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Coles Bay Rd Blocked as Bushfire Threatens Community

Coles Bay Rd Blocked as Bushfire Threatens Community

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Bushfires Close Coles Bay Road and Esk Highway on Tasmania’s East Coast

Current Situation

On Wednesday 20 September 2023, Tasmania Police announced the closure of Coles Bay Road and parts of the Esk Highway due to bushfires. Coles Bay Road, near Friendly Beaches, is closed until further notice while a safety inspection is carried out and hazards are removed. The closure aims to ensure the road’s safety for the community.

The bushfire at Coles Bay Road remains under an Emergency Warning, according to TFS Acting Regional Chief Greg Butters. While the Coles Bay township is not immediately threatened, residents and visitors are advised to maintain awareness and vigilance.

Ground crews, assisted by three aircraft, are working actively to bring the bushfire at Coles Bay Road under control. However, due to the fire’s location, Tasmania Police have closed Coles Bay Road to all traffic. Individuals in the Friendly Beaches area who have not evacuated yet are urged to leave immediately and seek refuge in safer areas.

Evacuation and Safety Measures

For those in the Friendly Beaches area, designated Safer Places are available at the two boat ramps in Coles Bay and the Freycinet Golf Course. Additionally, an Evacuation Centre has been set up at the Swansea Town Hall, providing a safe haven for individuals unable to return home via Coles Bay Road.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a warning of strong winds expected to peak later in the evening, with a subsequent reduction in intensity in the early hours of the morning. To ensure safety, it is crucial that people stay updated with the latest information regarding the bushfires.

Impact on Surrounding Areas

Currently, a Watch and Act notice is in effect for Swanwick and Coles Bay, urging individuals in those areas to avoid the affected region. An Advice message is also in place for Tasman Highway, Apslawn, and Bicheno, advising residents and visitors to monitor the conditions closely.

To stay informed and receive local updates, it is recommended to visit the official website and tune in to ABC Radio for official notifications and announcements.

Editorial: The Threat of Bushfires and Community Preparedness

The closure of Coles Bay Road and the bushfires along Tasmania’s east coast are a stark reminder of the ongoing threat of bushfires in Australia. With the increasing frequency and severity of bushfires, it is crucial for communities to prioritize preparedness and response strategies.

Climate change has undoubtedly played a significant role in exacerbating the bushfire risk. Rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, and changing weather patterns have created ideal conditions for the rapid spread of wildfires. As a society, it is imperative that we take active steps to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to addressing the root causes of bushfires, it is vital for communities to have robust emergency plans in place. This includes early warning systems, efficient evacuation procedures, and designated safe areas. Adequate funding and support for emergency services, such as the Tasmania Fire Service, are also essential.

Community Engagement and Education

Community engagement and education play a crucial role in promoting bushfire preparedness. It is vital for residents and visitors to be aware of their surroundings, understand the local fire danger ratings, and have a clear evacuation plan. Public campaigns and initiatives focused on fire safety, such as fire drills and information sessions, can help spread awareness and empower individuals to take proactive measures.

In addition, the government and relevant authorities should prioritize investments in fire-resistant infrastructure, including effective firebreaks, fire-resistant building materials, and adequate water supplies for firefighting efforts. Building codes and regulations should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that structures are designed to withstand bushfire conditions.

The Role of Technology

Advancements in technology can also significantly enhance bushfire management and response. Remote sensing technologies, including satellite imagery and drones, can provide real-time data on fire behavior and assist in identifying hotspot areas. This information can help prioritize resources and guide decision-making during firefighting operations.

Furthermore, the development of advanced fire modelling systems can contribute to more accurate predictions of fire spread and help in planning preventive measures. Utilizing these technologies effectively requires collaboration between scientists, researchers, and government agencies to ensure access to up-to-date information and the development of comprehensive fire risk management strategies.


The closure of Coles Bay Road and the ongoing bushfires on Tasmania’s east coast serve as a reminder of the continuous threat of bushfires in Australia. Climate change, coupled with inadequate preparedness measures, poses significant risks to communities. To combat this, it is crucial for individuals, governments, and communities to work together, prioritize bushfire preparedness, and implement appropriate measures to mitigate the impacts of future fires.


Coles Bay Rd Blocked as Bushfire Threatens Community
<< photo by Kate Trifo >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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How ya going, Australia? Lachlan Reed here, your resident weatherman. I've been deciphering the Aussie skies for the better part of 20 years. From scorchers to drizzlers, I've got you covered. Don't forget your sunnies or brollies when you step out!

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