Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Environment

Tasmania Burns Again in 2019 …

Fires in Tasmania ... abc PIC

Hopefully at the next federal election the politicians’ election tactic of creating fear about a pending terrorist threat will be abandoned  and replaced by a  promise of a more  applicable and useful action such as averting a real and increasing threat – that of bushfires.

Re-reading Lyndall Rowley’s article , “Zero tolerance of fires in Australia” in the ‘Tasmanian Times’ (15th February 2016 HERE) and also by observing  the voluminous responses to her article it is obvious that the increase in bushfires in all Australian states is a genuine community concern.

Lyndall Rowley needs to be commended for her responses – she has not allowed local animosities and political claptrap to divert her from the topic and her concerns.

One cannot do other than cringe when reading the clichéd and customary platitudes expressed by the Tasmanian politicians in their acknowledgement of the firefighters’ commitment.

Some of the firefighters will again be involved in the hopeless task of attending to bushfires in Tasmania, as well as bushfires in other parts of Australia, whilst politicians continue to play political games.

The many reactions to Lyndall Rowley, Claire Gilmour and Patrick Synge’s articles, must tell politicians that there is a real concern within the Australian community (not just Tasmania) about the effectiveness of our underfunded and under-resourced state fire services and their lack of preparedness to deal with the ever increasing number of bushfires.

Many elderly people in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have last year been inhaling heavily smoke laden air – and in NSW as recently as this week and this has no doubt been damaging their health.

Surely Tasmanian hospitals must have had a great increase in admissions related to respiratory and cardiac complaints.

The Government’s inept responses are another indication of no action and a continuation of underfunding of our inadequate fire services.

This inadequacy has recently been confirmed by evidence that the firefighting efforts were making very little or any impact at all on the raging bushfires in Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria.

But we were warned of the Government’s inaptitude after Tony Abbot’s comment, ”Australia has always had bush fires and always will.” So no further action was proposed despite the new available technology.

Never mind the continued underfunded and inadequate state firefighting units manned by part-time volunteers – conservatism will romanticise the inadequacies as a cultural inheritance.

Politicians were quick to respond to the traditional vote winners of security and border protection.

Australian deaths due to worldwide terrorist attacks from 1973 to 2016 total 113 (excluding the military). Many of those deaths happened outside the jurisdiction of the Australian government and fell outside the control of  Australian security measures.

Within Australia some of them happened because of the failure of the judicial system which allowed mentally deranged potential mass murderers to walk within the community whilst on bail for suspicion of murder.

The Australian government has responded to these acts of terrorism by passing laws restricting individual Australian citizens’ freedom and establishing security measures at an estimated cost of over 30 billion.

Bush fires in Australia since 1960  killed 564 people, some of them volunteer fire fighters and it destroyed 9656 dwellings, killed 82500 livestock, destroyed miles of fencing, power lines and many farm and road vehicles.

This tragic loss of life and large economic cost does not seem to have actioned the politicians in the same way as the vote winning issues of security and terrorism.

Since 2003, the frequency of bushfires per year have increased at an alarming rate of four times as many per year.

Isn’t it time that our politicians faced up to the fact that our firefighting in Australia isn’t working? The community is frightened and it is the government’s obligation to improve the firefighting agencies’ effectiveness – a more important mission than their hobby horse focus on security and border control in the hope that it will ameliorate their re-election chances?

Surely more uncontrollable bushfires per year and more lives and dwellings lost must tell them something and a little more is required than just a lukewarm thank you to the firefighters and some cheap political point scoring.

Billions of dollars are spent on defence on behalf of what our late ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser called our “Dangerous Allies” in the Middle East theatres of war.

Wars initiated because of so called “weapons of mass destruction “which never existed whilst the “home bushfires burn.”

The Australian Government is spending billions of dollars on a theatre of war in an area where they shouldn’t be and without any real objective and positive outcome.

The existing volunteer fire force in all regions should be complemented by a permanent federal fire and emergency trained task force ( non-military) which can be deployed on very short notice with the help of satellite fire detection.

That force should consist of people, not trained in warfare, but regularly trained for emergency situations – personnel who can be dropped in to inaccessible areas by helicopter to commence firefighting when the fire is in its very early stage.

Monies from the defence budget should be diverted to the purchase of water bomber aircraft and water crane helicopters to form part of that federal emergency task force.

Bob Lubout is a ‘climate refugee’ from Perth WA. He has been living in Penguin on the NW coast of Tasmania with his artist partner Sandra and their two dogs, Tessie and Winston since 2013. He went to Curtin University as a ‘mature age student’ where he gained a Bachelor of Education majoring in Sociology and Politics and then onto Murdoch University where he continued   his studies  for  a Master’s in Education and Science and Technology Policy. He worked  as a TAFE lecturer, teaching electronics, maths, science and aviation. Bob now enjoys spending his time researching and writing and flying around this beautiful part of the world in a small aircraft. 

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45 Comments

45 Comments

  1. Clive Stott

    January 31, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    There’s an interesting article here on page 2 of Taswater’s Customer Newsletter for January-March 2019.

    https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj306Do4pfgAhXXdn0KHe2KAIwQFjABegQIAxAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.taswater.com.au%2FArticleDocuments%2F512%2FTasWater%2520Customer%2520Newsletter%2520%2520January%25202019.pdf.aspx&usg=AOvVaw29gwGI1Po4iHHPluNcOqFu

    [Clive: This link is shorter: http://tinyurl.com/TCN-JM-19
    — Moderator]

    “David Graham, TasWater’s Manager of Asset Strategy, says any fire can impact the quality of raw water we use to supply our treatment facilities — both immediately after a fire and for some time to come.
    Fire in a water catchment area can result in high levels of ash compromising the water quality, while damage to vegetation can change the pattern of runoff for extended periods.”

    There you go, and the fact that we have also been asked to use less water means Taswater’s income will be less. Water costs will rise, so will council rates rise, too?

    Thank you Liberals, for letting the fires rage .. but then what is a surplus budget for?

  2. Mike Seabrook

    January 31, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    All these lands gifted to the world, with the councils and Tasmanian residents picking up the bills and the pollution from the carbon, etc.

    • Who is paying the carbon taxes?

    • Who is paying for the upkeep and the fire prevention and insurance costs against fires on these lands?

    • who is paying the land tax and the council rates?

    • William Boeder

      February 2, 2019 at 12:19 pm

      Hello Mike Seabrook …

      I wonder if Guy ‘the non magnificent’ Barnett MP has bothered reading the latest about the innumerable ills of clear-fell logging and the ensuing destroyment post the delinquent burning of Tasmania’s former vastly extended Native Forests?

      One surety is that the State’s Logging delinquent supremo along with this State’s woodchippers, would do their utmost to gag this latest scientific revelation.

      As for fire prevention strategies, I cannot imagine how little of this strategy would have been commissioned by this State’s uncaring Liberal puffery party ministers, as one must forever bear in mind that their imprimatur is to reallocate resources funding to sources that provide little benefit to the State and its people.

      Indeed if I were a Liberal party minister I would urgently adorn my person with a shape-concealing cape, along with a false moustache and a beard.

      • Verdun Schmerl

        February 3, 2019 at 6:10 pm

        Destroyment. Is that the same as destruction?

        And Barnett isn’t in charge of Forestry any more.

        • William Boeder

          February 4, 2019 at 2:57 pm

          Verdun Schmerl, irrespective of your comment I stand by all that I incorporate in my comments
          Guy Barnett MP is a minister that is still being tolerated as a member of Will Hodgman’s team given the whole of Hodgman’s Liberal government ministers including himself as Premier in Tasmania, are all under suspicion for their non representation of the citizens of this State.

          Perhaps Mr. Verdun Schmerl you might relate this matter to your ministerial mate, make no mistake that MP Guy Barnett serving as minister for the portfolio of DPIPWE happens to still be behind of so much broad scale destruction of Tasmania’s natural environment, simply for the prospect of other individuals profiting via this deplorable, or even reprehensible type of undertaking.

          Destroyment Vs Destruction, a piddling of difference maybe so, however it is a word found in the works of TS Eliot and that’s good enough for me.
          Tasmania’s 3rd World logging practices are banned in a number of progressive European countries.
          So what may be your role in Tasmanian society? Or are you simply a paid servant, serving under the sobriquet of a non registered individual intent to serve the auspices of this no longer credible State Liberal minister?

  3. Simon Warriner

    January 31, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Yesterday I listened to the TFS spokesperson via the ABC telling the community they it was using water bombing to hold a new fire at Murdunna (on the Tasman Peninsula) until ground crews could get it under control. There was real urgency in the telling, and around the actions.

    This is precisely the strategy and attitude I called for in my submission to the inquiry after the Dunalley fires. It is centred around the perfectly sane and reasonable strategy of putting little fires out “before they get big enough to fight properly” with all the attendant mayhem and destruction.

    It was delivered on a day when resources were busy elsewhere with plenty to do.

    When all the fire and fury is over, someone responsible needs to explain in forensic detail why that same sense of urgency and deployment of resources was not applied to the Revoiux Road fire when it was in its infancy, growing from nothing to a paltry 6.5 hectares in the four days before it took off, and why resourcing decreased in the period that it grew from 6.5 to 38.6 hectares.

    Campaign fires are the wet dreams of arsonists. What does that make those whose attitudes and actions enable them?

    Quite where that leaves the media that cover them I am not sure.

    We will have to wait to see where this story goes.

    • Clive Stott

      January 31, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      Spot on, Simon.
      “I’m a little fire engine Flick is my name.
      They won’t let me put out fires isn’t that a shame …”

      This was on Feb 2016, three years earlier:

      https://www.examiner.com.au/story/3708445/premier-commits-to-inquiry-after-fires/

      Peer assessment, yes that works every time – not.

      “… how to better plan for projected increased fire risk and how to better respond in future” Will Hodgman said.

      Well, how did we go?

      • Simon Warriner

        January 31, 2019 at 10:30 pm

        About as well as they have done everywhere else.

  4. John Hawkins

    January 30, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    With the fires having impacted the Ta Ann Newood site, and Castle Forbes, this Mercury article is of some relevance.

    Is this an Act of God?

    “NICK CLARK, Mercury
    May 11, 2014 12:00am

    STRUGGLING timber company Ta Ann Tasmania bought $136,800 worth of wine from its executive dir­ector Evan Rolley in 2013 — the same year that the company received $20.3 million under the Tasmanian Forests Agreement.
    The federal government payment came after Ta Ann surrendered 108,000 cubic metres of peeler billets from its contracted 265,000 cubic metres.

    The annual report shows the company would have recorded a $12 million loss in 2013 but for the federal government compensation payment.

    In November 2012 Mr Rolley described the company as being on a “knife edge” and threatened that the company could shut its Tasmanian operations because of parliamentary delays in the signing of the forest agreement.

    The Malaysian-owned company’s Tasmanian subsidiary bought the wine from Mr Rolley’s Heriots Point Wines vineyard at Castle Forbes Bay, south of Hobart.

    Mr Rolley when he was Forestry Tasmania chief executive, fronting a hearing with the then premier Paul Lennon. Mr Rolley said the wine sale was completely separate to the terms of his employment contract.

    He denied a suggestion from the Sunday Tasmanian that the purchase was akin to a success fee.

    Ta Ann Tasmania general manager Robert Yong said the company purchased the wine quite appropriately and arranged a special company labelled bottling.

    “The price also included freight, storage and insurance requirements for cellaring,’’ he said.

    “The wine will be held for a number of years and will be used progressively at a range of company special functions and events for employees and customers.’’

    Mr Rolley said the price for the pinot noir was about $35 a bottle — indicating a purchase of about 300 cases.

    Mr Rolley, 61, became executive director of Ta Ann Tasmania in March 2012 as the company was the target of an environmental campaign during TFA negotiations. He took a key role in advocating Ta Ann’s case and pushing for the forest agreement.

    When the agreement was signed last June Ta Ann was promised $26 million as compensation for agreeing to surrender the resource.

    The following month Ta Ann was promised $7.5 million towards a $15 million plywood mill project at Smithton under the Labor Government’s jobs and growth plan.

    Ta Ann operates mills at Lonnavale and Smithton and employs 82 people — down from 134 in 2011.

    Ta Ann’s report says that the remaining federal government funds ($5.7m) will be acknowledged in its accounts once there is reasonable assurance the company will get the funds.

    The latest report reveals that Ta Ann’s total current liabilities exceed assets by $17.8 million.

    Ta Ann recorded a $10.2 million loss in 2012.”

  5. Clive Stott

    January 30, 2019 at 2:42 am

    Geoscience has been providing Sentinel Hotspot monitoring every 2 hours since the middle of 2016.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-11/real-time-bushfire-monitoring-system-to-be-developed/6688510

    Sentinel Hotspots can be viewed here:
    https://sentinel.ga.gov.au/#/

    We have real-time and historical lightning strike information available to us from GPATS at http://www.gpats.com.au/home and from Blitzortung at http://en.blitzortung.org/live_dynamic_maps2.php

    We have real-time air quality monitoring at https://epa.tas.gov.au/epa/air/monitoring-air-pollution/real-time-air-quality-data-for-tasmania

    Planned burns orthodoxy
    “At issue here is the fact that the conventional wisdom of fire fighters is flawed.
    Hazard reduction burning…has less effect on bushfires burning during extreme or catastrophic conditions.
    For example, Marysville in Victoria was devastated on Black Saturday despite a ring of previous hazard reduction burning.”
    – Associate Professor Geoff Cary specialist in bushfire science ANU.
    https://cleanairtas.com/departments/bushfire-prevention-questioned-after-lancefield12.3.16.pdf

    So if we have been provided with all the relevant information I think it is fair to ask, why then is Tasmania burning and why are we having to breathe carcinogenic smoke many times over what is termed safe (5ug/m3) for days on end?

    I’m just looking now at Geeveston’s PM2.5 is 1130ug/m3

  6. Claire Gilmour

    January 29, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    Where’s the government? Where are the politicians? Where is Will Hodgman? Why aren’t they saying anything? Are they all still on holiday as Tassie burns?

    Government reps in hiding won’t make the fires go away ! What, your media advisors are struggling to find the words for you ?

    Weak and useless!

  7. spikey

    January 29, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    excellent article

    I imagine the armed forces
    busy parroting and pirating
    under auspicious suspicion
    would honestly prefer
    to battle fires
    than WMD, children overboard, and illegal boat people
    or the next country with untapped wealth
    to plunder and dehumanise
    by more corporate pirates

    water not bombs

  8. Tom Nilsson

    January 29, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Good article.

  9. Chris Lewis

    January 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Excellent article, correct strategy.

    The concept of diverting money from an out-of-control zero targeted defence budget to national fire management on the ground is so sensible.

    The rapidly rising fire risk across Australia is a massive priority going wrong. So many people are now wondering what will it take to ignite the political wake-up call. The nightmare is something chilling .. like the burning of an entire town that takes out all the people, buildings, infrastructure, and the local environment.

    We’re already in goose-bump territory because we’ve had partial wipe-outs in several states. The hope is we get collective action before the total nightmare become reality.

    • Mike Seabrook

      January 29, 2019 at 6:02 pm

      Re fire risk – we will only have sanity when the insurance risk assessments are properly done and the accountability issues are properly addressed .. and look out for electricity bills going up when the fire risk of transmission lines is properly costed.

  10. Steve Biddulph

    January 29, 2019 at 11:11 am

    I just want to say what a terrific article that is. So clear and well researched, and such a focused message.

    Thankyou for writing it. I’m glad you have come to live in Tasmania!

    • Bob Lubout

      January 29, 2019 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks, Steve.

      A comment coming from such a well known author is a great compliment.

  11. max

    January 29, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Realist … who cares who conducts fuel reduction burns? They are totally useless, endanger the health of the people carrying out the burns and endanger everyone else who is forced to breath smoke and 2.5 particulate. They release CO2 that is the prime cause of our drying world. The present catastrophic fires are proof positive that the present fuel reduction burns are not the answer.

    The Dunalley fire was caused be a fuel reduction burn. Was it the Murdunna reduction burn? Grasses are the main cause of so-called bushfires as they are the wick that sets fire to the powder keg.

    To stop devastating fires, every blade of grass would have to be removed .. and that is impossible. Fuel reduction burns are simply a wast of time. As soon as the ash is cool enough and becomes damp, grass and fire-loving plants regenerate. Within months the area of the reduction burn is back and ready to burn again.

    I was a firefighter at Cygnet in the 1967 fire. I saw at first hand what caused the fires. Dry grass fires spread the fire, it ignited eucalyptus oil in the tree tops and caused rolling balls of fire. These balls of fire only singed the tops of trees. Embers ignited secondary fires that burnt the fuel load on the floor of forests.

    In a drying world it is impossible to control catastrophic fires. The only defence is instant response. We have to have a water bomber on standby, 24-7.

    • John

      January 29, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      “In a drying world it is impossible to control catastrophic fires. The only defence is instant response. We have to have a water bomber on standby, 24-7.”

      Now let’s see how we can get this truism into the heads of our brain-dead elected members! “Watch and Act” has to go out the door and be replaced by See and Smother. Smoke! let’s bomb it!

    • MJF

      January 29, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      Max, Mr Langfield (who appears here quite regularly) states that indigenous fire stick farming is the way to go, and he believes no serious fires occur where this cultural practice is employed.

      This indigenous activity is of course just another form of fuel reduction burning. I am not sure if the natives were/are overly concerned with inhaling smoke and 2.5 particulate matter but perhaps they should be. You claim FRBs are ‘totally useless’ but both of you cannot be right.

      I believed that investigations into the Dunalley fire determined it started from the campfire in a tree stump at or near Forcett.

      Some issues have also arisen in Victoria with its sky cranes as we speak.

      • Simon Warriner

        January 29, 2019 at 7:17 pm

        And didn’t the geniuses in charge prevent Dunalley locals from back burning the day prior?

      • Russell

        January 30, 2019 at 10:55 am

        “I am not sure if the natives were/are overly concerned with inhaling smoke and 2.5 particulate matter but perhaps they should be.”

        They don’t stand down-wind. They know exactly where their small fires will start and finish, and they only light them when conditions suit – unlike the non-Indigenous morons who hand out burn permits months beforehand, regardless of the weather and conditions of the day, and they must burn because they booked it.

        • MJF

          January 31, 2019 at 8:18 am

          Let go of it, Mr Langfield. So the natives never breathed in any of their smoke in the 60,000 years of burning off.

          Another snippet of gospel from the Gammage book, I presume ?

    • Andrew Kromar

      February 3, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      From one fire fighter to another .. spot on, mate!

      • Simon Warriner

        February 4, 2019 at 8:49 am

        I though you might have been a former Regional Chief, TFS Northern Region, but my partner tells me that he spelt his last name Koma and he was definitely not the athlete you seem to be. Welcome to the discussion.

  12. Realist

    January 29, 2019 at 8:51 am

    In your tripping over yourself to try and be smart, you missed the word ‘unintentionally’.

  13. max

    January 28, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    For thousand of years the Tasmania Aboriginals practiced fire stick farming with the intention of creating grazing areas for game. The unfortunate result in a warming climate was fire-loving shrubs and grasses that are now fuel for unstoppable fires.

    To test how much prescribed burning would be needed to reduce the intensity and extent of a future bushfire, researchers from the University of Tasmania’s School of Biological Sciences simulated more than 11,000 fires on a typically dangerous fire-weather day in Tasmania. They found that firefighters would need to carry out prescribed burn-offs across 31% of Tasmania in order to have a significant impact on reducing the threat from wildfires. More realistic smaller-scale burn-offs, however, had almost no effect on the extent and intensity of a wildfire.

    As with the Aboriginal fire stick farming, so called fuel reduction burns have the same result, a prolific regrowth of fire loving plants. All hat reduction burns accomplish is more fire risk, CO2 and 2.5 particulate, the very things that we should avoid at all costs.

    Every year Tasmanians and tourists have their health effected by smoke, and huge volumes of CO2 are released into a world being destroyed by CO2. This stupidity has not reduced bush fires .. in fact it has promoted them.

    Fire to reduce fire is not the answer. People can protect their properties without fire, and not only can they, but they must.

    Smoke spotters and instant response is the only answer, not the garbage we get from SST with its cheap fuel reduction burns.

    • Realist

      January 29, 2019 at 8:27 am

      Just for your information Max, nearly all the fuel reduction burns have been conducted by TFS. And if you cared to read any report in relation to the best defence for wild fire suppression you’d find it’s to reduce the fuel load, and the best way to achieve that is by fire. You may be right with the 31% figure, but that doesn’t have to be achieved in one year.

      ‘Fire to reduce fire’ may not be the golden challis, but it was proven during the Dunalley fire that a prior fuel reduction burn conducted near Murdunna saved the township from the inferno.

      • William Boeder

        January 29, 2019 at 3:18 pm

        So Realist, one evil action has begat another another evil action in how the use of fire for the purpose of destruction can be flicked over to form a ‘good’ evil destruction, is that your contention?

        In reply to your Freedom of Speech; spoken truths need no supportive gestures .. as opposed to your concocted or rejigged wordages .. propped up up by beguilements, misleadings, and misconceptions, obfuscations et al.

    • Claire Gilmour

      January 29, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      I couldn’t agree more. Well said, Max.

      I’m living proof of using a completely different strategy to protect one’s home from fire.

      1. Assess your surroundings before you build or buy.
      2. Do not build on or atop a hill as the views are not worth the extra fire risk.
      3. Build near a water supply.
      4. Do not grow many of the dry native fire surviving species near your home, ie the eucs and grasses etc, as they attract fire. Instead grow rainforest species, green leafy and deciduous trees/plants.
      5. If you are near a water source, invest in a fire fighting pump and irrigation size sprinklers. (Normal garden sprinklers will not cut the mustard!) Preferably place these at a height of 1 to 1.5 metres off the ground. Bury plastic pipes, of course.
      6. Ensure sprinklers cover at least an acre around your home, and that they can saturate your walls, decks etc, and also have a couple of sprinklers on your roof.
      7. Ensure that your sprinklers are going during the night when water bombers are unable to fly.
      8. Do not skimp on keeping your surrounds green and debris free.
      9. Ensure gutters are debris free.
      10. Do not be lazy and complacent, and if you have all the right gear in place, trust yourself.
      11. Be proactive in ensuring the government is not complacent and in that it is not creating extra fire risks near you!

      .

    • Clive Stott

      February 3, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      I totally agree Max, except for your last bit where you say ‘cheap fuel reduction burns’. I know what you were implying, but let’s come out and expand it a little and say, ‘expensive, waste of public money, health damaging, containment-line-breaking fuel reduction burns.’

      Even the Bobster (Bob Gordon) said he wouldn’t be doing them just to create an ash bed for reseeding. ‘Ash bed’ is a mumbo-jumbo last excuse for UnSST to burn its trash. I mean their plantation trees will sprout in bitumen and between concrete. They are classed as weeds in other parts of the world.

      Same height volatile eucalyptus oil plantations aid bushfires.

  14. Claire Gilmour

    January 28, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    The land of a thousand lakes, and one of the coldest areas in Tasmania, yet the government sits on its hands and lets it burn!

    Your heart, soul and commitment is not big enough to save us!

    You need me and my people to help save you, and the state!

    • Mike Seabrook

      January 31, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      More than a thousand lakes and a large firebreak if the Gordon-below-Franklin hydro scheme had been built.

  15. Claire Gilmour

    January 28, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    And don’t think that the climate/rain modification experiments that are happening around the world, with China leading, also don’t have a profound negative affect

    They are trying to create rain in dry seasons for areas they want/need, but they often create dry lightning instead !

    Nature is fighting man big time, and at the moment nature and normal people are losing big time.

    More mapping info is required! The butterfly effect!

  16. Peter Dufferin

    January 28, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Yes, the fires in Tasmania will increasingly become the new norm with the rampant advance of global warming.

    It makes absolute sense to train military personnel in firefighting and other emergency procedures, and spend up big on aircraft and ground vehicles so such horrific occurrences such as this can be leapt upon immediately.

    We’re spending squillions on gear that may never work, either in practice or as a deterrent, and forces are employed to turn back people fleeing terror to whom we should be extending compassion. We’d be scrambling over ourselves to seek asylum if the jackboots were coming over the hill!

    ADF employees could do something really useful for society and the planet, and after their time they would be extremely valuable members of the community.

    I despair at the lack of political leadership on this.

    For goodness’ sake .. at least try!!

  17. Pete Godfrey

    January 28, 2019 at 11:40 am

    The inaccessible bush fire excuse doesn’t hold water. If the fires were actually in inaccessible places then there would be no remote fire fighters in there fighting them now.

    I’m just wondering if the 28,000 ha or so-called hazard reduction burns carried out each year over the last few years have actually made any of the fires more easily controlled.

    A map of the areas that were hazard-reduced in the last 3 years, showing the towns they were burnt to protect, would be very interesting.

    Firefighters, both career and volunteer, should not be put in the position of leaving their own areas unsafe while fighting fires that could have been stopped weeks ago.

    • Jon Sumby

      January 28, 2019 at 7:10 pm

      Pete, just go to the LISTmap and click on ‘layers’, then ‘add layer’, then scroll down to category ’emergency management’ and select the submenu ‘general’, and then choose which ‘fire history’ overlay you want:

      Fire History
      Fire History – impacted last 10 seasons
      Fire History – impacted last 5 seasons
      Fire History – last impacted

      See https://maps.thelist.tas.gov.au/listmap/app/list/map

      • Pete Godfrey

        January 29, 2019 at 6:58 am

        Thanks heaps Jon. I use the LIST for a few things. I was not aware that it showed fires.

        As Max points out, hazard reduction burning is a waste of time. My experience has been that the only time it works is if it is a back-burn in the face of an oncoming fire.

  18. Williamb

    January 28, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Realist … here you are with your biased opinions again, yet you have not responded to my claims and contentions held in another bushfire related article on this forum. Why not?

    • Realist

      January 29, 2019 at 8:46 am

      Its called Freedom of Speech, W.B.

      And your own opinions are not biased?

  19. Realist

    January 28, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Oh, so simple. To state “personnel who can be dropped in to inaccessible areas by helicopter to commence firefighting when the fire is in its very early stage”to solve our bush fire woes is simplistic to the extreme.

    There is no easy fix. Yes, early detection and response is necessary, but it is not always practicable with so many restrictive outcomes that inhibit early fire suppression, and with the main one being being weather conditions that prevent helicopters flying in the first place, which has already been a reality with the current fires.

    The sad reality to some is the fact that most of the remote South West is covered by fire promoting scrub which needs regular patchwork burning at cooler times of the year. This, in turn, would help protect the sensitive rain forest areas. Local Aborigines had been unintentionally doing it for thousands of years.

    It’s time we learned something from past practices.

    • Claire Gilmour

      January 28, 2019 at 9:44 pm

      Sorry, but I don’t agree.

      For a start, he Aborigines’ past fire strategies were feeding strategies (for a small limited number of people) and in our modern world are out dated due to selfish greed from modern man.

      We can’t possibly use the same fire burning strategies – because we buy from the supermarkets!

      • Russell

        January 30, 2019 at 10:58 am

        I disagree. Having lived within a remote Indigenous community I know most fires were lit to “clean up”.

        They are the exact words they used, and the practice is still ongoing today. How many wild bushfires have you ever heard about in the Top End?

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