Thousands stranded as fires devastate Tasmania

Thousands stranded as fires devastate Tasmania

Thousands stranded as fires devastate Tasmania

Updated 5 January 2013, 16:53 AEST

Emergency warnings are issued in eastern and southern Tasmania as bushfires, which overnight destroyed at least 100 properties, continue to rage out of control.

At least 100 properties have been destroyed and thousands of people have been left stranded by bushfires that are continuing to rage out of control in Tasmania.

Towns on the devastated Tasman Peninsula in the state's south-east are cut off and only accessible via sea.

Meanwhile, a fire emergency warning has been issued between Inala Road at Forcett and the Tasman Peninsula.

The Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) says the out-of-control blaze has spread south of Murdunna and has active fire edges back to Forcett and Dodges Ferry.

Bushfire updates:

The service says Taranna is currently being affected by the fire and it is too late for residents to leave the town.

It is understood a number of properties near Eaglehawk Neck have been lost.

The peninsula remains cut off with the Arthur Highway closed until further notice.

Phil Douglas from the TFS says people need to keep off the highway near the Forcett and Nubeena areas.

"There is a strong potential for trees and power lines to fall across those roads at any time without any warming," he said.

An emergency warning has also been issued for the Bicheno area in the state's east, where a 4,000-hectare fire is burning out of control.

Firefighters warned the communities of Friendly Beaches and Bicheno may be affected by smoke, embers and ash.

They said Coles Bay Road, south of the Apsley River, and the Tasman Highway, south of Tower Hill, were at very high fire risk.

Coles Bay Road has been closed in both directions, cutting road access to Coles Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula.

The TFS says it is likely too late for residents to leave the affected area, with residents urged to activate their bushfire plans and defend their homes or leave, but only if the path is clear.

There is a community fire refuge for Bicheno residents at Bicheno Community Hall and another for Coles Bay and Swanwick residents at the Swansea Football Ground.