Tasmania has issued a four-day fire ban — the longest the state has ever had — as it continues to battle more than 50 uncontrolled blazes.
The fire ban began at midnight on Friday on January 22 and will continue through Australia Day ending at midnight on January 27.
The ban aims to decrease the chances of fire escapes from camp fires, back yard burning and barbecues using wood or charcoal — which could prove inconvenient for Australia Day celebrations.
“We just cannot afford any more fire in our environment,” Tasmania Fire Services chief officer Gavin Freeman told the ABC.
“We know it’s a long weekend and we know that there will be people camping, but just gas-fired barbecues, gas cookers, they’re all OK, as long as you’ve cleared the area around them, but no open fires please.”
So far, more than 42,000 hectares have been burnt through over the last 10 days affecting some of Tasmania’s world heritage forests.
TFS has issued advice level warnings to areas such as Chudleigh Lakes, Lorinna, Liena, Western Creek, Mole Creek and Southwest with five fires currently burning around the the Cradle Mountain and Lake Mackenzie area.
Nine News reports that two children have already admitted to starting at least one of the blazes at a campground at Black River.
Interstate crews from both NSW and Canberra have joined efforts to combat the fires with reports that around 120 firefighters are flying into Tasmania today following the arrival of two helicopters from the NSW Rural Fire Service in Launceston yesterday.
A bushfire information session will be held today at 12.30pm at Chudleigh Fire Station.
More information can be found at the Tasmania Fire Service site which is being updated regularly.
— Jane Morton (@SafeClimate) January 22, 2016
— Lesley Jolly (@Jolly57La) January 22, 2016
Not a lunar eclipse – bush fire smoke over Tasmania is giving the moon a strong red hue tonight. pic.twitter.com/rHGjd8kBXL
— tonygray (@tonygray) January 21, 2016
— Rebecca Ellston (@RebeccaEllston) January 21, 2016
— Lesley Jolly (@Jolly57La) January 19, 2016