Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has sent her condolences to
the family of a Victorian man who died while fighting
bushfires on the island state.
The Gippsland-based firefighter, aged in his 60s, died
yesterday while conducting backburning operations at Taranna,
east of Hobart.
Police say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding
The man was one of more than 70 Victorian emergency services
workers sent to Tasmania to help fight the state's
devastating fires, which have destroyed more than 130 homes
since January 4.
Ms Giddings issued a statement late yesterday sending the
state's thoughts to the man's family.
"On behalf of all Tasmanians, I express my deepest
condolences to this brave Victorian's loved ones," she said.
"I hope that his family can gain some comfort from the
sincere gratitude we feel for his willingness to assist us
during this bushfire crisis.
"I thank them, and our thoughts are with them at this most
tragic of times."
Tasmanian Emergency Services Minister David O'Byrne said
victims and the man's colleagues would grieve at the loss.
Meanwhile, firefighters are hoping to assess what damage a
"large and dangerous" bushfire has had on a world-leading
observatory in northern NSW this morning.
But they believe the main telescope has survived.
Staff from the Siding Spring Observatory in Warrumbungle
National Park were evacuated on Sunday to nearby
Coonabarabran due to the blaze, which also destroyed at least
A watch-and-act remains in place for the fire, which has
burnt through more than 32,000 hectares of bush, scrub and
Overnight the RFS, which has described it as a "large and
dangerous bushfire" have been focusing on fighting the blaze.
But RFS spokeswoman Laura Ryan said they are expecting to be
able to go into the site on Monday morning to access the
"We have got reports that the main telescope has survived but
whether it has been damaged is not confirmed," she told AAP.
"As the sun comes up we are hoping to get a clearer view."
More than 65 firefighters and 17 trucks were on site in the
early hours, with more expected to arrive throughout Monday.
Meanwhile, more than 110 people have been evacuated to
Tattersalls Hotel at nearby Baradine, as the RFS warns people
not to return home.
Ms Ryan said the RFS could not give any indication at the
moment as to when it might be safe to do so.
"It's another reminder that fires can strike quickly and can
be incredibly dangerous and damaging," Ms Ryan said.
Across the state, however, firefighters are expecting some
reprieve with milder weather conditions forecast and winds
tending to the south.
There are no total fire bans across the state, with fire
dangers listed as moderate and high throughout southern NSW
and along the coast, with very high fire danger in the
About 170 blazes are burning through bush, scrub and grass
with about 50 of those out of control.
Light rains have been experienced overnight at the fires in
Yarrabin near Cooma and Deans Gap in Shoalhaven, which have
together burned through more than 20,000 hectares.
While the drizzle slightly hampered hazard reduction it also
offered firefighters some relief, Ms Ryan said.