Fireys welcome weather change

FIREFIGHTERS hope today's cooler weather will help them contain two fires that are burning out of control in the state.

Tasmania Fire Service Northern spokeswoman Lynda Robins said 33 fire crews were working to contain a 1500-hectare fire in Douglas Apsley National Park late yesterday, and expected to have it inside containment lines today.

Ms Robins said the fire was not threatening homes, but clouds of smoke over the Tasman Highway yesterday had concerned some residents.

At community meetings in St Marys and Bicheno last night, East Coast residents were briefed on a fire.

Ms Robins said the initial damage bill for a fire that burnt 220 hectares at Lefroy before being contained on Friday night was 30 power poles and a stretch of the National Broadband Network cable.

Tasmania Fire Service southern spokesman Mark Dobson said today's mild conditions would be the best chance in a week for firefighters to contain a fire that had threatened homes near Molesworth in the Derwent Valley.

Mr Dobson said the tinder-dry, rugged country, with its isolated houses and winding country roads, was ``the worst spot in Tasmania'' for a bushfire.

He said the 1900-hectare fire was slower-moving than the 20,000-hectare blaze that destroyed more than 200 properties on the Tasman Peninsula four weeks ago.

But he said it ``had a lot of potential still'' and could burn outer suburbs of Hobart if left unchecked.

``If we can't get on top of it in the next week or so and we do get a few days of high fire danger, that's when it could get interesting,'' he said.

Mr Dobson said the fire had been burning ``very erratically'' and had proved difficult to contain, with spot fires jumping containment lines again yesterday.

No houses have been reported lost so far but several sheds and a caravan have been destroyed.

Six Victorian firefighters and 12 from New South Wales have been deployed to Tasmania to relieve local crews.


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