More than 100 properties destroyed in Tasmania bushfires
Sunday 6 Jan 2013 4:23 p.m.
Thousands of Tasmanians have spent another night in emergency accommodation as fires continue to blaze in the state's southeast.
Several people have been reported missing, and although there have been no confirmed deaths, police are searching burnt-out properties for bodies.
There are only a few possessions Cliff Lloyd and Cindy Hetherington now have to their names. When the fire came roaring towards their property on Friday night, they had just minutes to get out.
“We saw it right up on the hill and we didn't think it would be a threat, so we just casually did what we usually do,” says Ms Hetherington. “We were in having ice blocks because it was really hot and then Linda down the road bashed on our window and said ‘the fire's coming down the hill; get your horses off the long grass’.”
Mr Lloyd and his two girls piled what they could in a caravan and fled, while Ms Hetherington moved their 10 horses and saved their three dogs, goat and kitten – now aptly named Sparky.
“We had to make plans there and then,” says Mr Lloyd. “We lost everything but all the animals are safe and the girls, we looked after them first.”
Their house is the only one in the area that was destroyed.
“We thought we were pretty safe,” says Mr Lloyd. “We were on open grounds. The woodlands are in the distance but it took hold of the grasslands as well and I guess with the embers and the winds and everything. Everyone around us was saved but ours was a little weatherboard place and we were the unlucky ones.”
They're staying with a neighbour and plan to rebuild on the same land.
“We are starting to come to terms with what's happened,” says Mr Lloyd. “I think we're coping pretty good considering.”
More than 100 buildings have been destroyed in Tasmania. Residents in the worst affected area of Dunalley still aren't allowed to return to their homes.
And many may also find themselves unemployed when they return. The town's biggest employer, the sawmill, has been destroyed.
With roads closed, many on the peninsula were forced to evacuate by water, taking with them what they could.
One couple thought they'd lost their home but have since heard it could be okay.
“I think we're just really grateful because some of the people down there at the moment, they're quite at a loss,” says the woman affected by the bushfire.
A huge clean up is now underway. It could be up to a week before power is restored to some areas.