Waterbombing aircraft lend support in Styx bushfire

Waterbombing aircraft lend support in Styx bushfire

Tasmania’s Fire Service are warning residents near a bushfire burning through nearly 200 hectares in the state’s south to prepare their homes now in case conditions worsen. LATEST >>

Tasmania’s Fire Service are warning residents near a bushfire burning through nearly 200 hectares at Styx to prepare their homes in case conditions worsen.

As of 3.29pm Friday, TFS says “the fire remains stable, is not running or out of control and no properties are under threat”.

“Water bombing aircraft are operating in support of firefighters at Styx,” TFS said.

“Keep well clear as the falling water has the potential to cause injury to anyone in the drop zone. Watercraft in area are requested to maintain a safe distance from aircraft.”

TFS said while there was “no immediate threat”, fire under these conditions “can be difficult to control”.

The Styx Road bushfire is currently 193 hectares in size.

What to do:

  • People in Styx should keep up to date by looking at the TFS website at www.fire.tas.gov.au.
  • Well prepared homes are defendable in these conditions.
  • If you are not prepared for a bushfire, think about leaving for a safe place if it gets more dangerous.
  • If your family has made a bushfire survival plan, check it now.

The bushfire was caused by a Sustainable Timber Tasmania regeneration burn in Styx Valley Rd that jumped containment lines.

In a statement issued this morning STT said their aim today was to strengthen containment lines established last night, and to monitor and put out hot spots ahead of forecasted rain and wind changes tomorrow.

Late last night, crews conducted back burning operations to contain the bushfire.

There are 14 Sustainable Timber Tasmania firefighting crews on site and two Parks and Wildlife crews and five crews from SFM Resources.

The statement said “The current residual smoke was not planned and unintended. Sustainable Timber Tasmania is disappointed of the outcome of this regeneration burn and will undertake a post burn operational review to learn from this event. Sustainable Timber Tasmania will continue to work with stakeholders such as wine growers and the tourism industry to cooperatively adapt future management for mutual benefit.”

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said an internal review of the fire was not good enough.

“Resources Minister, Guy Barnett, needs to commit to an independent examination of what went wrong and why – and make the full findings public,” Ms O’Connor said.

“Ultimately, these logging burns can’t be justified. They are a danger to people, to businesses, to threatened and endangered wildlife, to Tasmania’s wilderness and to the climate.”

MARCH 11:

A forestry regeneration burn-off has broken through containment lines and has burned through 130 hectares of bush near Maydena in the upper Derwent Valley.

The fire, started by Sustainable Timber Tasmania at the weekend, is currently out of control, the Tasmania Fire Service said.

Seven light tankers, a heavy tanker, two bulldozers, an excavator and three helicopter were fighting to contain the fire. There is no immediate threat to property.

A smoke alert has been issued around New Norfolk, Bushy Park, Westerway and Gretna “as there may be visible smoke and ash from this fire”. The blaze was among those which upset local tourism operators at the weekend after clouding the Dewent Valley with smoke.

The fire is burning near the Styx River about 12km southwest of Bushy Park.

Winds in the area at present are light: around 7km/h from the north.

The government owned-forestry company said the fire had spread due to weather conditions.

“Sustainable Timber Tasmania is currently managing a fire in the Styx Valley,” the company said in a statement.

“The fire originated from a planned regeneration burn conducted on Saturday that crossed containment lines on Wednesday due to gusty wind conditions on site.

“Prior to yesterday, monitoring of the planned burn had confirmed that the original containment lines had been effective. The current fire size is 130 hectares.

“Sustainable Timber Tasmania crews, heavy plant and helicopters are onsite to establish and restrict the fire to new containment lines.

“An operational review will be undertaken by Sustainable Timber Tasmania to understand and learn from the burn.”

The Styx Valley is home to the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area, featuring Eucalyptus regnans which are among the largest and tallest eucalypts on the planet.

The Bob Brown Foundation called for a police inquiry into the fire.

“As with any other fire burning out of control, Tasmania Police should urgently investigate the Styx logging fire”, Bob Brown said. “If a tourist operator was responsible for this fire they would lose their licence.

“This Sustainable Timber Tasmania fire has already burned five times the intended area, cost taxpayers many thousands of dollars and if uncontrolled tomorrow threatens the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, just four kilometres away. Wildlife is being scorched in this burning forest.”

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor also condemned the burn.

“Forestry Tasmania has serious questions to answer. It started burning just days after the end of summer and now there’s a large escaped fire near Maydena and threatening the World Heritage Area.

“What kind of risk assessment did they use? It was obviously flawed.”

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