NORTH-EAST Tasmania avoided major incident on Saturday when dry conditions and high temperatures combined to create a “very high” fire danger ratings across large areas.
The North-East, central north, midlands and parts of the east coast were on high alert, with Tasmania Fire Service closely monitoring conditions with helicopters on standby.
A gorse fire broke out in Westbury burning half an acre, but was quickly contained with no threats to the community. A smoke warning was issued for nearby communities.
A TFS spokesperson said it was pleasing that there were no reports of dangerous fire behaviour.
“People have behaved well,” he said.
“Helicopters have been on standby and trucks were pre-positioned in areas where we were expecting the greatest risk.
“Fortunately it appears we are out of the woods.”
The heightened risk of fire was caused by prolonged dry conditions combined with higher temperatures, low humidity and afternoon sea breezes, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
BOM senior forecaster Matthew Thomas said while wind speeds were not particularly high, the conditions would have made it difficult to contain fires had they broken out.
“That dryness doesn’t change unless we see significant rain,” he said.
Temperatures in Launceston and St Helens reached about 27, while Scottsdale recorded 28. Maximums were lower on Flinders Island, which also had a “very high” fire danger rating on Saturday.
The TFS is expecting high fire danger ratings across Tasmania early next week when temperatures once again push above 30.
Mr Thomas said other than the occasional shower, it would be at least another week until significant rainfall in northern Tasmania.
“Showers will develop during Saturday afternoon, but it won’t be anything over a millimetre,” he said.
“Tuesday will be another warmer day when temperatures rebound and there won’t be a great deal of precipitation.
“It’s not until Friday or Saturday when we could see a chance of more rainfall.”
New South Wales Rural Fire Service support was provided to fight the Gell River bushfire in the World Heritage Area in the state’s south-west.
The fire, which was started by lightning on December 27 and spread on January 4, has remained within containment lines in the past few days and has not spread further, according to the TFS.