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Criminal investigation launched into cause of fires burning in Central Highlands

Pulse Tasmania
Police have launched a criminal investigation launched into the cause of the fires. Image / Supplied

A criminal investigation has been launched into the cause of multiple fires believed to have been deliberately lit in the Central Highlands.

Tasmania Police Commander Jason Elmer confirmed that investigators were looking into both the Brady’s Lake and Snake Tier fires, which began on Tuesday ahead of extreme fire danger ratings forecast for the area the following day.

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“This is being taken extremely seriously and we’re urging anyone with information to come forward to Police … or crimestopperstas.com.au. You can remain anonymous,” he said.

Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) Deputy Chief Officer Matt Lowe said a ‘Watch and Act’ warning remains in place in the Highlands area as firefighters work to protect shacks and other assets.

Firefighters are working to protect shacks and other assets in the area. Image / Supplied

“Fire investigators are continuing to conduct examinations into the cause, after five fires were reported in the area on Wednesday afternoon,” Lowe said.

“Two of those fires … have since been referred to Tasmania Police for investigation. The remaining three fires are still under investigation by the TFS.”

The Central Highlands bushfire from above. Image / Tasmania Fire Service

Despite cooler weather conditions, the fire risk remains high today, with a Total Fire Ban in place for southern Tasmania continuing until 2am on Saturday.

Approximately 80 people have evacuated from the area between Ouse and Gretna, many spending the night at an evacuation centre in New Norfolk.

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“Our firefighters worked in extremely difficult conditions yesterday and with their work continuing today I want to recognise them for their efforts and thank them,” Lowe added.

“And [thanks to] those who are supporting behind the scenes, for their commitment to keeping Tasmanians safe.”

Firefighters are working to control the bushfire at Bradys Lake. Image / Pulse

He urged anyone who sees any kind of smoke anywhere in Tasmania to report it to Triple Zero (000) immediately.

“We need everyone to play their part and continue to be as prepared as possible.”

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