The main highway through Tasmania's bushfire-stricken south-east re-opened yesterday, allowing more residents return to their devastated communities.

The bushfire which started near Forcett 10 days ago left thousands stranded on the Tasman Peninsula after police blocked the Arthur Highway.

The Arthur Highway re-opened to all traffic at 6:00pm last night.

A bus-load of tourists was allowed through yesterday morning.

Andrew Ross, a spokesman for the Port Arthur Historic site, says that signaled the start of the return to normality.

"Many of these people have been booked in for many months," he said.

"We're absolutely delighted to be able to open up. We're gradually getting back to normal - remains to be seen whether we can actually make up for the lost numbers.

"We're certainly looking forward to getting back to full capacity as soon as possible."

About 170 properties have been destroyed by the fire, most at Dunalley and Boomer Bay.

Sam Chaffey's family shack, which he built with his father in 1954, did not survive the inferno.

"Was a little bit teary but you know there's a lot worse off than me.

"I've still got my boat, and the jeep and everything, the caravan's still there you know a lot of people lost everything," he said.

Sorell mayor Kerry Vincent says recovery for his community will be a slow process.

"Onward and upward. I think most people will be rebuilding," he said.

Meanwhile firefighting operations in Tasmania are continuing at full strength.

Tasmanians are being urged to remain vigilant with high temperatures forecast for later this week.

Residents of the Tasman Peninsula, which has been hardest hit by the bushfires, are warned to continue to be alert for fire dangers.

The fire at Lake Repulse, north-west of Hobart, has now burnt more than 11,500 hectares in the past 10 days.


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