East Coast Residents Evacuate as ‘Uncontrollable Bushfire’ Burns Near Coles Bay

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Coles Bay has been cut off by an uncontrolled bushfire that forced the only road in and out shut this afternoon. Friendly Beaches has been evacuated after authorities issued a warning telling people in and around Coles Bay Road to “leave immediately” due to the “uncontrollable bushfire”.

Peak west-north westerly wind gusts of 80km/h and a temperature of 24.5c were recorded in the area around 3:00pm. The TFS say fire is moving fast in an easterly direction, with the fire danger rating in the area upgraded to severe.

“Burning embers may threaten your home before the main fire arrives. Smoke and ash may make it difficult to see and breathe,” TFS say. “If you are at Coles Bay Road, Friendly Beaches, you should go to a safer location now. If you are going to leave, make sure there is a clear road to a safer place.”

“If you don’t have a safe route to a safer place, shelter inside the nearest building, regularly checking your surroundings and putting out any fires near the building until the fire passes.” “Your home can only protect your life if it is actively defended and it has been prepared for severe conditions.”

“Do not travel to the area, as the roads are expected to be highly dangerous.” An evacuation centre is being established at the Coles Bay Boat Ramp, with conditions expected to worsen and potentially put Swanwick and Coles Bay at high risk in the coming hours.

Tasmania Fire Service assistant regional chief Greg Butters said seven ground crews and three aircraft were fighting the blaze. “Tasmania Fire Service crews are actively responding to several bushfires on the East Coast this afternoon, including one at Coles Bay which remains under Emergency Warning,” Butters said.

“Coles Bay township is currently not under immediate threat, however, the Tasmania Fire Service advises that awareness and vigilance should be maintained.” “Due to the location of the fire, police have closed Coles Bay Road to all traffic.”

“Anyone in the Friendly Beaches area who has not evacuated should leave immediately to a nearby safer place.” “Safer Places are designated at the two boat ramps in Coles Bay and the Freycinet Golf Course.” “There is an Evacuation Centre set-up at the Swansea Town Hall for people who cannot return home via Coles Bay Road.”

Butter said the Bureau of Meteorology has advised that strong winds are expected to peak later this evening, before reducing in the early hours of tomorrow morning. If you are at Coles Bay Road, Friendly Beaches, you should go to a safer location now.

If you are going to leave, make sure there is a clear road to a safer place. If you don’t have a safe route to a safer place, shelter inside the nearest building, regularly checking your surroundings and putting out any fires near the building until the fire passes. There is an Evacuation Centre at Coles Bay Boat Ramp.

Source: PULSE HOBART