Concern about bushfire risk in Sydney and Melbourne
Monday 7 Jan 2013 5:28 p.m.
Tasmanian police have tracked down most of the 100 people who were missing following massive bushfires in the state. But there are still concerns for a handful of people who haven't been heard from.
Four days on and the fires in Tasmania continue to burn. The fire service has issued a warning there could be a number of fatalities.
“I don't want to unduly worry anyone who might not have had contact with family or friends but we have to be realistic,” says Scott Tilyard of the Tasmanian police.
Police and the Fire Service will search through the wreckage of every property for bodies, but it's getting access to the houses which is the problem.
“There are still problems with getting vehicles into the Tasman Peninsula to work more on protecting properties and protecting assets,” says Mike Brown from the Fire Service.
Thousands of residents who fled the fires can't yet return home to see if their houses are standing. Those who can are trying to deal with what's happened.
“It's shocking,” says one resident. “I used to live there a couple of days ago and it's completely gone.”
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard arrived in Tasmania today to witness the devastation firsthand.
“To all of those people I do want to say we're thinking of you in these moments of grief and despair and we will be working with you in the days to come,” she says.
Fire crews have arrived from New South Wales and Victoria. The Victorian crews say they're returning the favour after Tasmanian crews helped them fight the deadly 2009 Melbourne bushfires.
And they may need help from the Tasmanians again as high temperatures continue and fire risks mount on the Australian mainland.