Image for Mushroom time again

Coughing, sneezing, wheezing.

I was at it for days, just as soon as that great black-brown mushroom smoke cloud reared its head over the hills south of Surges Bay.

The sunshine of a welcome Indian summer turned to ‘Forestry Tasmania oily-yellow’ and the stench of burning clearfell debris rolled across the Huon, into the nostrils and down into my lungs. The only pluses to come were the usual marvellous Forestry Tasmania-generated sunsets for a few evenings.

It’s the same old story, year after year, as our forest regulators blindly forge ahead with their annual destructive (and pyromaniacal) zeal to prop up an economically unsupportable industry.

Before the first autumn burn-off match is struck, the guts have been torn out of huge swaths of inadequately researched habitat and life has been made miserable or impossible for unknown numbers of those fascinating critters our state’s mindless tourist touters rave about to potential visitors. (How Forestry Tasmania can be allowed to involve itself in “tourism activity” beats me.) We are told that the infernos on land that has been raped in a frenzy of clearfell destruction are ignited to trigger forestry “regeneration”. Tasmania, I have come to realise, is a land of bad jokes, endlessly retold.

It takes an intellectually challenged, morally bankrupt ruling class to make the regeneration claim; it takes a mindlessly apathetic and educationally ignorant community to believe it.

It was good to see the big low managing to reach the state’s southern latitudes on Tuesday night. We needed it for the soil. And I needed it to damp down the pollution in the air and ease my coughing, sneezing and wheezing.

I know there’s more to come — burn-offs and coughing, sneezing and wheezing I mean — but for the moment I’m getting a bit of relief.



— Bob Hawkins

First published: 2011-03-25 07:13 AM

Mercury Monday:

Smoky start to the day

29 March 2011 10.16am

SOUTHERN Tasmania has woken to a spectacular sunrise haze-filled views as smoke from forest burn-offs choke the sky this morning.

Forestry Tasmania regeneration burns and other burns from private forest companies were lit yesterday.

Forestry Tasmania said it had had hoped to conduct 18 burns across the state yesterday but still conditions meant its program had been significanty reduced.

Smoke haze blanketed most of suburban Hobart this morning creating an orange sunrise and reducing visability.

In a release late yesterday Forestry Tasmania detailed three high-intensity burns in the Huon valley’s Hastings area and a low-intensity fuel reduction burn on the western shore of the Derwent between Ouse and Hamilton.

In the state’s North and North West there was a low-intensity burn 30km east of Launceston and five high-intensity burns in the Murchison district south of Smithton.

Forestry Tasmania predicted that “some smoke may be present near ground level in the Huon Valley” yesterday evening but was expected to move out to sea today.