Gas barbecues can still be used as long as there is no flammable material within one metre. Picture: ISTOCK

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Smoke in Hobart from bushfires. Picture: Richard JupeSource:News Corp Australia

UPDATED: A COOL change has moved through Hobart and will slowly travel up the East Coast for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Luke Johnston said Hobart Airport reached 36C at 12.30pm, then dropped to 25C within 15 minutes.

Temperatures remain in the high 30s at Bushy Park, Ouse and Fingal.

“The cool change arrived probably an hour earlier than we were expecting in Hobart it was … a southerly surge that pushed right up the Derwent just a little bit faster than we were expecting,” Mr Johnston said.

“The cool change coming in an hour earlier meant Hobart only reached 34 degrees which would have been a relief for some people.”

EARLIER: A MOUNT FIELD cafe owner says up to 600 people have been advised to leave Mt Field National Park as an uncontrolled bushfire burns through the state’s Southwest wilderness about 90km northwest of Hobart.

Derwent Valley councillor and Mt Field’s Waterfalls Café owner Rachel Power said smoke engulfed the entire sky at Mt Field within half an hour, which sent a clear message that the area was under threat from the blaze at Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

Ms Power said park staff were patrolling the area advising residents and visitors, including campers, to leave the area.

A police spokeswoman said no evacuations had been actioned by police at this stage.

“The whole Park appears emptied. All the campers look to have left and the tracks have been cleared,” Ms Power said.

“Park staff are monitoring to make sure all people are out. The campground was full, to overflowing, overnight.”

Smoke from bushfires darken the skies at Westerway. Picture: ALEX McWHIRTER

Smoke from bushfires darken the skies at Westerway. Picture: ALEX McWHIRTERSource:Supplied

Ms Power said she feared for her home and business.

“Obviously I do [hold fears],” she said.

“I want to think all will be fine but even if it isn’t this will still be our home.”

Tasmania Police advised Maydena motorists that Gordon River Rd at Westerway is closed to all West-Bound traffic on the advice of the TFS due to fire, embers, and ash in the area.

Meanwhile, smoke from the fire is dominating the skyline over greater Hobart prompting the Tasmanian Fire Service to issue a smoke alert.

The road to summit of Mt Wellington has been closed because of the fire weather warnings.

In a Facebook post New Norfolk’s St Brigid’s Catholic School offered refuge to any evacuated families.

The post said the school would be opened following contact made to its Facebook page by any impacted families.

A number of dramatic photos have been posted on social media.

 

EARLIER: The TFS has issued a smoke alert for the Greater Hobart, Derwent Valley, Huon Valley and D’Entrecasteaux Channel as social media users share gripping photos of smoke engulfing Hobart.

Smoke in Hobart rises above Salamanca from today’s bushfires. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

Smoke in Hobart rises above Salamanca from today’s bushfires. Picture: RICHARD JUPESource:News Corp Australia

A bushfire watch and act alert has been issued for Maydena, Tyenna and National Park, with the TFS saying the uncontrolled bushfire may put the area at high risk within the next two to three hours.

The darkened sky at Moonah, with haze from an uncontrolled bushfire burning near Maydena. Picture: SOAR SU

The darkened sky at Moonah, with haze from an uncontrolled bushfire burning near Maydena. Picture: SOAR SUSource:Supplied

The TFS advised of possible embers, smoke and ash falling on Maydena, Tyenna and National Park which could threaten homes.

The TFS advice is:

Smoke from bushfires dominates the sky looking south at Kingston. Picture: MICHAEL YOUNG

Smoke from bushfires dominates the sky looking south at Kingston. Picture: MICHAEL YOUNGSource:Supplied

If your home is well prepared and actively defended, it should provide shelter.

If you are going to leave, make sure you have a clear path to a safer place.

If your family has made a bushfire survival plan, use it now.

If you don’t live near Maydena, Tyenna and National Park, stay away. The roads could be very dangerous.

A dramatic smoke plume from the Gell River fire over kunanyi/Mt Wellington, taken from South Hobart. Picture: PETER GRANT

A dramatic smoke plume from the Gell River fire over kunanyi/Mt Wellington, taken from South Hobart. Picture: PETER GRANTSource:Supplied

EARLIER: TASMANIANS are being urged to take care through sweltering weather conditions today as temperatures climb to an expected top of 39C in some parts of the state.

The Bureau of Meteorology warns of extreme fire dangers in some areas of the Upper Derwent Valley and Midlands today, with severe fire dangers expected in parts of the East Coast forecast district.

At 11am an uncontrolled bushfire burning 20km North-West of Maydena may put Maydena, Tyenna an Mount Field National Park at high risk, as embers, smoke and falling ash threaten homes.

Tasmania Fire Service has advised Gordon River Rd at Maydena remains closed to west-bound motorists due to fire embers and ash falling through Mount Field National Park.

The bureau reports of temperatures in these areas reaching the mid to high 30s with north-westerly winds of up to 40km/h.

Hobart’s temperature stood at 29C as of 10am this morning and could reach an expected top of 36C by this afternoon.

A total fire ban remains in place in the North and South of the state today.

Premier Will Hodgman has called on Tasmanians to exercise caution through today’s heat.

“With a total fire ban in place, I ask all Tasmanians to be vigilant, remain aware of local conditions and follow the advice of the Tasmanian Fire Service,” he said.

The TFS is currently responding to 17 reports of fires across the state, with career and volunteer firefighters on standby for any more fire outbreaks.

The hard work of the TFS and its volunteers has been praised by the Premier.

“Our hardworking career and volunteer firefighters do an incredible job keeping Tasmanian communities safe,” Mr Hodgman said.

Kingborough Council have confirmed Bruny Island’s Alonnah Hall will be open today for residents and visitors to relocate if required, as fire crews continue to battle the Christmas Eve Bushfire at Bruny Island’s Conleys Point.

EARLIER: BY LORETTA LOHBERGER

SIX years on from the bushfire that devastated Dunalley and surrounding communities, Tasmania is preparing for a day of very high to severe fire danger in the eastern half of the state.

The Tasmania Fire Service has declared a total fire ban for Friday for districts in the North and South, excluding Flinders Island, meaning no fire can be lit in the open.

Southern municipalities affected will be: Brighton, Central Highlands, Clarence, Derwent Valley, Glamorgan-Spring Bay, Glenorchy, Hobart, Huon Valley, Kingborough, Sorell,

Southern Midlands and Tasman.

In the north, the total fire ban will apply in the municipalities of: Meander Valley, West Tamar, Break O’Day, Northern Midlands, George Town, Dorset and Launceston.

All outdoor fire, including incinerators, burn-offs, campfires, fire pots and wood-fuelled barbecues will be banned.

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Alex Melitsis said the conditions expected would create significant fire danger.

“We’re looking at a really hot day for the eastern and southern half of Tasmania … with severe fire dangers in some areas,” Mr Melitsis said.

“Essentially it’s going to be a sunny day with a strong or strengthening hot northwesterly airstream and a cool change crossing the state during the afternoon.”

Mr Melitsis said the highest temperatures were expected about 2pm before the cool change reaches Hobart then slowly makes its way up the East Coast.

Hobart’s maximum is expected to be 36C, with temperatures approaching 40C in Campania and Richmond. Mr Melitsis said maximum temperatures of 38-39C were expected in the upper Derwent Valley.

Tasmania Fire Service deputy chief officer Bruce Byatt said a number of the fires that started over the Christmas and New Year period were difficult to control, and fires that start tomorrow could be even more difficult to control.

“It is vital that as a community we recognise the risks we face from bushfire, especially on days where the forecast fire danger will make conditions challenging,” Mr Byatt said.

“People can assist with these challenges by promptly reporting fires via triple 0, preparing their properties, reviewing their bushfire survival plans and keeping up-to-date on changing conditions.”

Tasmania Fire Service deputy chief officer Bruce Byatt. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

Tasmania Fire Service deputy chief officer Bruce Byatt. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONESSource:News Corp Australia

Mr Byatt said of the fires already burning in the state, seven were active fires.

He said crews would patrol all existing fires on Friday so any flare ups could be dealt with quickly.

Extra firefighting aircraft and ground crews will also be on standby.

“Even with our firefighting aircraft and our additional resources on the ground they can only do so much and in these fire conditions, any fire will be difficult to control,” Mr Byatt said.

He urged people to promptly report fires to triple 0, review their bushfire survival plans, and keep up to date with fire conditions by checking the Tasmania Fire Service website or listening to ABC local radio.

Mr Byatt said people should also decide early whether they will stay or leave their property if a fire breaks out in their area.

The fire service warns staying to defend a well-prepared property during a bushfire always carries a risk of injury or death, but it is a reasonable choice if your home is well prepared, you are physically fit and emotionally prepared and fire conditions are less than extreme, which is the second-highest fire danger rating, above very high and severe.

The 24-hour total fire ban comes into effect at 2am on Friday.

On days of total fire ban, all outdoor fires are banned except electric stoves and barbecues.

Gas stoves and barbecues can be used provided they have been cleared of flammable material for at least one metre.

Gas barbecues can still be used as long as there is no flammable material within one metre. Picture: ISTOCK

Gas barbecues can still be used as long as there is no flammable material within one metre. Picture: ISTOCKSource:Supplied

Barbecues and portable stoves using wood, charcoal or other solid or liquid fuel are banned.

Grinding, welding and cutting metal in the open are also banned, and the use of machinery, such as harvesters, may be subject to restrictions or banned.

The Tasmania Fire Service has urged all landowners who have recently had fires on their property to ensure those fires have been extinguished.

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Ian Barnes-Keoghan said Friday’s predicted temperatures would be 10-15C warmer than would normally be expected at this time of year.

“These temperatures although very high don’t look like they’re going to break any records,” Mr Barnes-Keoghan said.

He said the outlook was for a warmer than average summer.

“Tasmania tends to have its warmest days late January into early February … as we head through the next couple of months, [it is] most likely to be warmer than average, so not just the warmest time of year but warmer on top of that.”

The Parks and Wildlife Service has banned campfires statewide on Friday and a number of walking tracks and campgrounds are closed because of the high fire risk.

The thick cloud of smoke engulfing the sky over much of the state’s South is being mainly caused by the out of control fire at Gell River about 20km North-West of Maydena.

The fire, which is believed to be started by a lightning strike, was first reported by the TFS on December 28.

The size of the blaze is around 8000ha.

Derwent Valley councillor and Mt Field’s Waterfalls Café owner Rachel Power said smoke engulfed the entire sky at Mt Field within half an hour which sent a clear message that the area was under threat.

Cr Power said Park staff were patrolling the area asking residents and visitors, including campers, to leave the area.

A police spokeswoman said no evacuations had been actioned by police at this stage.

“The whole Park appears emptied. All the campers look to have left and the tracks have been cleared,” Ms Power said.

“Park staff are monitoring to make sure all people are out. The campground was full, to overflowing, overnight.”

Ms Power said she feared for her home and business.

“Obviously I do [hold fears],” she said.

“I want to think all will be fine but even if it isn’t this will still be our home.”

Tasmania Police advised Maydena motorists that Gordon River Rd at Westerway is closed to all West-Bound traffic on the advice of the TFS due to fire, embers, and ash in the area.

TASMANIANS are being urged to take care through sweltering weather conditions today as temperatures climb to an expected top of 39C in some parts of the state.

The Bureau of Meteorology warns of extreme fire dangers in some areas of the Upper Derwent Valley and Midlands today, with severe fire dangers expected in parts of the East Coast forecast district.

The bureau reports of temperatures in these areas reaching the mid to high 30s with north-westerly winds of up to 40km/h.

Hobart’s temperature stood at 29C as of 10am this morning and could reach an expected top of 36C by this afternoon.

A total fire ban remains in place in the North and South of the state today.

Premier Will Hodgman has called on Tasmanians to exercise caution through today’s heat.

“With a total fire ban in place, I ask all Tasmanians to be vigilant, remain aware of local conditions and follow the advice of the Tasmanian Fire Service,” he said.

The TFS is currently responding to 17 reports of fires across the state, with career and volunteer firefighters on standby for any more fire outbreaks.

The hard work of the TFS and its volunteers has been praised by the Premier.

“Our hardworking career and volunteer firefighters do an incredible job keeping Tasmanian communities safe,” Mr Hodgman said.

Kingborough Council have confirmed Bruny Island’s Alonnah Hall will be open today for residents and visitors to relocate if required, as fire crews continue to battle the Christmas Eve Bushfire at Bruny Island’s Conleys Point.

 

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