Bushfires in Australia – Royal Commission Submission

A submission to The Royal Commission into
National Natural Disaster Arrangements

Presented by Viv Forbes
On Behalf of The Saltbush Club

PDF version: https://saltbushclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/bushfire-enquiry.pdf

The Landscape and wildlife of Australia was shaped and then maintained by frequent mild burning for at least 40,000 years. This reality must be recognised and it dictates that there are only two futures for Australia:

A healthy safe landscape that maintains sustainable vegetation, wildlife and people. This requires that we re-establish the successful fire regimes of the past.

OR

A dangerous and destructive landscape with too many people cowering in suburban and rural enclaves surrounded by a tinderbox of pest-ridden weeds, scrub and litter – a threat to trees, wildlife and property. This is today’s fire regime in Eastern Australia.

Our submission focusses on Bushfires. Continue reading “Bushfires in Australia – Royal Commission Submission”

The Parable of Gospers Mountain, or how aboriginal burning changed the face of Australia

By Vic Jurskis

Lieutenant Watkin Tench arrived at Warrane (Sydney Cove) with the First Fleet in 1788. Tench described a diversity of birds and animals, present in small numbers:

The country, I am of opinion, would abound with birds, did not the natives, by perpetually setting fire to the grass and bushes, destroy the greater part of the nests; a cause which also contributes to render small quadrupeds scarce. Continue reading “The Parable of Gospers Mountain, or how aboriginal burning changed the face of Australia”

Farmers Take Legal Action After Fires

‘We saw this coming for years’: Farmers take legal action after fires.

Six farmers are preparing to take legal action against the NSW state government, arguing a massive bushfire in northern NSW could have been prevented if more hazard reduction had been allowed.

In what could be the first class action after this summer’s horror bushfire season, graziers hit by the August blaze in the Guy Fawkes National Park, west of Coffs Harbour, say it was “a disaster waiting to happen”.

Read More:
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/we-saw-this-coming-for-years-farmers-take-legal-action-after-fires-20200206-p53ygl.html

Prescribed Burning Myths – the Academics vs the Bushies

By Viv Forbes, Executive Director, The Saltbush Club.

Considerable publicity is being given to an article by Byron Lamont and Tianhua He titled “Why prescribed burns don’t stop wildfires” (published in New Matilda, and also WAToday 22 January 2020).

https://newmatilda.com/2020/01/17/hazard-reduction-burns-dont-stop-wildfires-says-one-of-the-nations-most-eminent-ecologists/

Lamont and He are academics from Curtin University in WA, the former a botanist and the latter a molecular biologist. They argue against the use of fuel reduction burning in bushfire management because it does not “stop bushfires”.

The article should be filed among works of fiction. Continue reading “Prescribed Burning Myths – the Academics vs the Bushies”

Fire Triangles

By Roger Underwood

Introduction

Anyone who has studied elementary physics, or basic fire science, is familiar with the Fire Triangle. For a fire to occur three things must be present:

  • Oxygen, to enable oxidation or combustion (or, in everyday terms “burning”);
  • Fuel, which is the substance that burns; and
  • Heat, or a source of ignition, to ignite the fuel in the presence of the oxygen.

If any one of these elements is absent, a fire will not occur.

I first remember seeing this demonstrated in a laboratory when I was a high school student. Our physics teacher had a glass container from which all the air had been removed. When a lighted candle was inserted into the vacuum, it immediately went out. No air, which means no oxygen, meant no fire. A lesson never to be forgotten.

In fact, there are two Fire Triangles, and both must be understood if bushfires are to be effectively managed and bushfire damage is to be minimised. They are the Classic Fire Triangle, and the Bushfire Triangle. Continue reading “Fire Triangles”

Environmentalists Responsible for Most of Australia’s Bush Fire Problem

By Tom Harris

Recent climate change has not caused Australian bushfires. Besides the fact that many of the fires are set by people, either intentionally or by accident, a major cause of Australia’s fire problem has been the high ‘fuel loads,’ underbrush that, left to accumulate over years, acts as a tinder box for bushfires. Craig Kelly, Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives (Hughes, New South Wales), told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on January 6:

“Now, we have record fuel loads on the ground, … and every single royal commission we have had from our past bushfires have said that we have to reduce those fuel loads. And that is the main issue. And yet we have failed to do so.” Continue reading “Environmentalists Responsible for Most of Australia’s Bush Fire Problem”

“Let the Ski Resorts Burn!”

By Dr Tim Fatchen

It’s ironic that a former Olympic alpine skier should be the one offering a private bill on climate change when climate change has long been cited as a reason for removal of alpine skiing, at least in Victoria (“Independent MP Zali Steggall pushes forward with private bill on climate change” The Australian 9/1/20).

On Mt Buffalo, the small family-aimed Cresta ski area was burnt in December 2006.  Eminently defensible, the resort was intact when the then Department of Sustainability and Environment (now Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning–DELWP) ordered its crew to abandon it for a crew change an hour or more away in the valley.  On return of the next crew, the buildings were alight, and became a total loss. Continue reading ““Let the Ski Resorts Burn!””

Government by Enquiry

By Viv Forbes
20 January 2020

Politicians hide behind enquiries – their magic answer to all problems, especially bushfires.

Announcing enquiries give the impression of decisive action, they generate fees for armies of barristers, lawyers and bureaucrats, and provide momentary excitement for the media.

The proposed 2020 Australian Bushfires corrobboree will provide a grandstand for the Climate Rebellion Mob who will get starring roles on ABC/Fairfax. Big business will probably propose a carbon tax to fight bushfires while foresters and land owners will hardly be heard.

When the final report is ultimately delivered, the media will be off trumpeting some new climate “emergency” to scare the public. The expensive new report will be quietly filed with all the others. Continue reading “Government by Enquiry”