Hundreds homeless but hopes up for no fatalities

MORE than 300 people are homeless as a result of the Tasmanian bushfires, according to the state government.

Emergency accommodation for these people who had either lost their homes or been displaced by the fires was being given by other households, organisations or businesses, the state Minister for Human Services, Cassy O'Connor, said.

She described the aid given as ''truly inspiring''.

The fire that took most homes, east of Hobart around Dunalley, continued burning on Wednesday but was less dangerous due to cool weather.

Hopes were rising that despite devastating property losses, Tasmania's bushfires would prove to be fatality-free.

Five days after the bushfire tore through Dunalley and other nearby communities, acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard said police had not received any official missing persons reports.

''At this point, more than 2200 individuals have been identified as safe and well,'' Mr Tilyard said.

Emergency services screened 731 properties in and around Dunalley, including 126 properties damaged or destroyed by fire, without finding any human remains.

Searches are continuing with the aid of a contingent of Victoria Police sworn in as special constables, and the preliminary screening was expected to be completed later on Wednesday.

As losses are counted, the damage bill is expected to be sharply higher than an initial $42 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.

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