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”.
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”
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:
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!””
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”
Too many recent headlines say: “A fierce new bushfire is burning in the XYZ National Park. Nearby residents should prepare to evacuate.”
Neglected, overgrown, weed and log infested, un-grazed, unburnt, government-protected parkland is a danger to all neighbours. All it needs is a fire-bug, a fearful neighbour attempting a too-late back-burn, or a lightning strike, and a wildfire is inevitable, especially when the weather is hot, dry and windy. Wild-fires will not stay in their National Park. Continue reading “National Parks Breed Bushfires”
No one should be surprised that our bush is ablaze and our cities are smothered in smoke.
For decades now we have been locking up land, banning burn-offs and encouraging eucalypt fire-trees.
On a hot day, the blue haze on distant timbered hills is intensified by highly-flammable eucalypt oil vapour, waiting for a spark.
The Australian landscape of open forests and treeless grasslands was developed and maintained under an aboriginal regime of continual small fires. This was followed by planned cool-season burn-offs by European graziers.
But a few decades ago this safe black and white fire regime was replaced by green-worshippers who continually expanded the area of locked-up protected parks (now over 11% of Australia). Then they peppered private land with protected-vegetation fire hazards, and then hampered undergrowth clean-ups and burn-offs. Continue reading “Creating Bushfires”