Bushfires continue to burn in Tasmania

At least 26 bushfires are being fought by firefighters in Tasmania.

Tasmania fire Arthur River

Photo above: Backburning near Arthur River in northwest Tasmania, January 29, 2016. Photo by W. Frey.

Bushfires that have been raging across northwest Tasmania for several weeks are still causing great concern in the island state south of Australia.

One of the fires in the Central Plateau has burned about 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) in the World Heritage Area, about 1.2 percent of the WHA. Unique alpine flora such as pencil pines, king billy pines and cushion plants — some more than 1,000 years old — have been destroyed.

World Heritage site burned Tasmania
A burned area at a World Heritage site in Tasmania. Photo by Dan Broun.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service has sent many of their wildland firefighters across the Bass Strait to assist their neighbors in Tasmania.

NSW RFS firefighters Tasmania
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service has sent a great deal of aid to assist with the fires in Tasmania. In these photos equipment is arriving to set up a camp capable of sleeping 150 firefighters at Moles Creek. Next week more firefighters and fire engines will be mobilized to Tasmania. NWS RFS photos.

Three air tankers from North America that have been working in Australia during their summer bushfire season have also been deployed, including a DC-10, Avro RJ85, and a C-130. This may be the first time these large aerial firefighting resources have been used in Tasmania. The Fire Service felt it was necessary to warn the residents to “not be alarmed” when they saw the air tankers “flying a bit low over the coast”. More information about the air tankers in Tasmania is at Fire Aviation.

DC-10 air tanker Tasmania
A DC-10 air tanker being used to fight wildfires in Tasmania. Photo by Tasmania Fire Service.

Most of the most active bushfires are in the northwest part of Tasmania. Three of the largest are in these areas:

  • Arthur River and Nelson Bay. 21,000 hectares (52,000 acres).
  • Pipeland Road. 62,000 hectares (153,000 acres).
  • Lake Mackenzie Road. 25,000 hectares (68,000 acres).

Another fire in the southwest part of the state has burned 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) between Lake Gordon and Lake Pedder.

At least 26 bushfires are still active while 48 others have been contained.

Below are maps showing the locations of the fires, and more photos.

Bushfires Tasmania 2-13-2016 map
Map of bushfires in Tasmania Feb 13, 2016. Tasmania Fire Service.
 Tasmania Fire
Map of bushfires in northwest Tasmania, February 13, 2016. The gray areas represent areas burned. Tasmania Fire Service.
Tasmania Fire
A bushfire on the west coast of Tasmania was stopped at the Indian Oceap. Tasmania Fire Service photo.
Tasmania Fire
Backburning near Arthur River, on the coast of northwest Tasmania. Tasmania Fire Service photo.
Tasmania Fire
Deputy Operations Section Chief James Shaw briefs firefighters in Tasmania, February 11, 2016. Tasmania Fire Service photo.

In the video below Tasmania Fire Service Chief Officer Gavin Freeman provides information about the ongoing bushfires.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “Bushfires continue to burn in Tasmania”

  1. How I would like to fight fire in this area. I wish I could go out of country. I’m from us southwest fire fighters region 3. Thanks james valdez

  2. Any help I can contribute on protecting communities in the WUI, please let me know.

    Good luck and best regards from Spain
    David Caballero

    1. I’ve made numerous trips to Australia working with their Fire folks, and can assure you that no one in Tasmania is having “fun” as you call it! They’re busting their butts (often times for free since most Aussie firefighters are Volunteers), trying to stop the destruction of their homes, timber lands and pastures. They’re away from their full-time paying jobs and their families, all for the good of their communities.
      If you’re looking for a “Fun trip across the pond during the off season”, buy a commercial airline ticket on your own dime. It’s a wonderful place with great folks, and you’ll enjoy it more off of the fireline.


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