Image for I have been closely following the Tasmanian fire emergency situation ...

Since my article suggesting some alterations to the TFS website and bushfire control priority measures ( HERE ), I have been closely following the Tasmanian fire emergency situation regarding government press releases, the fire control success rate,  and sometimes contentious but persuasive informed TT comments regarding various aspects of control measures adopted and not adopted. 

Regarding the TFS website: Sorry TFS, but this looks bad for your image.  If the website is not up to date and honest and informative, then I don’t see how we can have confidence in your abilities to control the fires.  By extension this reflects badly on Forestry Tas and PWS, who are your partners in bushfire control in Tasmania. 

Today, for the first time since the fires started, there is a very minimal statement from Chief Officer Freeman which at least quantifies how many people are fighting the fires, and explains how the visiting fire fighters are living in a home away from home at Stanley. 

(Tiny tents for accommodation where one can’t even stand up is not my ideal home away from home!). 

Oh yes, there was another posting on the website about some meetings to be held and an attachment about the south-west fires which was the size of a postage stamp, impossible to read or to zoom which was sensibly taken down a couple of days later. 

Why can’t any information to be presented at meetings be posted online?  What was going on with flying in water bombing aircraft from Victoria for a day?  What is Troy up to these days?  How come the TFS site still lists about 80 bushfires, when the press says only about 20 are still going? 

The L Gordon fire is still listed as “active” after approximately 50 mm rain in the past 3 days, but appears to have been abandoned. 

Sure it was windy and dangerous last Sunday and Monday, but calm and drizzly since then and presumably an ideal opportunity to totally extinguish it?  I still want to know why bulldozers have apparently not been used, why tracked vehicles fitted with large water tanks are never used, and why we don’t have modern ultra high pressure pumps to spray water over 200 metres. 

We can fly to the moon, but our best fire-fighting equipment is pathetic tankers which are limited to roads, hand tools for remote areas, and some water bombing aircraft which are borrowed from the mainland after the fires are out of control! 

One little gem of information on the TFS website though (yesterday) was this statement:

“The fire was first reported on 17 January. Most likely cause was a lightning storm on 13 January 2016” 

So much for ability to quickly detect fires and respond? 

The single most consistent comment from all the articles and blogs has been the need to quickly locate and extinguish the fires before they spread uncontrollably!