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Bush fires flare up in Tasmania, Australia

Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:46 AM

MOLESWORTH, Australia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Officials in Molesworth, Australia, warned that high winds fanned the flames of an out-of-control bush fire that is pushing closer to homes.

The Tasmanian Fire Service said it is too late for residents in the area to evacuate and they should activate bush fire plans.

Fire service spokesman Mark Klop said the terrain of the area is making the fire difficult to contain.

"The roads are very poor roads, very tight corners and very inaccessible for fire crews once it gets smoky," he said. "We cannot get machinery or fire crews into the ravines or the sharp, rocky cliff areas. We're heavily relying on helicopters."

Meanwhile, crews said another bush fire in Lefroy is no longer considered an emergency and isn't threatening homes. Calmer weather conditions in the evening were expected to help with the containment process, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Thursday.

Andrew McGuinness, of the Tasmanian Fire Service, said there have been official evacuation orders but he encouraged residents to leave if they are able.

"People need to assess that on an individual basis. If the path is clear and they can get out of the township then they should do that," he said. "If their path isn't clear and the roads are closed then it's safer for them to stay put and seek protection in their properties."

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