Kiwi firefighters battle Tasmanian blaze


New Zealand firefighters have arrived in Tasmania to fight blazes burning out of control.

A team of more than 40 will help the containment effort.

Tasmania has been plagued by about 80 bushfires during the past fortnight,

Residents in Temma were forced to run for their lives, escaping to the beach as the out-of-control bushfires bore down on them.

"It's turned into a really strong blustery strong south-easter and it's turned the side of the fire into the front and we're right in the middle of it," said one local.

"We are all over here with whatever possessions we want to take home, keepsakes and stuff like that and we will sit it out."

More than 70,000 hectares have been burnt.

Several homes and shacks have been damaged or destroyed in what the fire chief says is one of the worst fire seasons he's seen.

Three hundred fire crews and 10 aircraft are battling the dangerous and unpredictable blazes, which are fuelled by strong blustery winds.

"Unfortunately what's happening up there is there's a storm cell which is affecting the area which is increasing the winds up to 40 to 50 kilometres an hour, which is certainly making things unsafe for residents and firefighters alike," says one firefighter.

There are about 80 fires burning around the state, one has claimed more than 11,000 hectares of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The bushfire in the north-west is expected to rage out-of-control for days.

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