This shocking report visits a burnt-out small community on the Tasmanian coast, exploring the devastating effect the bush fires raging across Australia are having on the area's vital tourism industry.
As first light hits Half Moon Bay the smouldering ruins show just how much worse things could have been if residents there hadn't run for their lives. "We had five minutes", says Peter, who along with his wife and two children had planned to stay and fight the fire. A last-minute helicopter warning convinced him to pack the car and flee their house. Those hit hardest count their losses but the reality is there isn't much left to salvage. "Fire intensities seem to be getting much worse. The whole bay is decimated", says one resident. It's also the middle of the peak tourist season and the fires have struck at time when the Tasmanian economy can least afford such a disaster. "We need absolutely visitors to survive here. Almost 60 per cent of our economy rely on visitors and so they're leaving in droves", says the mayor of Bicheno. What once was forest resembles a moonscape and it will be a long time before life returns to normal.
Published on Jan 14, 2013 journeymanpictures