Fires force hundreds in Tas to flee homes

Australia

Emergency warnings remain in place for about seven fires raging across Tasmania, displacing residents and closing parks over the Australia Day long weekend.

Fifty-six blazes burned in the state on Friday, with many uncontrolled.

The Great Pine Tier fire doubled in size, burning about 40,000 hectares according to the Tasmania Fire Service.

It’s one of three fires posing a risk to communities.

Authorities are also concerned about the Riveaux Road/Tahnune and Western Hills fires.

The Gell River fire also broke its containment lines and crossed the Gordon Gorge, but is not a threat to communities.

Ten new fires started on Friday.

Emergency warnings are in place for Steppes, Lake Echo and surrounds, Castle Forbes Bay, Geeveston, Port Huon, Cairns Bay, Waterloo, Shannon, Waddamana, Hilltop, Penstock Lagoon, Bashan, Jeans Banks Road and Waddamana.

National Parks and reserves remain closed due to the fire risk, including the Tasman National Park, Freycinet National Park and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

People are being told to stay away from the bush all long weekend, with a total fire ban in place across the state.

Hundreds of firefighters are battling the blazes, at least one of which has been burning since late December.

Since then more than 82,500 hectares of land has been burnt and there is more than 960km of fire edge.

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