Tasmanian Bushfires

The most well known Tasmanian bushfires are referred to as the 2013 Tasmanian Bushfires and the 1967 Tasmanian Bushfires.

The 1967 Tasmanian Bushfires are also referred to as the Black Tuesday Bushfires. Some people might view these as once off event, however there is a significant history of Bushfires in Tasmania.

For a map and information on current bushfires in Tasmania, please click this link to our Tasmanian bushfires live map page.

The Tasmanian bushfire of 2013 burns a farming shed
The Tasmanian bushfire of 2013 burns a farming shed

If you are wanting information on specifically the 2013 or the 1967 bushfires then click either the Tasmanian Bushfires 2013 link or the Tasmanian Bushfires 1967 link, you will be taken to our dedicated pages for those fires.

Tasmanian has a long history of bushfires, Aborigines used fire for land management and hunting well before the arrival of Europeans in 1803. Naturally occurring fires, which started from lightning strikes were also common.

When early Europeans first arrived in Tasmania, they also used fire as a land management tool.

Since early the arrival of Europeans, there has been a number of major bushfires, many of these fires caused infrastructure damage and loss of life.

In January 1854 there was a large bushfire in the Huon and Port Cygnet areas, there was no information collected on fire size, however 14 people were killed and a number injured. It also destroyed farming infrastructure and homes.

From December 1897 until January 1898 a number of bushfires burnt around the Hobart and Mount Wellington areas. 6 people were killed and in the area between Oyster Cove and Mount Wellington 43 properties were destroyed. These destroyed properties included 2 churches, a police station, post office and the Longley Hotel. There was also a large amount of damage to farming infrastructure.

The summer of 1933 -1934 was also a tough year for bushfires in Tasmania. Although not much information is held on these bushfires, there was significant fires in the Derwent and Huon areas and it is known that a large timber mill was destroyed.


A couple watch homes burn in the 1967 Tasmanian bushfires.
A couple watch homes burn in the 1967 Tasmanian bushfires.

In 1967 the deadly Black Tuesday Bushfires occurred killing a large number of people and destroying over 1,000 homes. Due to the significance of this event, there is a dedicated page with more details on these fires, just click the link above to go to the page.

The town of Zeehan was threatened by a large bushfire over a number of days in Febuary of 1981, luckily there was no major damage but fire crews struggled with its containment.

In February 1982 one person was killed and two seriously injured in a 5,000ha bushfire in the areas of Broadmarsh and Kempton. It also destroyed 8 buildings, 38 outbuildings, 3,000 head of livestock and cause substantial damage to farming infrastructure and equipment.

In Febuary 1993 a 2,400ha bushfire took crews three weeks to contain and extinguish, the town of Coal River Valley was threatened by the fire, however there was no serious damage.

A bushfire started at Ridgeway in January 1998 and burnt through Fern Tree, Mount Nelson, Taroona and Bonnet Hill. It is estimated that 50 people were injured and 7 homes destroyed. The fire was the result of a re ignition of a previous bushfire.

Major bushfires in Tasmania have increased since the year 2000, In January 2003 a bushfire burnt for three weeks through the areas of Brighton, Broadmarsh and Mount Dromedary, no properties were lost.

There was a number of Bushfires during the summer of 2006-2007.

In October the Forest Fire Danger index reached 123, which is Catastrophic and unusual for that time of year. A deliberately lit fire burnt through 800ha and was a significant threat to homes, it also caused major disruption to power distribution as well as traffic, including access to Hobart Airport.

At the same time in December of 2006, two bushfires burnt in the east coast and the south of Tasmania.

Tasmanian Bushfire water bomber
Tasmanian Bushfire water bomber

The fire on the East Coast impacted the towns of Four Mile Creek, Scamander and St Marys, as well as many smaller communities in the area. The bushfire killed 1 person, destroyed 26 homes and 28 out buildings.

A large bushfire in the south, which was burning at the same time near Kellevie, proved difficult to contain due to issues accessing the fire as a result of the terrain in the area. It took several weeks for firefighters to extinguish and caused an estimated $50 million in damage to Forestry Tasmania plantations.

In February 2007 a bushfire, which was deliberately lit, burned 12,500ha on King Island. Firefighters had issues extinguishing the fire due to the islands location and it caused serious environmental damage to the Lavinia Reserve.

In March 2008 a bushfire burnt through 18,500ha in the Heemskirk area, no major losses were reported however the fire did threaten the Savage River mine.

A wet winter in 2009 broke a prolonged drought, this resulted in significant growth in vegetation across Tasmania. Three homes were lost on the 20th of November and numerous other damaged during a bushfire at Dolphin Sands.

Several other major fires happened over the Tasmanian summer of 2009-2010.

A deliberately lit bushfire in January 2010 burnt 6,500ha near Wayatinah, it burnt for several days and destroyed a large area of pine plantation and regenerated forest, plus farming infrastructure.

Other large bushfires happened in January of 2010 including a fire in Lake Macintosh which burnt 3500ha and Montagu which burnt 2,200ha.

Erickson Air Crane makes a drop on a Tasmanian bushfire
Erickson Air Crane makes a drop on a Tasmanian bushfire

The 2011-2012 bushfire season was relatively quiet, however a large bushfire did burn in the area of Meadowbank, burning 5,200ha, no homes were reported lost.

The 2012 – 2013 bushfire season saw a number of large, damaging bushfires. Including the group of fires referred to as the 2013 Tasmanian Bushfires, for more information on these bushfires simply click this Tasmanian Bushfires 2013 link.