Blaze baffles firefighters

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 11 Februari 2013 | 19.55

THE unpredictable nature of the Molesworth fire -- suspected to have been deliberately lit -- has confounded firefighters.

Residents have been warned it will continue to burn out of control in steep terrain for the next few days.

The fire has threatened Transend lines that power all of Hobart.

It was one of a series of fires being fought around Tasmania, fuelled by extreme dryness.

Visit the Tasmania Fire Service website for the latest updates.

The Molesworth fire in pictures

About 150 people were told at a community meeting in New Norfolk yesterday that firefighters -- more than 40 crews last night -- hoped to control the fire in the next few days but the blaze had already confounded experts.

Other meetings were held at Mountain River -- now just a few kilometres from the fire front -- and Collinsvale.

Today a meeting will be held at 10am at Fern Tree.

"In some cases the fire has spotted and run into the headwind, which is very unusual.

All the predictions are saying it should not be doing what it's doing [and that's] because we have had no significant rain since December," Tasmania Fire Service senior station officer Phil Douglas said.

The TFS believes the Molesworth fire was deliberately lit, with the exact spot pinpointed on Glen Dhu Rd.

Mr Douglas said people must be emotionally prepared and that 80 per cent of those who successfully defended their homes in Victoria's 2009 fires said they would not do it again.

One couple were praised for their preparation, although Lee McLean found herself shaking yesterday after four days of vigilance.

She and husband Andy live within sight of where the fire started and saw it race to within metres of their house.

"We lost everything bar the house. The cars exploded and lifted clean into the air and did a complete circle," Mrs McLean said.

"There were 50-foot flames coming up at us. We had three or four helicopters landing here, taking water from our dam to save the neighbours' houses. It was like a war zone.

"Our phone lines were burnt, we had no power. We can't thank the emergency services enough."

Mr McLean said: "One sleeps, the other watches."

michelle.paine@news.com.au


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