TASMANIA Fire Service chief officer Gavin Freeman has moved to allay fears about the extent of damage done to World Heritage areas as fire services begin to take control of blazes burning across the state.
Mr Freeman said it was important to remember the state held about 1.6 million hectares of World Heritage areas and that not all burnt areas would be destroyed.
About 18,000 hectares of World Heritage Area has been affected by fires so far.
‘‘Clearly any fire in that area is unfortunate,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve done our best to keep it out but 1per cent of World Heritage Area has been impacted by these fires and we’re doing the very best we can to make sure that figure doesn’t grow.’’
Mr Freeman said the fire service’s prioritisation process considered proximity to housing, risks to critical infrastructure and risks to ecologically or culturally sensitive areas.
‘‘We give equal weight to all of those things so we allocate resources if any of those areas are likely to be under risk.’’
Ten fires have been contained since Saturday, reducing the number of active blazes to 78, four of which are listed at advice alert level.
Mr Freeman said while crews were beginning to gain control of the fires, it was important for the fire services and the public to remain vigilant.
‘‘I think the worst conditions are behind us but there’s still the possibility that they could move if we get particularly warm and windy conditions so I don’t want to say they’re completely safe because they aren’t.
‘‘We would hope that the recent rains across the East and North-East have reduced the risk a little bit but there’s still a chance that we’ll get bushfires running in this state up until the end of February.’’