Southern Tasmania Ravaged by Bushfire
Tasmania is considered to have suffered its worst fires since 1967 during January 2013. The blaze consumed 110,000 hectares, up to 130 properties, 90 homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged in and around the Tasman Peninsula. Around 42 TasFire ground and air crews tried desperately to extinguish the blaze. The fishing village of Dunalley was the worst hit, with around 65 homes and the town’s school destroyed, while dozens more buildings were razed at Connellys Marsh, Eaglehawk Neck, Murdunna, Copping and Primrose Sands.
Approximately 2500 people had to be evacuated from the Tasman Peninsula by boat, the only way in and out of the Tasmanian Peninsula due to the roads being cut.
The panic and confusion by this devastation was alarming. Many families were separated and Police held grave fears for up to 100 people that had been reported missing. Thankfully all the missing persons were quickly accounted for; however, unfortunately this fire claimed the life of one Victorian CFA Volunteer, which had flown in to assist the Tasmanian Fire-fighters.
Tasmanian Plymouth Brethren members rallied to provide refreshments to many Emergency Services attending these devastating fires. The Inala Rd Forcett fire located in the SE corner of Tasmania, approximately 30 minutes from the City of Hobart, began on Thursday the 4th of January following a period of extreme hot weather and high winds that were being experienced right across the country.
The Rapid Relief Team (RRT) kept in constant contact with the Southern TasFire Operations Centre at Cambridge to monitor the ever changing needs and conditions. Donations and support flooded in for the emergency personnel that were attending this fire. The local shops and supermarkets welcomed the opportunity to assist by donating large amounts of the much needed food and drink. RRT were asked to set up at the Dodges Ferry Fire Station where large plastic containers where filled with ice and loaded with hundreds of water bottles to keep the emergency services hydrated. These refreshments were also provided to the Police that were manning the numerous roadblocks.
RRT volunteers made sure that on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday there was enough drink and snacks to carry the emergency services through.They also assisted the locals with buckets to eliminate spot fires that continued to flare up. Sausages and bread were a welcome sight to many of the locals and the TasFire Crews who were exhausted by the massive effort to get this blaze under control. Some locals said that they had had no sleep in 48hrs trying to save properties and houses, let alone having the time to have something decent to eat.
They were certainly very appreciative of the support and generosity that was provided in their time of need