Bushfires are Nothing New

The following is an excerpt from Jennifer Marohasy’s blog:


The historical evidence indicates fires have burnt very large areas before, and it has been hotter.

Some of the catastrophe has been compounded by our refusal to prepare appropriately. Expert Dr Christine Finlay explains the importance of properly managing the ever increasing fire loads in an article in The Australian. While there is an increase in the area of national park with Eucalyptus forests, there has been a reduction in the area of hazard reduction burning.

The situation is perhaps also made worse by fiddling with the historical temperature record. This will affect the capacity of those modelling bushfire behaviour to obtain an accurate forecast.

We have had an horrific start to the bushfire season, and much is being said about the more than 17 lives lost already, and that smoke has blown as far as New Zealand. Unprecedented, has been the claim. But just 10 years ago, on 9 February 2009, 173 lives were lost in the Black Saturday inferno. On 13th January 1939 (Black Friday), 2 million hectares burnt with ash reportedly falling on New Zealand. That was probably the worst bushfire catastrophe in Australia’s modern recorded history in terms of area burnt and it was 80 years ago: January 13, 1939.

According to the Report of the Royal Commission that followed, it was avoidable.

In terms of total area burnt: figures of over 5 million hectares are often quoted for 1851. The areas now burnt in New South Wales and Victoria are approaching this.


5 thoughts on “Bushfires are Nothing New”

  1. Greens are demanding:

    “We are in a climate emergency and we again call on the government to act immediately by:

    Phasing out coal, oil and methane gas to ensure pollution reduction targets are consistent with science.

    Supporting the rapid transition to a renewable energy economy that will produce tens of thousands of new jobs

    Commit to convening an emergency summit and investing significantly to ensure we have all the available resources for the current emergency.

    Calling a Royal Commission to address all elements of these fires, from land management and national disaster responses to climate change and mitigation”.



    I trust any Royal Commission will examine “Land management” including:

    Greens website, 14 December 2019: https://greens.org.au/bushfires “let us kill off the furphy of clearing trees to protect homes. Trees around your home make very little difference to fire risk . . . ” (via Wayback Machine)

    Greens website, 6 January 2020: https://greens.org.au/bushfires “The Australian Greens support hazard reduction burns and backburning . . . ”




  2. Green groups are not held to account. Journalists, on the whole, do not ask hard questions of these groups. Those that dare to ask such questions are vilified routinely.

    I believe that this process started when education became a sacred cow of Labor politics, rather than simply a means to an end. University courses multiplied like rabbits, with many graduates in both journalism and environmental studies having the outward fluffy exterior of a cute bunny, whilst their ever-growing teeth chew down those they see as ‘deniers’ as surely as a rabbit plague destroys a standing crop.

    Education as propaganda would describe much of what even young children are taught of the environment. By the time the young reach university, the effects are so entrenched that it is nigh-on impossible to have an educated discussion about the environment with many of the most environmentally-conscious and educated generation we have ever seen.

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