Search for bodies amid Tasmania's ruins

Up to 100 people remain unaccounted for as devastating bushfires that have ravaged southern Tasmania continue to burn.

This house in Dunalley, about 40 kilometres east of Hobart, was destroyed by a bushfire. Picture: REUTERS

This house in Dunalley, about 40 kilometres east of Hobart, was destroyed by a bushfire. Picture: REUTERS

Police are searching property to property in the worst-hit towns of Dunalley, Boomer Bay and Marion Bay as they fear lives may have been lost.

More than 100 buildings have been destroyed by the fires, which continue to burn out of control in several areas of the state, but no deaths have yet been confirmed.

Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard said there were grave fears for many people yet to make contact with family or authorities.

"It's not to say those people have necessarily come to harm, but we can't totally eliminate that until we have contact with those individuals," he said.

"But we have to brace ourselves for the fact we may locate one or more deceased people.

"There are a lot of premises that need to be checked. Until we've had the opportunity to check every one of those locations we won't be in a position to confirm there have been no deaths."

He said those yet to notify family or authorities should contact the National Registration and Inquiry Service or the Red Cross.

Up to 2500 people have been evacuated from the Tasman Peninsula by boat, and another 400 were due in Hobart last night, with the Arthur Highway still closed.

At a refuge centre in Hobart's City Hall, Dunalley resident Patricia McCauley said she was relieved to get her 92-year-old mother-in-law out but had lost everything.

"We didn't have time to get frightened," she said.

Most praised the efforts of emergency workers after thousands lined up on the beach at Nubeena to catch ferries as late as 2am on Sunday.

"It got a little bit chaotic because everyone was getting a bit cranky about who had been there the longest," a Sydney woman who wished only to be known as Kathy said. "Naturally they said women, children and elderly first."

Commissioner Tilyard said police were investigating whether an escorted convoy of cars could be brought out of the peninsula on the highway before dark yesterday.

Interstate fire crews began arriving in Tasmania as four fires that had burnt out around 60,000 hectares continued to cause concern.

The Tasman Peninsula's Forcett blaze was upgraded again to the highest level on yesterday evening, with the community of Taranna being told to evacuate.

Two fires in the Derwent Valley and one on the east coast were at the watch and act level.

Another massive fire had burnt out a further 60,000 hectares in the state's remote south-west, where several bushwalkers had been flown to safety. AAP


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