Dunalley anniversary time for fire plans

The Dunalley bushfire in January last year claimed 65 homes and damaged hundreds of other properties.

THE anniversary of the devastating Dunalley bushfires is a reminder to Tasmanians to make sure they have a bushfire plan in place, Tasmania Fire Service chief officer Mike Brown has said.

Mr Brown said the wet spring meant this fire season was likely to be late and short, but that didn't eliminate all risk.

``What we  realised out of this was a really strong reminder that we live in one of the most fire-prone areas in the world, and while we don't get seasons like this every year it was a reminder of what can happen when conditions present themselves,'' he said.

The fire that destroyed more than 65 homes in Dunalley itself and destroyed or damaged 310 properties on the Tasman Peninsula began in catastrophic fire conditions on January 4 last year. 

Mr Brown said January 3 and 4 last year had some of the worst fire conditions in Tasmanian history, with 40 degree plus temperatures, high winds and dry lightning.

He said TFS was implementing the recommendations of two reviews into the bushfires, but said in practical fire-fighting terms there was little they could do.

``I don't think we have made any major changes. There were a few tweaks,'' he said.

``With a number of the recommendations, they were really about `TFS needs to consider . . .' and very clearly we have shown that we have considered them.

``So we have been able to tick off a lot of those recommendations fairly easily.''

Mr Brown said the wet spring meant it was difficult to meet the state's burning targets for this year.

Opposition emergency services spokeswoman Elise Archer said data showing 2013 was one of Tasmania's hottest years on record made its fuel reduction targets a necessity.

``It's been disappointing to see Labor and the Greens criticise our policy of increasing fuel reduction burns and setting targets, when that's exactly what the Tasmanian Fire Management Council, a Victorian Royal Commission and even the government's own report into the January 2013 fires all recommend,'' Ms Archer said.

Greens leader Nick McKim said extreme weather events, like catastrophic bushfire danger days, would happen more often as the climate heats up, and criticised the opposition for its policy to scrap the climate action council.

Premier Lara Giddings will attend a tree-planting ceremony to mark the anniversary at Dunalley today.


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