By Rado Jacob Rebek – Geologist – 12 Jan 2020
According to an article in The Weekend Australian 11-12.1.2020, page 13, CSIRO bushfire expert David Packman, speaking on Sky News, said that fuel loads for fires are 10 times greater than before European settlement and that there is urgent need to reduce fuel loads on the bush floor through control burns (also called prescribed burning – or backburning when done in an emergency).
As a geologist working in the field, I have observed local earthmoving contractors using modern machines to remove vegetation to clear sites for the drill rig and I was impressed by their skill and amazing speed at which they clear large sites.
In the case shown on above pictures, the objective was to ensure that the spinifex grass does not catch fire while drilling machinery is being used on the drill site, so that the operator placed the blade of the bucket right onto the ground. If, however, the objective was removal of the fuel loads from the bush floor, the operator would make sure that the bucket is running a few inches above the ground so that grass roots and grass seeds are preserved.
Local earthmoving contractors can make adjustments to machines to improve methods for removal of the fuel loads from the bush floor. If the smoke from control burns is an issue, mechanical removal of the fuel loads from the bush floor is an obvious alternative. Local contractors will welcome additional work and the risk of bushfires can be significantly reduced before the 2020/2021 bushfire season.
Activists demanding Action on Climate Change are diverting attention from the real problem – the accumulation of fuel loads on the bush floor since the European settlement.
It is obvious that during the summer, a ‘weather event’ consisting of a short period (a few days) of strong winds (combined with a high temperature in first part of the period) causes the spread of a bushfire, however, according to CSIRO’s expert David Packman, the focus must be on reduction of fuel loads on the bush floor through control burns.
For a summer ‘weather events’ that include strong winds, the Climate Science establishment invented the term ‘Extreme Weather Event’ and made claims that emissions of carbon dioxide caused a Global Warming and Climate Change, that there is a link between Global Warming and Climate Change and ‘Extreme Weather Events’ and that therefore emissions of carbon dioxide are the reason for more extensive bushfires.
If one compares areas adversely affected by bushfires (= ‘burnt’) in Victoria in 1851, in 2009 and in 2021/2020, one can make a conclusion that they are of ‘same order of magnitude’. In 1851, the area ‘burnt’ was about 5 million hectares, in 2009 about 0.5 million hectares and in 2021/2020 up to 11 January about 1.35 million hectares, with fires still burning.
On basis of information available, one can conclude that as early as 1851, the fuel loads for fires were an order of magnitude greater than before European settlement and the area ‘burnt’ largely depends on the fuel loads.
The fires are still burning, but protesters on Melbourne and Sydney streets and their supporters in media are already making loud demands for greater reductions of emissions of carbon dioxide, including closure of coal mines. However:
- There are still uncertainties as regards the proposed correlation between emissions of carbon dioxide and Global Warming.
- There are also uncertainties as regards the correlation between Global Warming and Climate Change – notably due to the need to take into consideration a 30-year average when making appraisals of Climate Change and bear in mind the fact that in each region of the World the Climate changes for different reasons and shows a different trend.
- There are also uncertainties as regards the correlation between Climate Change and ‘weather events’ consisting of a short period (a few days) of strong winds that during the summer period cause the spread of a bushfire.
NB: In media, the recent trend is to talk about ‘record temperatures’, but a high reading in one spot in Australia during the hottest hour in one of the days does not have any impact on the 30-year average for the whole of Australia. In other words, the term ‘record temperatures’ is the latest trick in a propaganda campaign based on political ideology.
There are multiple sources of uncertainties as regards correlation between emissions of carbon dioxide and intensity and extent of bushfires, so that the protesters and the propaganda campaign in media are diverting attention from the real problem – the fuel loads on the bush floor.
- According to CSIRO bushfire expert David Packman, the fuel loads on the bush floor that are 10 times greater than before European settlement and are that is the main cause of extensive and damaging bushfires.
- He recommended that work be undertaken to achieve a reduction of the fuel loads on the bush floor.
- Therefore, effort must be focussed on ACTIONS undertaken in next 9 months resulting in a major reduction of the fuel loads on the bush floor.
- The work should start along all roads (National Highways, State Roads, Local Government Council Roads and Roads in State Forests, Reserves and National Parks) to create ‘firebreaks’ and ensure that in 2020/2021 bushfire season all roads remain open to enable evacuation of residents and tourists and access for bushfire brigade vehicles to fight fires.
- Landowners and managers of State Forests, Reserves and National Parks must be held responsible for a reduction by ‘an order of magnitude’ of the fuel loads on the bush floor.
- Climate Change must not be used as an excuse for disastrous consequences of incompetent management.
Rado Jacob Rebek graduated as geologist from mining and metallurgy faculty of University of Ljubljana in Slovenia in 1967. He worked in exploration teams that discovered Wafi-Golpu and Wamum copper-gold deposits in Papua New Guinea, Gold Ridge gold deposit in Solomon Islands, Century zinc deposit in Queensland, Tia Maria and Mina Justa copper deposits in Peru and new bauxite deposits in SE Australia. He is still working as geologist in the field, exploring for new ore deposits in Australia and Chile.
For additional information, see this video interview with former CSIRO bushfire expert, Phil Cheney, on fuel loads and hazard reduction: