A TOTAL fire ban has been declared across Tasmania's south today as the state battles its worst bushfire season since 1967.
The Tasmania Fire Service says today's high temperatures and strengthening winds will see severe fire conditions, with the Derwent Valley, southern Midlands, Coal River and East Coast most at risk.
"This is the most extreme fire season we've had across the state since 1967," TFS chief Mike Brown said.
"The type of weather we've had, the amount of fuel, the dryness of the conditions and the experience we've had over the last few weeks.
"I've been in the job now for 36 years and it's certainly the busiest year I've had in the job and it's been the busiest season Tasmania has had since the disastrous fires of 1967."
The TFS hopes the state will get through the rest of the season with no further homes lost and no loss of life but extreme fuel loads mean the risk of uncontrollable fire is still all too high.
"We're expecting hot to very hot conditions locally in some areas within the state and, with the wind, that's what's elevating the fire danger for the next 24 hours or so," Mr Brown said.
"All our brigades have been alerted and notified of worsening conditions plus we have additional equipment, aircraft and firefighters on stand-by for strike team response so we get a really fast initial attack on any new fires that we have breaking out."
He said volunteer and career firefighters, aided by interstate crews and aerial water-bombers, had put in a huge effort at Molesworth and near Bicheno in the past week and the TFS was hopeful containment lines on those fires would hold.
"What's made the Molesworth fire really difficult and really concerning has been its proximity to Hobart and also the fact it was so remote and mountainous, and that's why we've got remote area experts in there working on foot, hand-lighting the edge of the fire and putting in hoselines," Mr Brown said.
Anyone who sees smoke or fire should call 000.
Visit www.fire.tas.gov.au for updates.
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