Lightning strikes spark 25 more Tas fires

A bushfire at Gell River in Tasmania's southwest has burned through about 20,000 hectares.
A bushfire at Gell River in Tasmania's southwest has burned through about 20,000 hectares.

Lightning strikes across Tasmania have sparked dozens of bushfires with crews battling up to 25 separate blazes in addition to a challenging fortnight-long wilderness burn.

Hot and windy weather combined with 1200 dry lightning strikes caused the blazes across the state, the Tasmania Fire Service said on Tuesday.

By late afternoon fire and parks services were monitoring 25 blazes including one on the east coast's Freycinet peninsula and another at Bothwell, with 17 burning.

"Today's fires have been small and manageable," TFS State Fire Controller Bruce Byatt said.

"We have been able to hit them hard and fast before they become a problem."

Northwest of Hobart the Gell River fire, which has burnt through more than 20,000 hectares, continues to challenge firefighters.

"We don't have any edge of the fire that we can drive to," Tasmania Fire Service controller Peter Dobson said.

Crews, including those on secondment from NSW, are spending up to two hours trekking to the fire front in rugged terrain, while aircraft assist the battle from above.

But even the water bombing was problematic, with authorities close to grounding the aircraft when an unidentified helicopter or drone was spotted in the area.

"This incident posed a significant risk to the aircraft and people participating in aerial firefighting operations, and also had the potential to ground firefighting aircraft and halt firefighting," Neil Brooksbank from the TFS said.

"This incident passed without serious consequence and firefighting operations were unaffected. However, it is disappointing that our pilots have to contend with these easily avoidable issues while undertaking their important firefighting role."

Hot conditions and minimal rain are expected to persist in parts of inland Tasmania until Friday.

Australian Associated Press