The NSW Far South Coast Fires in Review

By Ian Hitchcock, Dalmeny.

On New Year’s Eve, I woke early to the sound of television reports on the building fire risk. My wife, was worried about the worsening fire reports and the location of our residence in Eucalyptus Drive Dalmeny, in the middle of a eucalyptus forest.

At 9 AM our electricity supply failed. By 1 PM we had no Internet or mobile phone service. By 3PM our land line went down. We then turned to local radio for fire reports from the ever-reliable ABC South East. The station was nowhere to be found. A local commercial radio station did it’s best to disseminate useful information, but referred us to information available on an Internet that had failed hours earlier. A neighbour drove to the Dalmeny Fire station, only to learn that our valiant fire fighters were as ill-informed as the Dalmeny public on the status of the local fire front. Continue reading “The NSW Far South Coast Fires in Review”

Ex-NSW Fire Chief Joins Climate Crazies

Greg Mullins’ [former Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner] came out the closet about a year ago and joined Flannery’s Climate Council. Greg Mullins was reported in the papers on all the things his father had told him about 1939 when “the sky seemed to be on fire every night”.

John Mulligan lived through the Black Friday fires that burnt two million hectares of Victoria and killed 71 people. There were hundreds of fires in East Gippsland at that same time, but no major problems because the bush was kept clean by burning and grazing. John’s family weren’t worried, even when his uncle’s car repeatedly stopped because of vapour locks in the fuel lines with the extreme heat. John has formed the East Gippsland Wildfire Taskforce to try and restore sanity. If we get fires under the same weather conditions today, they’ll destroy everything from Bairnsdale to Sydney. Continue reading “Ex-NSW Fire Chief Joins Climate Crazies”

Climate Change Dreams vs Real Action to Reduce Fuel Loads and make Roads Safer

by Jacob Rebek,
January 2020

SBS and ABC news are claiming that bushfires are definite proof that Climate Change is real.

This one-sided focus on Climate Change has overlooked the urgent work needed to prepare for the next bushfire season. Continue reading “Climate Change Dreams vs Real Action to Reduce Fuel Loads and make Roads Safer”

Forests, Fuel, Fires and Fauna – Ignorance Increases Bushfire Risk

by Dr David Blackall
January 2020

Over four years, from 2013 to 2017, before retiring from teaching university-based journalism, I worked in the field with an ecologist and her Masters of Science students. We were using remote cameras and other data collection techniques, at my rain-forest wildlife refuge in Kangaroo Valley (NSW).

An Australian Wallaby. Image Credit:

Though I had seen them thirty years ago, we found no apex predator, the native quoll (Eastern Quoll and the Tiger Quoll [extinct]). However – there were foxes, feral cats, European rats, and mice, galore. This was bad, as the apex predator (the native quoll) is crucial to forest management and indicative to ecological health. This data also showed that there were few native herbivores keeping the forest floor trimmed. My wildlife refuge is surrounded on three sides by a huge nature reserve, proclaimed in 1937, so in theory, it should be fairly clean of feral animals. Continue reading “Forests, Fuel, Fires and Fauna – Ignorance Increases Bushfire Risk”

Fuel Loads for Fires are 10 Times Greater than before European Settlement

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). Continue reading “Fuel Loads for Fires are 10 Times Greater than before European Settlement”

Royal Commission into the Bush Fires of January, 1939

It has all happened before:

In the State of Victoria, the month of January of the year 1939 came towards the end of a long drought which had been aggravated by a severe hot, dry summer season.

For more than twenty years the State of Victoria had not seen its countryside and forests in such travail.

Continue reading “Royal Commission into the Bush Fires of January, 1939”

Fires Expose Green Folly

Green Folly locked up 11% of Australia in a tinder-box of bushfire fuel, much of which is now burnt or burning.

Green Folly closed forest tracks and gates, expelled foresters and timber-workers and prevented property owners from removing flammable fuel from their own land and adjacent roads, parks and forests. Those responsible for these follies should face Class Action. Continue reading “Fires Expose Green Folly”

The Bush Fire – Henry Lawson, 1905

The Bush Fire
Henry Lawson, 1905

Ah, better the thud of the deadly gun,
   and the crash of the bursting shell,
Than the terrible silence where drought is fought
   out there in the western hell;
And better the rattle of rifles near,
   or the thunder on deck at sea,
Than the sound — most hellish of all to hear —
   of a fire where it should not be. Continue reading “The Bush Fire – Henry Lawson, 1905”

Put Foresters Back in the Forests

by Viv Forbes, Executive Director, The Saltbush Club

There was a time when Australian foresters kept Australian forests safe and productive. They maintained access tracks bridges and fire breaks, undertook prescribed burning, cleared flammable litter from the forest floor, cut suckers, manned fire lookouts and maintained their own fire-fighting crews in decentralised districts. University-trained professional foresters were supported by tough experienced rangers who learned their job in the bush.

Almost every advance in bushfire management in Australia, from the science of fire behaviour to aerial burning was thanks to our foresters. Into the 1980’s they were regarded as international leaders.

To pay for good forest management, sections of the forest were logged, allowing ground space and sunlight for the swift re-growth of new trees. Continue reading “Put Foresters Back in the Forests”