A rapidly growing fire at Lake McKenzie that could threaten homes and bushwalkers is worrying Tasmanian firefighters as about 70 fires burn across the state.
The fire in Tasmania’s north has more than tripled to 7000 hectares since starting only two days ago in hot and dry conditions.
Tasmanian Fire Service regional fire controller Steve Richardson said Thursday’s weather was making conditions particularly difficult for firefighters.
“If it comes down off the plateau in any sort of hurry, it could throw a lot of ash and embers causing spot fires,” he told AAP on Thursday.
Firefighters are also battling large blazes in the same region at Patons Road, February Plains and Cradle Mountain.
They’re aiming to protect homes and bushwalkers, while the region is also a world-renowned hiking area and holds some Hydro Tasmania electricity assets.
The fire service, Parks and Wildlife and Forestry have been sweeping the area to get bushwalkers and people fishing out of there, Mr Richardson said, with some tracks closed.
The towns considered most under threat if the fires keep growing include northern towns Mayberry, Mole Creek, Caveside, Dairy Plains and Meander.
Mr Richardson said tall timbers and very dry air were making firefighting tough.
“Combined with active fire behaviour (it) makes it extremely difficult for our crews to undertake any form of direct attack on the fires,” he said.
Of the 70 fires across the state, 60 are in the northwest – including the largest at 16,000ha – while 44 are out of control with many too dangerous and inaccessible to tackle.
A total fire ban has been declared on Thursday for the northwest including Launceston, Devonport, King Island, the west coast and northern midlands where temperatures are due to reach beyond 30C.
The weather is expected to be warm but more favourable for firefighters in the next few days.
“Over the next few days, houses are defendable providing you are well prepared,” said a Tasmania Fire Service spokesman.
“If you are not prepared or your home is not prepared, the only way we can guarantee your safety is not be in those fire-affected areas.”