Police have searched 245 properties in Dunalley, south of Hobart, and to the north of the town, including 90 badly damaged or destroyed buildings. No bodies were found, despite many people being reported missing.

About 65 police and other searchers will continue the work today south of Dunalley to the more densely forested Murdunna and Sommers Bay area. 

About 14 buildings have been destroyed at Sommers Bay.

There are about 110 residences in the Marion Bay-Copping area that are undamaged, and 45 residences at Dunalley are undamaged.

Police urge people from the fire areas  to register their details with the National Registration and Inquiry Service on 1800 727 077 or via www.redcross.org.au. This is important to enable police to cross-reference details of people and discount them as a potential concern for welfare where appropriate. 

EARLIER: THE painstaking task of searching for victims of the Tasmanian bushfires will continue today.

Efforts are centred on the devastated township of Dunalley, Boomer Bay and Marion Bay. Emergency services are checking destroyed properties at a rate of eight an hour.

As of last night there were still no confirmed deaths, but 100 people remained unaccounted for.

Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard has warned people to brace themselves for fatalities.

"We hope for the best, but we plan for the worst," he said.

Houses destroyed by a bushfire are seen in ruins in Dunalley.

Houses destroyed by a bushfire are seen in ruins in Dunalley.

"I don't want to unduly worry families or friends who might not have had contact with people or had any news ... but we have to be realistic that until we go through the processes that we're going through at the moment, we won't know for sure."

More than 120,000 hectares has been burnt and more than 100 properties have been destroyed by a series of bushfires that have ravaged Tasmania.

Offers of help are pouring in, and those affected can access state and federal grants from today.

A major fire that started at Forcett is still out of control, and the only access road to the Tasman Peninsula remains closed.

Some 1500 people remain on the peninsula - cut off from the rest of the island. Two boats carried 400 people to Hobart last night.

Tasmania Fire Service chief fire officer Mike Brown has warned all Tasmanians that the danger is not over, as the weather will heat up again this week.


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