Bushfires in Tasmania have destroyed a seventh home, as weary crews and residents hope forecast rain can temper four massive blazes.
Wildfires flared by hot and dry winds at the weekend claimed a property in the Huon Valley, southwest of Hobart, it was confirmed on Monday,
To date four houses have burned down in the Huon Valley plus three in the state’s Central Plateau.
About 194,000 hectares have destroyed by wildfires, some of which started before Christmas.
Liawenne this afternoon. The Great Pine Tier Fire is still raging. Firefighters are concerned some Reynolds Neck residents are not evacuating, despite their homes being undefendable @abchobart pic.twitter.com/JxnS2OfINO
— Manika Dadson (@ManikaDadson) February 4, 2019
Kaylee Hattinger, owner of the Great Lake Hotel in the Central Plateau, has been packing lunches and cooking dinner for hundreds of firefighters and volunteers a day at the pub.
“They’re so weary, the looks on their faces,” she told AAP.
“And they won’t give up. They can’t give up. There is no alternative.”
From the hotel, smoke can be seen from a fire near Liawenee, one of 14 alerts remaining around the state.
“It’s been 20 days since the lightning strikes that started all this. But we’re still laughing here at the pub. We’re still finding jokes,” Ms Hattinger said.
🔥 A BUSHFIRE EMERGENCY WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR FOR BRANDUM, CENTRAL PLATEAU 🔥
— ABC Hobart (@abchobart) February 4, 2019
Cooler conditions over coming days are expected to aid firefighting efforts but significant rain is needed to put the blazes out.
That could happen on Thursday, with 10m-20mm of rain forecast state-wide.
Residents are being urged not to become complacent though, with the blazes in the Huon Valley and Central Plateau, plus at Britons Swamp in the northwest and Gell River in the southwest, still of “concern”.
Some people had refused to evacuate bushfire-threatened zones despite doorknocks from firefighters and police, Tasmania Fire Service deputy chief officer Bruce Byatt said.
“It’s fortunate that no lives were lost. It puts additional stress on our firefighting teams,” he said.
“If it’s reached the point where you have police officers and firefighters doorknocking … that’s probably another level.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Monday visited the Huonville evacuation centre that has become home to hundreds of people.
He called on Australians to continue visiting the island state and drive the tourism industry to help Tasmania recover and rebuild.
“I want to commend everyone for the volunteer effort they’ve put in, those who’ve opened up their homes,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Shorten, meanwhile, urged the Liberals to open their chequebook and deliver the funding necessary to help communities recover.
“Now is not the time for government to go missing,” he said.
The fires have burned down a near-century-old trapper’s hut, and significantly damaged the popular Tahune Airwalk.
Vast tracts of wilderness in Tasmania’s southwest have been charred.