One dead, properties devastated in fire: reports

There are unconfirmed reports one person has died and at least 65 properties have been destroyed in a devastating bushfire that swept through a town near Hobart.

A police team has landed in Dunalley, about 50km east of Hobart, to investigate reports of a death.

Acting police commissioner Scott Tilyard told ABC24 there were as yet no confirmed reports of casualties from the blaze, which began near Forcett before it struck the small town mid-afternoon on Friday.

It is understood a Tasmanian Fire Service crew were caught in the fire and while sheltering in their truck, saw a man attempting to protect his home. They believed he may have died shortly after.

Mr Tilyard said Dunalley had been hardest hit by the bushfires that raged through large areas of eastern Tasmania, fuelled by low humidity and temperatures above 40 degrees.

''We believe there is substantial property damage in that township and there are unconfirmed reports of up to 65 buildings and other business premises that have been burned by the fire,'' he said.

Electricity and communications have been knocked out in the area, making the task of emergency services more difficult.

There were also reports of a further 15 buildings lost at nearby Boomer Bay, he said.

About 50 people were sheltering at the water's edge at Boomer Bay, but they were ''quite safe'', Mr Tilyard said. A police boat was sent to pick them up.

Tasmanian Fire Service chief officer Mike Brown said firefighters were hoping to take advantage of cooler conditions over the weekend to contain and control many blazes.

Temperatures of up to 25 degrees and light rain are forecast for Saturday, with similar conditions expected on Sunday.


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