Australasia's home for timber news and information

Southwood processing site damaged in Tas fires

In a report by ABC News, Tasmanian communities south of Hobart remained at threat from uncontrolled bushfires, with unconfirmed reports of property damage. The Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) said the fire danger rating reached severe and “exceeded forecast conditions”. Crews contained a fire at the Southwood wood processing site after embers breached skylights, but there was extensive damage. Source: ABC News

The TFS deputy operations officer, Phil Smith, told a community meeting at Huonville it would affect employment in the longer term.

“We’ve been able to contain the fire but it has damaged some of the machinery, it’s damaged extensively the outside and other parts of Ta Ann [timber mill],” he said.

“Firefighters have been working along with crew from Sustainable Timbers Tasmania to try to preserve what can be salvaged from that site.

“Having said that, preparations at this site [weren’t] ideal.”

Regional fire chief Jeremy Smith said the fire could impact on “towns and hamlets” in the area and had the potential to surround populated areas.

If the Huon Bridge remained closed to south-bound traffic, it was possible people could be isolated for a few days, he said.

“Communities and individuals and families need to plan for a potential isolation if that highway or bridge is blocked for whatever reason.

“People need to have those plans in place. If they don’t need to be in the vicinity, in the area south of Huonville, please consider moving north,” he said.

The Riveaux Road fire was burning across 27,000 hectares and there were reports smoke from the fire had been reported in New Zealand. The TFS was warning residents to stay vigilant as out-of-control bushfires continued to spread.

The fires of most concern were the Riveaux Road fire in the state’s south and the Great Pine Tier fire in the Central Plateau. The Great Pine Tier fire nearly doubled in size between Friday and Saturday and had burned through almost 40,000 hectares.