MORE than 47 fires broke out in the state’s South yesterday, during Tasmania’s earliest ever total fire ban.
The Tasmania Fire Service mobilised 110 trucks to fight the fires, as wind gusts up to 120kmh were recorded.
The Hobart City, Hobart Airport and Cape Bruny districts all reached a fire danger rating of severe.
Two fires near Kingston and one at Dover were lifted to advice level yesterday afternoon as they burnt close to homes and businesses, with helicopters employed to battle the blaze at Dover that was threatening the Tassal factory.
They are likely to be mobilised again today as crews continue to monitor the fire at Dover and one at Kingston.
‘‘I think we’re all a little surprised at how early [this was],’’ Tasmanian Fire Service public information officer John Holloway said.
‘‘This is the earliest we’ve ever had a total fire ban in any region of Tasmania.’’
Mr Holloway said the TFS had made the right call in issuing the total fire ban so early.
‘‘Because of the high winds and the potential to move into forests, it was required to have a total fire ban,’’ he said.
Climate Council of Australia councillor Will Steffen said the early start to Tasmania’s bushfire season was linked to climate change.
‘‘We have good evidence that climate change is influencing the bushfire risk,’’ he said.
‘‘[Yesterday’s fires were] consistent with what we expect. In fact, what we have seen across south-eastern Australia over the past four decades is what we call high fire danger weather ... hot days, high winds, low humidity: those have been increasing in the past four decades in most locations in the south-east.
‘‘The second thing we’ve seen is that the fire season is lengthening in the south-east.
‘‘A factor in both of these is in fact that the climate is warming, that high temperatures are driving up the frequency of high fire danger weather, and they’re causing the fire season to begin earlier in the season and extend later in the season.’’
TasNetworks was working to restore power to 5100 premises in the South and 200 in the North-West last night after the strong winds.
There were power poles and wires down in some areas, and those repairs were prioritised.