4 Oct 2012

Wild winds spark fires in Tasmania

9:17 pm on 4 October 2012

Storm-force winds of up to 100km/h have brought down powerlines, sparking several fires in the Australian state of Tasmania.

Virgin and Qantas had to divert flights back to Melbourne, with one plane aborting a landing in Hobart on Thursday, the ABC reports.

A Virgin spokesperson says 280 passengers have been affected and the airline will use a larger plane to clear the backlog.

The Tasmanian Fire Service says the fires are under control. At one stage, there were 18 power pole or vegetation fires burning.

Strong winds are continuing across the state's south, hampering efforts to restore power to 9000 customers.