George Town mayor Bridget Archer has recognised the community’s positive response to the town’s recent bushfire, while also flagging the ongoing need to provide information and support on fire safety.
The bushfire began on January 3, with the Tasmanian Fire Service evacuating George Town residents from their homes.
No homes or lives were lost in the fire, however the flames came within 10 metres of properties and also burned to the edge of the George Town cemetery.
Cr Archer praised the community in assisting emergency services in their work battling the blaze.
“The community is always very supportive of emergency services,” she said.
“There were some local businesses that supported firefighters on the occasion by sending meals and things like that, which was really great to see.”
The bushfire, which burned 15-hectares, began after two 11-year-old boys deliberately lit a fire on council property.
The boys tried to put the fire out as it began to spread, according to Tasmania Police.
While the fire started at the back of a council-owned sports complex area, Cr Archer said there was little the council could do to stop these kind of incidents occurring.
“A lot of those areas are public recreation areas and we encourage people to use them and use them responsibly,” she said.
“It’s never acceptable for people to commit arson or criminal damage on any property, but you don’t want to stop people from using public recreation spaces either.”
Cr Archer emphasised the need for fire safety practices to be taught in the wider community.
“We always, in times of high fire danger, are pretty strong on reminding people on their responsibilities and obligations to use fire responsibly,” she said.
“The TFS runs extensive fire programs in schools already and there’s demonstrated value in preventing this type of behaviour.
“It’s really important to keep educating children and their families about fire safety and plans in the event of future house fires and bushfires.”