Tasmanian Times


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. 

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Garry Stannus

    May 15, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Gooday Clive, I stumbled across this thread some weeks ago I think, and began trying to find a chance of making a comment.  You mentioned me to Lyndall, and you mentioned Hysplit and back trajectories.  Ah gee!  What a time that was for you, for me (and for many Tasmanians).

    Gee, a few names to toss around would be:  your own, Pete Godfrey (who found the source of the huge Tasmanian burn, John Hawkins who was much closer to the source than most and of course, John Innis, senior scientific officer for the EPA.

    Many others had parts to play … some ‘walk on – walk off’ (Warren Jones comes to mind).  Yes, we did use Hysplit, and it was a most wonderful tool, though whether or not it was decisive in determining the origin of the smoke that hit north-eastern Tasmania on St Patrick’s Day, 2010, I’m undecided.

    Before I go further, I want to say that John Innis produced a technical report which concluded that the big smoke event which occurred on that day was probably from forestry burns in Gippsland.  I don’t want to knock John’s report because I don’t want to knock him.  I had quite a bit of email contact with him at the time, and he was always thoughtful/receptive to what I ‘brought to his table’, was always respectful to me and I formed the belief that John takes his job seriously, that he believes in ‘Clean Air’ and so forth.

    However – perhaps because I had quite a lot of emotional capital invested in the clean-air issue, at the time (still do … have spent more than a week going over past docs, past pix etc … have produced a narrative on the <100 photos that I took on Mar16 and Mar17, 2010 … and so on)… perhaps I was simply not able to accept the conclusions of John’s orderly approach.  But maybe I was right!  The back-trajectories that John shows in his technical report 9, don’t explain the smoke that was down to ground level according to the accounts which came in association with John Hawkins’ Tas Times articles.  They also (to me) seem lame in the context of the smoke which I photographed extending to the north of Launceston after sunset on Mar16 of that year.  Those ‘possibly lame’ Hysplit trajectories seemed to show that the smoke (from Lake Rowallan was it?) was at an altitude of 1500m or more, and while passing close to/above Launceston, remained at altitude and passed out above the Tasman sea.  

    However, complete trajectories were not shown for the huge burn which originated at Mallacoota (East Gippsland, VIC.)  It was (in my view) the cause of the smoke trail which extended down towards the north east of Tas; however (in my view again) that trail was shown in the satellite photos as remaining off the east coast of Tasmania.  Further, in comparison to the ‘smoking gun’ trail of smoke from Lake Rowallan, the smoke trail did not to me seem to have the density to produce the ground level smoke event which we experienced. While the Mallacoota burn produced a mushroom cloud which was roughly similar in size to Port Phillip Bay! and while it was of a magnitude in my view sufficient to have caused the St Pats Day smoke-out, the satellite record does not show it maintaining its original form and density.  John Innis noted in his report that the amount of material burnt in the Tasmanian forestry burns of Mar16, was sufficient to have been responsible for the smoke-out.

    What John’s report is perhaps a little weak on (in my view), is in explaining the experience of one of his contributor’s:  of smoke in gullies (while driving from Launceston to Scottsdale to begin duty … well before the recorded smoke onset).  I myself photographed smoke to the west of Launceston’s Tamar River, and in the east, in Rocherlea’s Barnards Creek gullies on the morning BEFORE the recorded  arrival of the smoke event.

    I appreciate John Innis’s diligence and honesty.  But I’m not sure that his report gives me a real explanation of what happened and of how it happened.  I have to say, that at some stage of communicating with John, I found a set (of previously unknown to us) thumbnail images of night-time satellite images which appeared to me to show smoke moving up through the hills/gullies of the north-east during the night. 

    [such a scenario would hypothetically have allowed for the Tassie smoke to have moved overnight to an (off-shore?) position where it might then in the morning, have done an about turn and , more importantly in my view, would have perhaps indicated contact with the terrain, thus serving as an explanation for the gullies of smoke that were seen the next morning.]

    John, while not claiming the status of an expert on this, noted that to him, thought that it was cloud, that the satellite imagery could pick up night-time cloud, but would not show smoke.  A fair point, it seemed. Yet, later I pondered over that old chestnut:  ‘the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’.  So, what I’d found (in John’s opinion) was cloud moving up through the valleys of the north east hills, and not smoke.  Yet, if smoke was not visible to the satellite in the night sky, it may have been there, to my mind, just not picked up in the dark by the infra-red or whatever it was.

    Sorry, Clive, for this probably inarticulate reflection on the events of early 2010.  In various drafts for this comment, I wrote much more, and then near completion, left my lap-top at work.  This comment is constructed on an old ‘stand-in’ Mac and totally from my probably unreliable memory.  In it’s day, Clive, it was a beautiful machine (my MacBook), though now, Clive, its best days seem behind it.

    As I write these last words (4:54 p.m. 14May2019), the sun is sinking behind the hills west of the Tamar and ‘downstream’, beyond Launceston, a long plume of smoke stretches beyond those hills across the sky, from the west to the east. It is reddy-pink and though the main visible body of the plume is some kilometres away, I can smell wood smoke here, in Launceston CBD, at ground level.

    Best wishes, Clive
    – Garry.
    PS: have tried running Hysplit again, but it’s not producing images for me … not sure why.

    Here’s some reading for those who might me interested:

  2. Clive Stott

    April 30, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    This is a must watch. New Smoke Forecasting System for Tas.

    AFAC’s Predictive Services Systems Working Group sponsored a webinar on 19 December to demonstrate the Bureau of Meteorology’s new Smoke and Air Quality Forecasting System (AQFx) modelling application for forecasting smoke and air quality in Tasmania.

    Published on Jan 7, 2018:

    I asked BoM is it being used in Tas.

    This was their reply:
    “We are currently using the AQFx system internally to predict smoke travel in Tasmania.
    As this is still an experimental system, the results are not available to the general public. Some emergency management and land management agencies are able to see the smoke forecasts via a registered user page.
    The system can predict smoke from planned burns prior to the burn taking place as well as smoke from existing planned burns or wild fires. The facility to predict smoke from planned burns depends on getting information on these burns from other agencies, and this may not currently be implemented in all jurisdictions.”

    So now I ask the question again.

    If we have the means to PREDICT smoke travel before (and after) a deliberate burn, why are people being forced to breathe this toxic smoke?

    • William Boeder

      May 1, 2019 at 2:44 pm

      Clive and Lyndall, good to see you both identifying the ongoing health damaging effects of Tasmania’s controversial burning programs carried out so relentlessly across our State.
      A common mistake by the greater majority of Tasmania’s people is that they believe the State government hold a duty of care, as well as an interest toward the welfare of the people across this State.

      When one takes a step outside and away from the State government propaganda, which of course is riddled with misinformation and false Liberal party speak, about the great benefits of logging in this State, wherein dwells all thepropaganda and the hoo-haa of support for the many conducted multi-purposed burning programs claimed as indispensable and that these same should be continued into perpetuity.
      Well, this desire for setting the torches among the State forests falls under a perpetual propagated propaganda plot being thrusted upon the people of this State.

      This being due to this State’s government and their enthusiastic forestry programs, they happen to be the cause of destroying as much as can be accessible to the benefit of Ta Ann Berhad and the State’s cabal of wood-chippers, not necesarily anyone else.
      Despite the constant blather of logging disconformities by those known as the real stinkers in Tasmania’s war against nature, one is able to better identify the overwhelming sinister quest of logging as much as can be got in this State.

      A ‘ring me up phone poll’ I had responded to yesterday evening….one proposition put forward for opinion was essentially about the continuation of Australia’s State governments to pursue the logging of State forests in their each State and or territory. The construction of the matter raised was so carefully worded, something along the lines of….Do you support a thriving timber industry moving forward that would benefit Australia as well create further jobs for people that have since been left without work? Naturally my response was no!

      No mention was made on the topic of Tasmania’s timber industry non-sustainability, during the series of matters sought for opinion in this poll (I seem to recall its name may have been Metro research or something similar) nothing that would attract attention to the former destructive past that Guy Barnett MP continues to not admit to, let alone acknowledge the magnitude of new emerging harms resultant by his parliamentary obdurations.

      Any occasion when the issue of wood-smoke harms is up for discussion or the matter raised in the State’s major media news broadcasts, or even on this Tasmanian Times forum, both he and his mate Senator Eric Abetz remain deathly silent, never a peep or squeak out of this pair of Gringos, they being set so firmly in their ‘anti-the-Tasmanian-people’ forest logging agenda.
      One of the great unkowns is the actual amount of the regeneration of the same species since clear-felled and burnt, why is this so? Obviously a contentious matter.

      So that tends to hurl the sustainability factor out of the building, any further claims by the likes of Guy Barnett MP or his over-lord will remain little other than an ongoing con job.
      The presumptuous need of logging Tasmania’s native forests are little other than false, fake, or wildly misleading claims, by the likes of the usual offenders, Guy Barnett MP and all of his Liberal colleagues.

      One cannot forget how the realm of Tasmania’s forests had been greatly depleted, back to the rampage and plunder years of Tasmania’s former now late John Gay, with his sidekick former Premier Robin Gray, both having fled from the scence of the since bankrupted Gunns Ltd.
      One is given to understand that all that former forest carnage was of scarce benefit to the People of Tasmania, that is, outside of the over-promoted illuminary wood-choppers, Kloeden, Drielsma, Gordon, Rolley, though not Mr Miles Hampton he was not your usual wood-chopper but more of unaccountable accountants amid the Lennon group of cronies and order-takers that were at most times supplicant to the reviled Former Gunns Ltd.
      Thus we are able to conclude that this State’s past and present squadron of Lib/Lab ministerial incumbents along with their cronies are each allegedly ‘guilty of having depleted vast realms of Tasmania’s Natural forests, as well as the torching of Tasmania’s native forests directly responsible for the wood-smoke induced harms dumped upon the people.

      During my time in Tasmania, some 17 years, I have gathered a huge amount of fact information about the slippery goings-on in this State’s dishonest lines of undertaking (lacking of ethics and regulation) that underlay the whole platform of this State’s logging history.
      Inevitably, the question arises, who is it that truly benefits from the State planned burning regimens and clear-felling attacks against Tasmania’s native forests?
      Well, my personal opinion is, certainly not the citizens of greater Tasmania.

      • Lyndall

        May 1, 2019 at 6:52 pm

        Hmmmmm, yet another issue with a list fulsome of persons of interest to be added to the agenda for the upcoming newly-established National Integrity & Anti-corruption Commission after the next election William?

  3. Lyndall

    April 25, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Clive,

    I don’t know about any progress with adopting the US BlueSky Framework here in Australia, but aspects of it seem to be part of the HYSPLIT model which is described in the below. Perhaps you might find this of interest if not already known.

    It appears that since the 2015 Lancefield-Cobaw fire in Victoria, a new smoke dispersion model has been in development by BoM, CSIRO & DELWP with the ultimate goal of it becoming a national tool.

    “The Bureau of Meteorology has operated the HYSPLIT smoke dispersion system for use by fire and land management agencies for around 15 years. Recently DELWP funded research to improve smoke emission and transport modelling in Victoria. This project developed a new multi-tiered quantitative smoke prediction system which is a significant step forward compared with the old system. It applies recent observations of Victorian smoke emissions and atmospheric chemistry (as embodied in CSIRO’s Chemical Transport Model) with the increased numerical capability in ensemble and high resolution weather modelling of the Bureau’s ACCESS Numerical Weather Prediction suite.

    The new smoke forecasting system has 3 tiers; Tier 1: 10-day ensemble forecasts of fire weather and fire danger indices to assist decisions on burn scheduling, Tier 2: 3-day forecasts of ambient air quality and smoke concentration from existing fires to provide background conditions for burns, and Tier 3: 1-day high resolution forecasts of smoke for planned prescribed burns to support go/no-go decisions.

    In this presentation we will demonstrate the improved user interface for the smoke dispersion system and provide examples of output for each of the 3 forecast tiers. We will also describe the methodology for verifying the system output, including initial verification results. Finally areas of potential future work will be discussed, including how other jurisdictions can be involved so that this can become a national smoke dispersion system.”


    Citation: Long, M., Wain, A., Cope, M., Ebert, B., Carroll, M., Parkyn, K & Tostovrsnik, N. (2017). A new quantitative smoke forecasting system for Victoria. In M. Rumsewicz (Ed.), Research Forum 2017: proceedings from the Research Forum at the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC Conference. Melbourne: Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.

    The Victorian Smoke Forecasting Project, DELWP 2017 – ‘Smoke forecasting in Australia using AQFx’ – powerpoint presentation: http://www.igacproject.org/sites/default/files/2018-01/15_AQFx.pdf

    NOAA Air Resources Laboratory. ‘HYSPLIT Smoke Calculation Originated from a Prescribed Burn’:

    “The HYSPLIT model can be run to estimate the spatial and temporal evolution of smoke (as PM2.5) originated from a prescribed burn. The location and the area of the burn are the only required inputs.

    PM2.5 emissions and heat release are estimated from the emissions processing portion of the U.S. Fire Service’s (USFS) BlueSky smoke modeling Framework (Larkin et al., 2008, O’Neill et al. 2008) based on fire size and location. BlueSky ( http://www.airfire.org/bluesky/) is a fire and smoke prediction tool that was originally developed for land and air quality managers to assist with wildfire containment and prescribed burning decisions while at the same time attempting to minimize impacts of the smoke on the local population.

    Operational Smoke Forecasts – NOAA currently uses the Smoke Forecasting System to predict the transport and dispersion of wild fire smoke over the United States, Alaska and Hawaii. These forecasts can be found at: https://www.arl.noaa.gov/hysplit/smoke-forecasting/


    • Clive Stott

      April 27, 2019 at 4:01 am

      Lyndall, cleanairtas has various contacts in the US and I am advised California does have Health Smoke Management Guidelines for Agricultural and Prescribed Burning known as the 80101 Definitions. 60,000 acres of prescribed burning was conducted there last season.

      And there is this:
      “Various proposals over the years have been floated, to exempt controlled burns from air quality rules. That does not make the air cleaner. It only makes it legal to smother towns and communities in smoke” – Californian resident and Retired firefighter David Sandbrook who studied fire science at Colorado Uni.

      Back in June 2006 the following appeared in the Tasmanian Air Quality Strategy document, page 82.

      Plume trajectory forecasts:
      “The Bureau of Meteorology has developed tools to predict the dispersion of smoke from planned burns. The smoke plume trajectory model predicts the direction and concentration of smoke drift in the atmosphere (see Figure 6). The atmospheric profile model produces a chart showing the profile of wind temperature and dewpoint against the height above the ground. It also calculates a quantity called the ventilation index, a measure of the ability of the atmosphere to disperse smoke. The ventilation index was under evaluation at the time of writing. However, retrospective testing of the ventilation index on data for March to April
      2004 demonstrated its ability to predict days suitable for high intensity burning with reasonable accuracy. If further testing proves fruitful, it will be another useful tool for scheduling planned burns.”

      Years ago I remember Garry Stannus and I were using Hysplit backward projection modelling to locate point sources of smoke in Tasmania. We all knew we were getting smoked out but we didn’t know who by, or where the ‘sneaky’ ignitions were located.

      From the information you have provided (which is interesting, thank you) it looks like much work has been done on smoke dispersion modelling since then and it would require expertly trained people to be able to run it. It still comes back to being able to provide all the inputs as you say.

      Is this smoke dispersion modelling being utilised for every prescribed burn plan, or every bushfire? I am not sure, but it should be.

      • Lyndall

        April 27, 2019 at 8:12 pm

        Hi Clive,
        Intriguing tale about you & Garry reverse-modeling in an attempt to work back to the smoke’s point-source from what I assume wasn’t an approved burn or registered fire incident.

        It struck me that there may be another way using the imagery from different satellites. But it would require (I imagine) familiarity dealing with raw daily satellite data, and the ability to manipulate the images covering your area of interest to make the smoke & fire more visible (e.g. using colours to create contrast or saturation?; infrared?). Perhaps too though, this would only work for larger fires or plumes… I don’t know. The other limitation of course is the small number of satellite passes/day and the chances of capturing your smoke plume or fire occurring at that same time.

        Please take a look at the YouStorm twitter website for some ideas. Here are a few specific examples:

        Going by the YouStorm entries it would appear that the Sentinel2 satellite takes fairly close pics over Tasmania and may be your best option to try. If you’re tempted to have a go, here’s the Sentinel website for free access to data downloads (I think):
        https://sentinel.esa.int/web/sentinel/sentinel-data-access or https://scihub.copernicus.eu/

        • Clive Stott

          April 28, 2019 at 10:19 pm

          Hi again Lyndall,
          Thank you for the links and your thoughts. I will have to look at bringing myself up-to- date with the new satellites. Those Sentinel2 earth images are outstanding! Somewhere I thought I read Sentinel 2 was lost doing a maneuver. Anyway, I will see what is about but first I have to sign up to Sentinel’s Data Hub which I have done.

          Re your other post about coming on-board late in any air quality/smoke discussions, never fear. Your inputs are fantastic and most welcome, It is a big topic and we never know where it will take us.
          And talking about satellite passes…yes the burners factor this in, along with cloud, but eventually their desire to burn allows us to capture some telling image.
          I think it is an exciting time with all the new advances in technology coming along.and people are becoming educated about how harmful ambient smoke is.
          The WHO will release their new findings next year as well.

          Speaking of deliberate burns you can go to the bottom of https://cleanairtas.com/departments/forest-industries.htm to see links to the 2019 STT 161 burns, and the Forico burns. Not sure if Forico’s is complete.
          Notice the comments about weather predicting and smoke dispersal….this should form part of their burn plans.
          MJF you say we have to cave in to these smoke producers but really are all these burns really necessary?
          What we need are some late variety grapes and some more tourist events as forestry have MOU’s not to burn with those industries.

          • Lyndall

            April 29, 2019 at 10:16 am

            Hi Clive,

            Thanks for pointer to 2019 STT burns – 1000’s of ha involved, so let’s hope they do what they say and actually model proposed burns for go/no go decisions. Tasmanian authorities are aware of BoM’s hosted AQFx smoke modelling portal, but there’s no indication that STT is using it routinely or even at all. So who knows what they actually do to inform themselves of the ‘right conditions’ or not to burn on any given day?

            Re further info on satellite data for your own (&/or Garry’s) analysis – I’ve come across even more links for access. My complete ignorance on the subject doesn’t help me in giving you good leads. But anyway, here’s a few more for you to explore:

            Copernicus Australasia website (fed govt) which gives access to Sentinel data and “Open source toolboxes for visualisation, analysis and processing of the Sentinel data” – http://www.copernicus.gov.au/regionaldataaccess

            ‘Sentinel Hub’ (commercial product with some free or trial access) which gives access to Sentinel, Landsat and other providers to be browsed or analyzed using their GIS or within your own environment. “Get satellite imagery on your table without worrying about synchronization issues, storage, processing, de-compression algorithms, meta-data or sensor bands.” – https://www.sentinel-hub.com/ and https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/eobrowser

            I won’t delve any further into this aspect of data access & analysis. There’s probably lots more out there and possibly better; I’m unable to discern anyway.

            Good luck!

          • Clive Stott

            April 30, 2019 at 2:59 am

            Hi Lyndall,
            Your April 29 comment…

            Sentinel used to be so easy to use but the new images are really exciting and worth exploring how to obtain. Thanks for the links to make it easier I will have a play around.

            With all the recent advances and latest scientific/health information readily available there is no excuse for people to be smoked out.these days. To be told to get inside or go to the gym to escape burner’s toxic residue is just plain wrong..Someone is not doing their job.

            We don’t tolerate localized cigarette smoke and we won’t tolerate ambient smoke on the whole community..

  4. Clive Stott

    April 25, 2019 at 4:38 am

    Hi Lyndall,
    April 24, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Hope this helps…
    Wood Smoke is made up of greater than 90% Fine Particulate Matter, ie, PM 2.5 or less. (American Lung Association).
    “The majority of particles emitted from biomass burning, which includes controlled burning and uncontrolled fires, are ultrafine, with only a small fraction in the larger size range, and with most of the mass present in particles less than 2.5 um in aerodynamic diameter (WHO, 1999).”
    Large fraction = PM10

    You can go here to gain more insight into the chemical/gas components of wood smoke: https://cleanairtas.com/smoke/smoke-is-toxic.htm
    Note the study that claims smouldering eucalypt smoke is the most toxic of all smoke tested!
    It also depends on the land/vegetation being burnt; even pesticides and herbicides can glom onto smoke particles: https://cleanairtas.com/departments/pollutants-up-in-flames.pdf

    We are lucky in Tasmania as we have a very dedicated EPA air section that has installed 40 or so fixed ambient air monitoring stations scattered across the state. There are still gaps in our air monitoring but these are plugged with further temporary stations, or mobile monitors:
    You can see where extra monitors were deployed earlier this year during the smoke down south:

    Lyndall the site you refer to is a few years old now but I remember the Huon planned burns study well in 2010.
    CSIRO used it here in Tas to say that (orchestrated) prescribed burn emissions weren’t as bad as wood heaters emissions!
    Now that we have access to a network of real-time ambient air monitoring I feel this is a better way of measuring and recording smoke travel across Tasmania. These also measure pretty much at breathing height so they are a good indicator of what people are being exposed to and for how long.
    Many studies have been done by the EPA here in Tas in relation to smoke travel, these are being used now and I am sure they will help with predictive modelling in the future.
    BoM was, maybe still is, involved in smoke dispersion modelling but the link below that comes from a few years ago shows there were problems with inputs to it, eg fires still burning, and it was not reliable….but overall it was doing what it was designed to do!
    If Meleta Keywood or Mick Myers are still with the CSIRO you might get an update on whether they managed to adapt the US Bluesky framework for Southern Australia.

    • Lyndall

      April 25, 2019 at 11:03 am

      Thanks, Clive.

      There’s a lot of reading there which I’ve not done, but it nonetheless shows that the factors involved in exposing people to smoke pollution are complicated and can be variable, for example depending upon source material, the heat of the fire and meteorological conditions during the fire. Hence the importance of fire managers to at least use weather forecasts and smoke travel modeling to decide whether to go ahead with a prescribed burn.

      You mention the US Bluesky framework. I don’t know how that’s used over there, but I’ve been told by a reliable source that in LA, California, the air quality protocols basically stop prescribed burning.

      Just to add to your collection I’ve come across another study comparing fire emissions, but this time from US wildfires compared to prescribed burns as measured from above in research aircraft. I don’t know from what height, but certainly not nostril level.

      I’ve only read the abstract below, but I think in relation to your discussions with MjF it only indicates the potential for poor air quality and human health impacts. Missing in these results for determining actual health hazard are the meteorological conditions for each fire .. if I understand the issue correctly, that is.


      Wildfires emit significant amounts of pollutants that degrade air quality. Plumes from three wildfires in the western U.S. were measured from aircraft during the Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) and the Biomass Burning Observation Project (BBOP), both in summer 2013. This study reports an extensive set of emission factors (EFs) for over 80 gases and 5 components of submicron particulate matter (PM1) from these temperate wildfires. These include rarely, or never before, measured oxygenated volatile organic compounds and multifunctional organic nitrates. The observed EFs are compared with previous measurements of temperate wildfires, boreal forest fires, and temperate prescribed fires. The wildfires emitted high amounts of PM1 (with organic aerosol (OA) dominating the mass) with an average EF that is more than 2 times the EFs for prescribed fires. The measured EFs were used to estimate the annual wildfire emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, total nonmethane organic compounds, and PM1 from 11 western U.S. states. The estimated gas emissions are generally comparable with the 2011 National Emissions Inventory (NEI). However, our PM1 emission estimate (1530 ± 570 Gg yr−1) is over 3 times that of the NEI PM2.5 estimate and is also higher than the PM2.5 emitted from all other sources in these states in the NEI. This study indicates that the source of OA from biomass burning in the western states is significantly underestimated. In addition, our results indicate that prescribed burning may be an effective method to reduce fine particle emissions.

      Plain Language Summary
      Wildfires emit large amounts of pollutants. This work quantifies the emissions of a range of both gaseous and particulate species from U.S. wildfires using measurements performed on research aircraft. The results indicate that wildfires are a large source of particulate pollution in the western states and that the source is currently underestimated by more than a factor of three in emissions inventories. Comparison of these results to those obtained from prescribed burning indicates that wildfires are a larger source of pollution.”

  5. MjF

    April 21, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Its all in the P&W fine print Clive:

    “While the fire intensity will be low, it will generate flames, smoke and ash. People with medical conditions are advised to have a personal plan for avoiding smoke from the burn. Advice is available from the Department of Health and Human Services and Asthma Australia websites. Current air quality information is also available via the Environment Protection Authority website”

    See, all bases covered. Just make a personal plan. This is the advice from the authority wholly responsible. Ignore it at your peril.

    And you’re quite right, providing protection status to giant trees saves them from the 088 but not from fire, disease, windstorm or any other natural event including senescence.

    • William Boeder

      April 21, 2019 at 4:01 pm

      Lyndell and and Clive with respect to your concerns, I can longer remain silent about the incompetence that substitutes for ministerial competence and the duty of responsibility incumbent upon each of this State’s beguiling elected officials.
      As to the matter of forest-fire smoke, after my careful research and analysis for an alternative, there is an alternative.
      This alternative consistsof a completely new manner to dismissing a great many scheduled Autumnal burns as are currently claimed to be so vital and necessary to the tree plantations across Tasmania..

      There is machinery currently available that will lift the residual cut stump from the ground, then chop and chip all of these said plantation-harvested remnant logging stumps, along with the remainder of all the logging debris remaining on that tree plantation floor, into a level layer covering of a wood-chipped amalgum of those residues deposited back upon that recently harvested plantation floor.

      More of this matter as it relates to State governance, is continued further down below.

      However before so, a question for Robin Halton.
      Robin, as a source of interest to a growing number of Tasmanians, how does one recognize the actual seed of these aforementioned ancient forest giant eucalyptus trees?
      Then one has to ask further in this question, are these the seeds used for reseeding areas that ‘should and must’ be set aside for all Tasmanian forest regeneration, as they are the major specie to achieve what is best described as honest and wholesome State forest regeneration?

      Naturally there are a number of other multi-various indigenous specie trees….do you also agree Robin, these same must also form part of a full-on dedicated reafforestation scheme to be commenced across the entirety of Tasmania’s now bushfire burnt and to the ongoing eradication of Tasmania’s Crown Land forests, is to be a sound and sensible program to be embarked upon by Tasmania’s current State government in place of their typical useless inaction?
      Thank you Robin.

      I admit I have developed a huge distrust in this State government’s exaggerated claims of forest regeneration, people of the same stamp as Guy Barnett MP (minister DPIPWE) and even now post the recent Statewide fire emergency, Michael Ferguson MP (minister for fire and emergency services) each are currently making a hash of ensuring their due care and responsibility owed to the State of Tasmania’s terrestial environment and accordingly this State’s futures, are simply not being delivered.

      I regard as a most necessary action that I will send off a letter today to the current His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, for his edification to learn how it can be tolerated for Tasmania and its citizens to be in despair any longer to what this negligent State government is all about.

      Further, that I seek his very own response rather than this matter be set aside for the incoming Governor-General. Then that his response be sent in a timely instance post his analysis of this alarmingly serious negligent matter.

      There is no other means of delivering the apparency of facts given that they must be clearly identified, then through the use of the necessary protocols announcing the need for its seperately presented bullet-form facts then to arrive unto the highest respected office of authority in our nation.
      Then that this must be so done in a manner necessary that cannot be interfered with through and by the insidious processes of this current State government.

      3 explicit letters having been sent already requesting the personal attendance and a response to same from Guy Banett MP, now would you believe each of my explicit letters requesting their answer have been completely ignored, no doubt due to the topical honest contents held therein, by minister Guy Barnett?
      That is the current method relied upon by the State’s non-forthcoming ministerial respondent letters. I see no reason why the State government of Tasmania is not to be held accountable to the tenets prominent and foremost held in Australia’s Constitition.

      • Rob Halton

        April 22, 2019 at 8:40 am

        William, with plantation harvest, its a common operation to cut the tree stumps off at ground, for 2R followed up by a a single ripping and mound ploughing operation between the stump rows and the remaining light slash can be burnt in a flash, as simple as that!
        Sounds highly uneconomical and totally unnecessary to dig stumps out of the ground unless the plantation owner is converting the area back to pasture or cropping, even then stumps would be heaped and burnt for quick disposal into ash before discing..

        SFM Forest Products a Tasmanian company is currently salvaging wood charred in the bushfires for export to China from both native forests and plantations tobe used forfurniture, framing and container flooring. Landowners would receive about 80% of the income from ther wood sales they would have earned before the fires!
        There is expected to be a significant increase in volumes of timber exported during the next 12 months!

        STT is currently mapping its forest production land affected by fire both by aerial survey and with ground proofing crews. Presumably a public statement should be forhcoming later this year once the timber assessment is completed and the situation becomes clearer for all concerned!

        I cannot advise you on seed storage matters either what STT may hold neither what the Tas Arboretum at the University has in stock!. You make a valid point and it is highly likely high quality eucalyptus seed collected from the forest giants would make an important contribution to future stocking of high quality native eucalypt forests that is other than seed dispersed naturally by fire affected trees during the time of the bushfires!

        No doubt there is significant work to be done both from wood production and silvicultural levels post bushfires to ascertain the best way foward !
        I would expect it will be highly likely that there will be a long term affects with expected production levels for high quality native forest sawlogs especially from the designated Production forests due to both “politicised” losses of area as per the Tas Forest Agreement legislation 2013, now on top of that we have the recent significant timber quality losses due to fire damaged crowns in stands of prime regrowth that will affect expected harvest levels.

        Our second best friends at Ta Ann Southwood could find themselves without suitable supply of our native forest goodies and this may force them to either forfeit Crown quota, convert to plantation wood, seek out willing private suppliers or close shop altogether at Southwood and concentrate on their northern peeler log laminate operation at Smithton.!

        I would not be too worried about rousing up the politics at this point in time until the outcome of the bushfires from both a forestry and conservation point of view becomes clearer to the public! The idiots that allowed the Riveaux fire to escape need to be brought to justice it was highly likely that fire should not have escaped at that particular time.

        We definitely need far better administration of all forest fire outbreaks to support an ongoing timber industry at the same time maintaining satisfactory levels of natural conservation within surrounding forested areas while keeping rural communities safe.

      • MJF

        April 22, 2019 at 9:17 am

        To be clear William, “a great many scheduled Autumnal burns as are currently claimed to be so vital and necessary to the tree plantations across Tasmania..” is incorrect.

        You of all people ought to know this by now but can go over again.

        Autumn burns (with the iconic convection columns) are associated with hot regeneration burns, are in most cases undertaken by STT, and implemented to reduce residual woody waste from coupes prior to aerial seeding for regeneration purposes. Reducing woody waste exposes more soil for the introduced seed to land on which can then germinate. Nothing to do with plantations. Plantation residues are heaped into windrows and the sites then recultivated between stump lines. Some managers even just plant directly between the stumps without new cultivation. Most logged plantation sites are not burnt at all but left to decompose while the 2R trees continue growing. The windrows disappear rapidly as do the stumps, although they do take longer to decompose.

        Once upon a time hot broadcast burning was carried out on clearfelled native forest sites for plantation establishment but its many years now since large scale conversions occurred. Currently new conversion is limited to small private property plantation developers only and with a legislated maximum yearly area per title allowable.

        There you have it. Your much anticipated hot autumnal burns facilitate regeneration of NF only, not plantations. It’s very straight forward.

        And not to be confused in any way with FRB activities, a la my reference to the TFS Adelaide River undertaking below.

        • William Boeder

          April 22, 2019 at 4:42 pm

          Firstly my thanks to Robin for responding to my pertinent questions.
          Now to your comment MJF, conversions are currently occurring, former well established and thriving realms of Native Forest are being clear-felled faster than their capacity to be replaced by aerial reseeding of predominantly eucalyptus species as this State’s extolled forest regeneration program.

          As regards former plantation harvested forests, from the information contained in the above reference link, there are quite a number of “mechanical use” applications for removing that form of logging debris.)

          Then that the former Original Aboriginal Inhabitants and Owners of this State would have sharply rebuked those responsible for the frenzied burning programs that currently occur across this State.

          My having read the entirety of the above mentioned, states that only certain smallish zones in varying forested types are being reseeded with predominantly eucalyptus species that were once abundant to those specific zonal regions.

          The entirety of the ‘spanner being tossed into the forestry recovery/regeneration mechanism’ that hinders the rate of native forest regeneration, here I provide one of the typical examples….is the hinder of selecting choice location ‘small only zones’….this in camparison to the broadscale clear-felling of entire mountain sides and adjacent lower elevation adjuncts to these mountain side zones…. as this system in place will never attain their regeneration specifities to ever catch up to the volume of the ongoing clear-felled indigenous forested regions or zones.
          The specified 100 year periods (already breached by the management Junta of Ta Ann Berhad some years ago) and up to 400 years for other species, is unfortunately, a program that Tasmaina’s Lib/Lab government incumbents have not demonstrated any interest thereto nor do these same same care a dicky about its vital futures.

          To a large extent the erratic vacillating and or ignorant persons that have been appointed as the port folio specific to Tasmania’s forestry appointed minister to oversee what has become the excessively clear-fell logged denudation of our indigenous species forests, is that each of the former and current ministers could not care a damn to the want for substantial State forest regeneration processes, as they tend to fall in-line with those that feed from the greed agendas of private timber business entities.

          Historically, the list of former forestry ministers had remained consistent among these specie, that each would quickly become the sought after blind-abiding person having their allotted role, soon became a simple nod and agreeing bohunkus to the former Forestry Tasmania rampancy of improperly regulated broad scale clear-fell logging regimens.

          Thereby one notes the continuation of forestry ministers that were to just ignore or agree to the over-harvesting of Tasmania’s Crown Land forests, as ever being sought by the real Skunks of logging Tasmania’s many Timber Reserves, State Parks, Conservation Reserves, and whatever other specified parks, is indeed this State’s Lib/Lab government ministers and Premiers.

          These same being the least lot of cronies to bother about State forestry regulations and Public State Park reservations, even to the point of not even maintaining a vigilant watch and care program in line with Tasmania’s WHA listed National Park.
          These same are ever held subservient to whichever private business entities, such as with the former Gunns Ltd, now the overseas-owned Ta Ann Berhad alleged international timber rustlers.)

          So in summary, there is the urgent need to empty the trough of Tasmania’s compliant private business industry obsequious ministers, and in whichever portfolio.
          Yet most importantly the current ministerial incumbent of the DPIPWE portfolio) for he has already demonstrated that private interests have the upper hand when it comes regulatory breach matters under his watch.

          • MjF

            April 23, 2019 at 9:27 am

            William, you clearly need to go back to basics:

            Native forest conversion is the change of site use to plantation, agriculture, infrastructure or urban sprawl

            Logging and re-seeding of native forest with local provenance seed is not conversion. This is regeneration.

            They are the scientific and industry definitions. To use interpretations designed by popular folklore and superstition is your choice of course.

            I rather like the ET choice of phrase ecological burning, is this different to regular burning such as being smokeless ?

            You may well ask yourself why ET is having to spend millions of federal $’s trying to regenerate logged coupes now in the TWWHA and “managed” by P&W when STT would have done it quite capably before those areas were handed over to conservation. In fact if anyone wanting reserve additions had any brains, they would have insisted on the quantified reafforestation of coupes being a condition of transfer.

            But no, lets grab the land first, squander millions of $’s trying to fix up what we inherited as a known problem and re-invent the wheel by trying to work out how to regenerate wet forest all over again (that another agency could have done for us if we hadn’t been so trigger happy).

    • Clive Stott

      April 22, 2019 at 4:01 pm

      MJF correct re senesense or the deterioration of functional characteristics of the people charged with protecting these trees leading to a total lack of common-sense.

      As far as ignoring deliberate smoke at our peril it is impossible to avoid. These low intensity planned burns by nature create lots of smoke, this is acknowledged. They plan these deliberate burns whilst there are smokeless methods for fuel reduction and yet they tell us tongue in cheek to have a plan.

      Cutting and pasting incorrect health information to cover all bases doesn’t make it right.
      It is incorrect for these agencies to try and say various levels of smoke are ok for people when it has been determined there is no safe minimum level of Particulate Matter (our planned burn smoke is primarily made up of PM2.5 or smaller).
      If these agencies were spreading the truth they would say everyone should avoid this smoke.

      Even you are aware by now that this smoke is a Class 1 carcinogenic substance the same as mustard gas, formaldehyde, or asbestos to name a few nasties. Imagine if these were released into the atmosphere at the same rate, i.e. tonnage per Ha, as this smoke. How would you feel then?

      • MJF

        April 23, 2019 at 11:35 am

        Good point Clive. Suggest to P&W they state “everyone” in their precautionary advice, not just “people with medical conditions”. In fact not doing this could even be interpreted as discriminatory.

        That should make everyone feel better.

        Re your toxic gas emissions scenario, that would be terrible for public health but of course mustard gas, formaldehyde and asbestos in their normal concentrations are not released into the atmosphere at the same rate as bushfire smoke are they ?

        But why do tourists still visit and camp in Wittenoom Gorge despite being advised not to ? Is the WA government then liable if these people contract asbestosis ? Why do the indigenous still live there with all the known inherent risks ?

        We may as well speculate as to how you’d feel if Great White sharks suddenly grew legs and became terrestrially based but still needed to eat. About as relevant.

        • Clive Stott

          April 23, 2019 at 11:43 pm

          MJF hang on my good friend. Smoke is not being released in normal concentrations either so my analogy stands and yes it would be terrible for public health. Smoke from all this burning is mostly deliberate as it is caused by deliberately caused climate change, deliberate fuel reduction burning and all those other deliberate fancy names they can make up to burn something. Even not putting out lightning strikes in their infancy could very well be determined as deliberate. Have a look on the various websites to see the Ha burnt. It would be almost impossible to calculate the millions of tonnes of harmful particulates.
          I am sure it would be stopped if it was some other similar Class 1 carcinogen being released at these concentrations into our airsheds. Agree?

          I do like your comment. “…Suggest to P&W they state “everyone” in their precautionary advice, not just “people with medical conditions” thank you.

          • MjF

            April 24, 2019 at 1:03 pm


            I respectfully suggest smoke emissions from any bushfire event can be regarded as being within the range of normal concentrations. ‘Normal’ as in releases from uncontrolled wildfires or fuel reduction burns. We need to recognise though that wildfire smoke concentrations are not equal to FRB concentrations as one is cooler and patchier than the other over time, I would expect a substantial difference if ‘normal’ emissions between the two forms of fire are quantified. There is probably research out there that could be located and studied which would confirm this. One could even borrow and apply the ET phrase of ‘ecological burning’ when discussing FRB (my thanks to WB for flushing this one out).

            Surely ‘ecological burning’ sounds a lot better than FRB and especially when used by an ENGO ?

            In other words, a standard amount of PM and Co2 is released per ha per event on the basis that fuel consumed and the time of year is relatively consistent. This is where the difference between wildfire and FRB comes in. My point is smoke emissions and consequent concentrations from this last summers conflagrations would still be equally similarly in concentrations to summer bushfires from 10 years ago on a per ha basis. Obviously the larger the area torched the greater the overall emissions but pro rated on a /ha basis, concentrations are equivalent.

            We should acknowledge the differences in emissions concentrations say between a wildfire vs a FRB vs an old tyre dump burning vs a toxic waste facility alight (as seen recently on national television)

            This, I expect, is of little comfort to you as smoke is smoke, right ?

            I do think your suggestion that not extinguishing a dry lightning strike fire immediately could be interpreted as a deliberate inaction is drawing a long bow. I think more a case of the inevitable time delays when sorting through jurisdictions, chains of command, accurate detection and resource availability/mobility. These issues should certainly be resolvable if there’s the will to get it done. Putting out a bushfire within an TWHHA area is plainly not as simple as calling 000 for a suburban house fire.

          • Lyndall

            April 24, 2019 at 7:35 pm

            Righto you two this is getting messy (even just to read). We need some evidence-based material to mull over – how about this for starters…

            “… analysis of the three fire scenarios addressed questions about quantifying the chemical and physical composition of bushfire smoke in smoke plumes.” …

            “… the key issue is not the total emission of PM, but the extent to which it mixes back into the atmosphere’s surface layer and the length of time that PM concentrations remain high around population centres. These are determined by fire duration and the patterns of smoke dispersion.”


            “For some jurisdictions with short prescribed burning seasons, prescribed burning could emulate the scale of large bushfire events with respect to smoke production and its regional impact. Managing these fires to avoid significant health impact will be a growing challenge for managers, who will increasingly rely on smoke dispersion modelling.”

            Well, I’ll be.. Fire managers supposedly avoiding health impacts and reliant on smoke dispersion modelling for conducting (or not) prescribed burns, eh? Yeah, sure; what’s that about winged pigs?


          • Clive Stott

            April 25, 2019 at 12:31 am

            No reply button for MJF’s comment on April 24, 2019 at 1:03 pm
            I know you and other vested interests are looking for something more accepting to call your smoke inoculation burns. They go by many different names already and you are still trying to find something more pleasant, more appealing to call them. Honestly it doesn’t matter whether you call them ecological burns or whatever, people are not accepting of them as they are known to cause deliberate health problems to much of the community, a great percentage of the community in fact.

            You can go to TFS, as I did, to find out past names that have been tried to try and win over the population without much luck. Happy hunting. Perhaps they could more correctly be called a killer burn, euthanasia burn, or even a murder burn?

            Susceptible groups don’t need to be told to work out their own plan to manage smoke created by vested groups. These burners need to work out their own plan to use smokeless ways to conduct their business. Cleanairtas has even done the work for you at https://cleanairtas.com/departments/alternative-solutions.htm

            Deliberately releasing broad-scale PM2.5 carcinogenic particulates onto the community has gone on long enough and has caused enough misery.
            Deliberate burning hasn’t stopped bushfires but it sure has caused a few.

        • William Boeder

          April 24, 2019 at 4:45 pm

          MJF, in regard to your suggested Great White Sharks with feet, I have to say that this appears to be a somewhat obscure analogy when the issue is all about the volume of wood smoke particulates being injected into the State’s atmospheres.
          Perpetrated by this State’s Cuckoo boodle of Liberal party ministers, they having funded the generation of this health endangering cancerous wood-smoke.

          Considering the quality of your answers and explanations given to the many questions directed to you, I ask you, is it possible that the Tasmanian taxpayer dollars that are funding the torching of Tasmania’s burning programs, (hot, cool, regenerational, reduced fuel load, and escaped) that suggest that a vast amount of money that could be better spent on funding Tasmania’s Health and Hospital increasingly deteriorating capacity to maintain the health of Tasmania’s people. do you agree?

          Notwithstanding the gross ignorance by this same boodle, to the volume of State goverrnment introduced wood-smoke Particulate Matter (this particulate matter being a cancerous byproduct of this State government’s ordained annual burning insanity) surely there could be other methods of fuel reduction et al?

          I note that Clive Stott had referred to alternate means to achieve somewhat the same outcomes, instead of all the incessant burning up of all sorts of ecologically significant lifeforms.

          When one examines the volume of this State’s annual revenue expenditures and then probes into exactly where this money goes, there appears to be a lot of frivolous and delinquent expenditures occurring each year. (Do please bear in mind that I am no John Lawrence)


          So now after having examined the 2017-2018 annual report figures, financial income $100.308.000-00 (includes $11 Million odd of State government revenues pumped into the 2017-2018 TFS income figure) do you believe that this $11 million odd could well have been fed into the Health and Hospital system.
          However, if this is a sample of what demonstrates itself to be….the delinquent expenditure of Tasmania’s State revenues by this same boodle, there is every likelihood that this form of legerdemain would be extant among all of Tasmania’s government business enterprises.

          (These same that are required by statute to generate revenues back to this State’s government (which a number of them don’t.)

          I believe it be an action vital for a greater amount of professional pursuit, given the example of the above TFS Annual (Financial) Report.

          • MjF

            April 25, 2019 at 1:07 pm

            Its difficult to say William, whether $11 mill could be sidelined from the TFS budget or not. Perhaps you would be happier if the whole TFS shebang was in fact dissolved and everyone was left to fend for themselves with their garden hoses and rakes.

            I personally don’t see why such a figure is so difficult to come up with as an additional injection to health funding over and above the current monetary input levels.

            This money could easily be raised by additional speed cameras and additional taxes on Salamanca Market stall holders or cleaving the entertainment and postal allowances from State MHR’s and removal of their obnoxious fleet of limousines. Let them drive themselves in their own jalopies and pay them an acceptable km rate, I say. And while we’re at it, stop subsidising UTAS to the tune of many $millions per annum with below market valuation property sales.

            Why can’t this enterprise sustain itself?

            You don’t like my land going, ravenous Great White Shark pack? I’m not surprised. The point being is that it’s about as likely to happen as Clive Stott’s pumping into the atmosphere of mustard gas, formaldehyde and asbestos fibres at any tick of the clock by persons unknown.

            No comments on the phenomenon of ecological burning?

            If you would like my thoughts on your and Stotty’s oft proposed mechanical clearing of logging debris in all situations, then please provide some costings which can then lead into some debate. If it’s not affordable then nothing will change, ever.

            But let’s see some numbers which we may compare to the current format of burn and labour expenses.

            I note the ET document did broadly mention mechanical clearing of slash 2 or 3 times, but they smartly distanced themselves when discussing the actual pros (few) vs cons (many).

            So at this stage I’m inclined to think it’s a baseless concept to rattle on about. I also note they describe recently gifted logged native forest sites as “damaged”!

    • William Boeder

      April 26, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      MJF, the whole concept of State government and/or their departments agreeing to the the burning of any portion of Tasmania’s Crown Land forests is not a decision that can be left in the hands of an incompetent Tasmanian State government.

      Quite simply, Tasmania should have an increased range of ‘at the ready ample water capacity aerial fire fighting equipment’ along with the solid training of same, and then a sweeping out of the Old Guard from any future role in a far better equipped Tasmanian Fire Services.

      Nor should there be any compromises given to the former realm of past methods and means be permitted. This would provide for better air quality and a revamped far better facilitated State Fire Fighting organization.

      There’s no need to interfere with Tasmania’s Volunteer Rural Fire Brigades other than with increased amounts of State government funding grants.

      The role of the State government should be restricted to providing annually increased funding for its Rural Brigades.

      • MjF

        April 27, 2019 at 8:47 am

        A pronounced change of tack there Mr Boeder. Perhaps a wind shift across Karlsons Knob ?

        Simply throwing money at rural fire brigades will not result in any better fire protection for you or me. Its all about how its spent that matters.

        I do agree “Tasmania should have an increased range of ‘at the ready ample water capacity aerial fire fighting equipment’ along with the solid training”. Thats the common theme all the way through these fire related threads

        I think if your “Old Guard” could deliver these objectives then perhaps they are doing their job and there may be light at the end of the tunnel, not necessarily requiring a sweep out.

        But I doubt any worthwhile deliverables will ever emerge with yet another empty enquiry to suffer and with no tangible results as a consequence. We have seen all too often the previous results of independent enquiries post fire season where the ‘outcomes’ are only ever presented as suggestion items for consideration by authorities.

        I hope for a successful and complete season for hot regeneration burning coming up and that potentially affected people do make their own personal plans to avoid. I would be if I was so affected and certainly not expect the world to change just because of my personal health.

        • William Boeder

          April 27, 2019 at 11:08 pm

          MjF, now steady on with your Karlson’s knob theorizing, try this article below that speaks of copius woodsmoke inflicted poisonous contaminants.
          Now as to my objective of diverting funding to the Rural Fire Brigade, is to help these good guys ensure they are provided with the best pumps, and most effective, even if it is to be new equipment, as well as the best safety gear, perhaps even to acquire on-site bogie water tankers to be effectively deployed closer to any portending bushfire….within each of Tasmania’s regional zoned areas, that would reduce the time for copious fire truck water refills.
          2 trucks acting in support of each other at the fire location, one being refilled close by while the other continues to douse the fire in their allotted area.
          I agree with you that post major event bushfire inquiries….do not produce a dicky-bird of consequence, I will try a strong letter to the applicable portfolio holding Michael Ferguson (it is hoped I am able to penetrate the leathery thickness of that Liberal party member’s pia mater located between the brain’s surface and the overlaying dura-mater) might jag his inclinations to where they should be directed rather than remain obstructed [as per my above example] to better aid the plight among Tasmania’s expansive flock of neglected people.

          Other than that, perhaps a letter from yourself, given your inclination to follow the notorious dictums of Tasmania’s State Junta, will be more acceptable to that same.


          Oh, and by the way, there is no means available here for you to suggest that this linked article is a creation of my Roseberian* mindset.
          (*Karlson’s knob interelated kinetics and or dynamics.)

          It is hoped that a lesser combatant agenda would help us to better pursue the necessary changes deemed essential within the slow function think-tank of Tasmania’s Fire Services.

          • William Boeder

            April 28, 2019 at 4:52 pm

            MjF, now steady on with your Karlson’s knob theorizing, try this article below that speaks of copius woodsmoke inflicted poisonous contaminants.
            Now as to my objective of diverting funding to the Rural Fire Brigade, is to help these good guys ensure they are provided with the best pumps, and most effective, even if it is to be new equipment, as well as the best safety gear, perhaps even to acquire on-site bogie water tankers to be effectively deployed closer to any portending bushfire….within each of Tasmania’s regional zoned areas, that would reduce the time for copious fire truck water refills.
            2 trucks acting in support of each other at the fire location, one being refilled close by while the other continues to douse the fire in their allotted area.
            I agree with you that post major event bushfire inquiries….do not produce a dicky-bird of consequence, I will try a strong letter to the applicable portfolio holding Michael Ferguson (it is hoped I am able to penetrate the leathery thickness of that Liberal party member’s pia mater located between the brain’s surface and the overlaying dura-mater) might jag his inclinations to where they should be directed rather than remain obstructed [as per my above example] to better aid the plight among Tasmania’s expansive flock of neglected people.

            Other than that, perhaps a letter from yourself, given your inclination to follow the notorious dictums of Tasmania’s State Junta, will be more acceptable to that same.


            Oh, and by the way, there is no means available here for you to suggest that this linked article is a creation of my Roseberian* mindset.
            (*Karlson’s knob interelated kinetics and or dynamics.)

            It is hoped that a lesser combatant agenda would help us to better pursue the necessary changes deemed essential within the slow function think-tank of Tasmania’s Fire Services.

  6. Lyndall

    April 17, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Some very sad news. Extracts below:

    “Fifteen of Australia’s tallest trees have been found destroyed after Tasmania’s summer bushfires, tree enthusiasts say.
    The Riveaux Road fire in south-west Tasmania burnt almost 64,000 hectares of bush in summer, damaging eucalypts in the Huon Valley area, south of Hobart.”

    “To be protected, trees must be taller than 85 metres, or have 280 cubic metres of girth. According to Sustainable Timber Tasmania, which manages the state forest, 180 Tasmanian trees meet that criteria.”

    “One tree that didn’t survive was called the Prefect — a 500-year-old giant with a base 19 metres wide. Mr Misfud said he once wanted the climb the Prefect, but this time he visited, found a blackened stump and a tangle of dead branches and leaves.” “This is one of our top 20 trees in Australia for size and now it’s just a pile of ash really.”

    “…the Arve Big Tree. At 87 metres tall, it survived bushfires in 1967 — but the 2019 blaze killed it.”

    Centurian, Australia’s tallest tree, survived.


    • MJF

      April 17, 2019 at 5:44 pm

      “280 cubic metres of girth” should be 280 cubic metres of volume.

      Sad indeed however many more existing trees will continue to grow and join the Giant Tree ranks.

    • Rob Halton

      April 18, 2019 at 2:54 am

      I would of hoped that the tree surveyors would have observed any seed fall from the giants during their field exercise, both fallen and remaining standing giants can hopefully spread their genes .

      As a retired Tech Forester I would be very concerned about the potential for new forest to emerge via seed fall on the extensive fireground where eucalypts have been either severely fire damaged or killed as regrowth (1967 wildfire or younger silvicultural regrowth).
      In my opinion that will be the clincher to see what new forest emerges from the devastation, in the case of plantation hardwood fire killed I would expect the matter of future ground cover would be a far more serious matter.

      MJF I am not familiar with either the potential for salvage or silvicultural or outcomes for blackened areas of plantation nitens as I wonder what STT will do with their precious pruned stands many now thinned probably bearing too much charcoal for any commercial use.

      It seems that the Riveaux fire the one that Parks allegedly let escape ended up destroying a vast area of consolidated potential future commercial forest,managed by STT, the long term is not looking bright at all, decades of hard work by forest managers laid to waste.

      I am looking foward to STT CEO Steve Whiteley releasing to the public information that relates to the current status of these forests presumably via extensive aerial survey using spot photography and ground survey and to ascertain the next step for salvage and or regeneration.

      As an interested person looking over some of my old tramping ground i would like to see roads reopened asap instead of having to suffer all this extremely cautious nonsense over OHS as an excuse to prolong the use of the forest amenity from public use.

      Easter is close and I am itching to look closer at the burnt forests, my wife as an artist and nature lover we are both keen for access that may well inspire her ability to photograph interesting burnt subject matter to inspire a series of watercolors.

      We are both keen to visit the Florentine before winter sets in and observe what has happened along Tiger Road area as well.

      More monies for all of these bush fire recovery events should be pointed towards reopening forest assess, another is when is Hartz Road to be reopened up into the National Park as another public amenity of great interest
      . It seems these areas are continued to be treated like war zones despite the fact the fires are now well past!

      • MjF

        April 18, 2019 at 5:45 pm

        Mr Haltom

        In Lyndalls provided ABC News link, there’s reference to new seedings observed at the remnants of the “Prefect” tree It appears natural regeneration is underway at least at one site anyway,

        The future for any burnt plantation is nil. E nitens is not fire tolerant and in most cases will progressively die after scorch. Charcoal is the killer for pulpwood salvage as all trees burnt will transfer black carbon onto logs through processing. This would render the product unchippable. All that can be achieved I think will be salvage of any unburnt sections of damaged plantations before pushing whats left up into heaps and starting all over again.

        I do hope Mrs Halton finds a few photogenic opportunities during your Easter getaway. My tip would be to pack the Farm Boss with a spare chain, axe, shovel, tow chain, boltcutters and a few other tools, just in case. Oh yeah, some eggs too to sustain your energies.

    • Clive Stott

      April 20, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      Seems like they have some tree measurements muddled here. A “500 year old giant with a base 19 meters wide” would make the tree 6o meters in circumference.

      But anyway who is kidding who? It is one thing for a tree to have a protection status on paper and another to save it. Who and how are they going to save these protected trees from bushfires…bushfires that were either deliberately left to burn, or through unforgivable poor planning, not extinguished in their infancy?

      MJF we have all this unspent money, fire people to be paid extras and more TV news film opportunities so the fuel mitigation process must go ahead. Time to sling the bambi bucket on the micro copter Lyndall. Time to play!

      Minister Ferguson is the Minister for Fire. He has forgotten his other cap, Minister for Health. Both these two departments release propaganda about the problems of breathing smoke that he is ultimately responsible for causing.
      More people are dying from smoke induced diseases in Tasmania than are being burned to death.

      I see these bushfires have still not been extinguished. The plan is to burn as much as they can; to make as many people as sick as they can.

      Time to put this web link up again. https://www.billshorten.com.au/_labor_s_national_fire_fighting_fleet_sunday_17_march_2019

      • Lyndall

        April 21, 2019 at 10:03 am

        Hi Clive,

        I think the momentum for action is definitely building; even though it’s too late for many precious areas that have been burned in the last few years in Tasmania (and elsewhere e.g. rainforest in Qld).

        The “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more” climate change action planets are aligning with the recent formation of the ‘Emergency Leaders for Climate Action’ that made their inaugural statement earlier this month, along with Labor’s policy and The Greens not too dissimilar policy:



        Quite a few of this fire season’s earlier wildfires in Victoria are still active too – community notices have remained in place for months warning about smoke hazard. One of them at Rosedale involves peat and has been burning/smouldering since 5 Jan 2019. I can only assume from this that the authorities are effectively just keeping an eye on it while otherwise simply leaving it to its own devices to burn out all remaining peat for as long as it takes. This in itself is a tragedy and environmental vandalism, imo. These deposits may not be in the same league as those terrible conflagrations in the TWHA, but nonetheless they may have formed up to *15000 years ago with the vegetation atop selectively forming to suit.

        I assume some of the peat ecosystems in Tasmania have also suffered the same fate.

        As some more philosophically in TT have noted, yes the trees might grow back, eventually. But the loss of age, ecosystem stability, complexity, species diversity, and habitat niches serve as a brutal assault which does not bode well for sustainability. If peat soils are involved as well, then these are virtually irreplaceable – most formed after the last *Pleistocene glaciation period; so it takes a huge scale of change and time as in a geological era to make these things.

        …(Sigh) I’ve just depressed myself again…


        Anyway, you raise a disturbing point about “More people are dying from smoke induced diseases in Tasmania …”.
        I don’t want to put you on the spot (or challenge what you say), but have you got any stats on that at all (or point me to a website)? It would be a very useful and compelling additional argument to use to lobby governments and others re wildfire prevention.

        Climate Change i.e. the ‘new normal’ is here and we need to be smart, adjust and take preventive action accordingly at a scale that only governments can do.

    • William Boeder

      April 21, 2019 at 9:39 pm

      Lyndall and Clive, I had sent off another letter to the primary minister of DPIPWE minister Guy Barnett MP (yesterday transmitted) that specified the shortcomings and the non-lessons-learned from the devastative recent bushfire experiences, relative to each of the nowadays times of the continuing inadequate bushfire response times.

      There are no special means that I am aware of, that have been adopted by the new but inappropriately named Sustainable Timbers Tasmania (STT) to engage more fulsomely in the new climate-change era now upon us and ‘the lessons learned’ (yet obviously ignored) as a consequence of Tasmania’s increasing number of environmental threatening sudden lightning-strike initiated bushfires.

      Of course the stand-alone most obvious response should be to immediately engage in what is decidedly the best means of what there is available of Tasmania’s existent aerial fire-fighting aircraft to be immediately dispatched to the extinguishing of these types of remote area fires.

      Each of the remote area smoke-generating newly ignited fires do kindly provide their location by way of their ancient smoke-signalling traditions, this happens to be the simplest of the intelligence required to act in the immediate and deliver their extinguishment.

      Then by something more substantial than Clive’s observed, inadequate ‘Bambi-buckets’ (thanks Clive) should already be well addressed as part of the necessary radical new planning of Tasmania’s response strategy by the management of the TFS and its reluctant portfolio minister Michael Ferguson.
      At the same time it is better if the radical new planning meetings are not attended by Guy Barnett MP given his delinquent contra actions to minimize the cost of regulatory environment act breaches…..by Tasmania’s Marine Farm operators contrary to the demanded cost units by the Tasmania’s Acts & Regulations* see below;

      Otherwise the forested realms in Tasmania will continue to remain exposed to the indecisions of the alleged criminally negligent petifoggering cronies found lumbering somewhere adrift among the TFS administration hierarchy, one must ask the reason why this State must continue to host a few former bigshot government officials (is this merely demanded by some sort of long ago Tom-fool tradition) they each hanging about seeking their generous honorariums for reigning on a board of directors as some sort of official elder person guild of progressive yet retarditive old codgers having a form of decision-making influence over an arguably insufficient Tasmanian Fire Service.

      Much could have been learned from the intelligent discourse already engaged in per this article and the auspices of Lyndall, published in Tasmanian Times (thank you Lyndall) about that which has been rather intelligently expressed…. then to include the best considered for acquisition of new aerial fire fighting craft along, with a radical new attitudinal strategy in place to dispatch their immediate deployment.

      The Acts
      EMPCA is part of the Tasmanian Resource Management and Planning System, and provides the legislative framework for environmental management and pollution control in the State.
      Litter Act
      The Litter Act 2007 is Tasmania’s key litter legislation. The Act introduced new types of littering laws into Tasmania and provides a legal basis for the Litter Hotline.
      NEPC Act
      An Act that mirrors corresponding legislation in the other Australian jurisdictions to establish the National Environment Protection Council, and provide a framework for the development of national environmental standards in Australia.Environment Act.

      • Lyndall

        April 22, 2019 at 11:52 am

        Dare I say it William but you’re on fire at the moment. Good on you for putting a passionate pen to paper (yet again) and lobbying key players. The GG approach is an interesting one; I look forward to its progress and any eventual reply and if so from whom I wonder…

        Your timing for these efforts builds alongside the momentum I refer to above which is further evidenced by the massive number of arrests (now 710) in London of protesters wanting immediate climate action by governments:


        Similarly frustrated in protest, Doctors for the Environment Australia have signed a global call for “Clinicians to Act on Planetary Health” and asking governments to take urgent climate change action due to the current and growing adverse environmental & human health affects being experienced. Obviously the issue of poor air quality due to the increased and increasing frequency of wildfires is part of and comes under the same call for action by the global group of clinicians:

        “19 Apr 2019 – Doctors for the Environment Australia is among a wide-ranging international coalition of medical and healthcare organisations that have signed A Call for Clinicians to Act on Planetary Health, which is published today in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. The call warns of the severe impacts of accelerating global environmental change on our health and the dire need to address the causes. It also seeks to galvanise doctors, nurses and other clinicians to work with their patients on lifestyle modifications that would benefit both planetary health and individual health. ” https://www.dea.org.au/

        The Emperor has no clothes. The puny minds of denial and vested political interests cloaked in fear-mongering, disinformation and spin from our politicians and our governments is at last being fully revealed and realised by the people.

        Hopefully we are now actually seeing this massive ship currently on the path to oblivion slowly turning towards the path of enlightened political will and genuine sustainability i.e.as much as we are able, manage the planet’s atmospheric health for the viability and maintenance of what’s left of this anthropomorphic era’s ecosystems.

        • Clive Stott

          April 28, 2019 at 3:17 am

          Yes Lyndall, West Coast William is a real asset when it comes to this topic, and so many others. Well done William, and a big thank you for your letter writing!

          Lyndall you may not be aware of the The Trial of Michelle O’Byrne in the Court of Public Opinion back in 2009; almost 10 years ago now. William was there!


          Of course big thanks to Linz, too!

          • Lyndall

            April 28, 2019 at 9:38 am

            Thank you Clive,

            Clearly I had no idea about the long history within TT on the comprehensively-covered smoke issue nor the very personal & justifiably compelling reasons for creating the cleanairtas website. I’m a little embarrassed, and I apologise for any offense given to you and similarly involved others with my Johnny-come-lately weakly-informed inputs on the subject.

            I note from the 2009/10 M.O’B trial notes that an EPA in Tasmania did not exist back then – or just not involved in any meaningful monitoring of air quality? But since then it seems Tasmania now has a fairly good coverage of air quality monitoring stations that perhaps is largely due to the good advocacy done by yourselves.

            Even so, smoke hazard production with resultant dangerous health impacts continues. You live this reality. So, obviously prevention & mitigation rather than simply monitoring needs to be urgently addressed. That ‘new and improved’ smoke forecasting model by BoM/CSIRO/DELWP will hopefully come into general use soon, but when…. ? (The project is already 4 years on). I’ll poke around a bit more to see if I can get some info.

  7. MjF

    April 16, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Onward and upward. There must be something left that’s still flammable …

    Planned fuel reduction burn at Adelaide River

    Tasmania Fire Service advises that weather permitting, the Parks and Wildlife Service will be conducting a fuel reduction burn today (16/4/19) at Adelaide River, as part of the TWWHA Fire Mitigation Program which is aimed to reduce fire risk to visitors, communities, the outstanding universal value of the TWWHA and critical infrastructure within and adjacent to the TWWHA.

    The total area of this burn will be approximately 451 hectares, and is likely to take 2 to 3 days to complete. Smoke may persist some days afterward depending on wind conditions.

    During burning operations public access to this area will be restricted. The public is asked to remain well out of the burn site while the burn is taking place and for the following days until safety checks have been made along tracks and trails. Please comply with directions from staff or any signs if you are in the area.

    While the fire intensity will be low, it will generate flames, smoke and ash. People with medical conditions are advised to have a personal plan for avoiding smoke from the burn. Advice is available from the Department of Health and Human Services and Asthma Australia websites. Current air quality information is also available via the Environment Protection Authority website

    Further information about this burn is available by contacting the Parks and Wildlife Service on 03 6464 3008.

    • Lyndall

      April 17, 2019 at 9:53 am

      MjF – I sincerely hope they’ve taken into consideration the location, amount and type of habitat that’s already burned from the wildfires this year.

      • MjF

        April 17, 2019 at 12:55 pm

        Me also. It appears the TWWHA Fire Mitigation Program must be adhered to, maybe with some revision though. Cant imagine what the cleanairtas organisation would be thinking.

  8. Rob Halton

    April 13, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Lyndall, within areas of the State such as the East Coast and Midlands where the Drought factor potentially reaches 10 and once the SDI stays above 120 then all burns in the open are subject to permit and Inspection prior to burning may have to be enforced by a RESPONSIBLE TFS OFFICER or his nominee who will be required to counter sign the burn as safe to proceed.

    The human trust factor has to be brought up to measure with the times where the impact of escaped fires in the open are seen as a serioua threat to the movement of the public. In the past I have stayed with friends at their shack at Dolphin sands from my observations and that was almost 20 years ago the potential fire hazard flows across properties from one to the other in including the Coastal reserves, it is inevitable given the extent of the nature vegetation it will burn at some stage.

    Managing the risk should involve the Fire Service to check on properties annually as an education program for owners and enforce the permit system to include all fires in the open . The issuing of notices by the Council to affected owners to clean up their properties presenting as a fire hazard could be another way of stopping “willy nilly” permission or not to burn rubbish in the open during a fire permit period!

    A major in the field public relations exercise by both Council, Fire service and Parks may be a good start before the issuing of fire hazard notices to the property owners,even if it means up to 90 per cent of owners who are carrying some degree of fire risk!

    In my opinion the Central-Southern Midlands area of the State is currently another dangerous hot spot where extensive wild fires follwing light bush and unstocked / lightly stocked grass lands could slip out of control at any drop of the hat!. Fire Service needs to sharpen their wits before the next fire season to reach out to land owners particularly those city dwelling weekenders who are still learning the lay of the land with regards to fire protection.

    Field work and more fire work,it wont hurt the heavily uniformed and well paid Fire Service to hold workshops at country centres either. Give the smart screens in HQ a rest and face the public at the coal face!

    • Lyndall

      April 13, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Rob – I reckon TFS needs to sharpen its wits right now. The fire season and risk isn’t over yet.

      As you say there are areas in the state that are dangerously dry which contain communities that are possibly not fully cognisant of the slowly developing fire risk they’re living in. Times have changed, and so have fire conditions. People need to be made aware of this ‘new normal’.

      Next Wednesday might be a day to watch. There are a number of regions which jump up to High FDR and the c-Haines index is not excessive but nevertheless a worrying correlation for raised values along the mid-west to s-w coastal hinterlands. I think a front is due to cross over Tassie later in the day, so all-up troublesome fire-conducive conditions (perhaps even with an odd bit of dry lightning to add to the potential fire mix?).

      I just hope TFS and local brigades are reading things ahead in the same way and will be prepared to jump quickly on any starts (including remote ones) and ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’ before they get any legs… and don’t hold back on the Helitacks.

  9. Clive Stott

    April 12, 2019 at 2:45 am


    And here is video of a black hawk ‘in action’…
    Bambi buckets!!

    • Lyndall

      April 13, 2019 at 7:41 am

      Hi Clive,

      I get frustrated and even slightly saddened when I watch operations such as in the vid clip you provided. The puniness of the bucket of water is stunningly obvious when you view the entirety of the fire-ground and the length of active fire. Hence my ad nauseam plea for these machines to be used more often to their best advantage & highest potential i.e. up-front for first attack on brand new (small) fires – a no-brainer, I think.

      Coulson Aviation, who is already operating in Australia (incl. the night trials in Vic), is working on new refits of Blackhawk and Chinook. No doubt they’ll end up here next season. If you’re into details :-), you might like the below info. The Ch-47 Chinook will have a tank capacity (similar to a Skycrane’s) of 11356 litres; the Blackhawk tanks, 3028 – 3785 litres.



  10. Russell

    April 11, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    More reasons why existing dam storages must NOT be decommissioned. TasWater has about 200 of them all over Tasmania that they want off their books.

    It’s extremely possible that there is a dam near you which TasWater which skulk in unannounced and pull the plug on forever like they are trying to do with the Waratah Reservoir, a dam which they never initially inherited and somehow mysteriously was Heritage de-listed recently.

    Just as they fear their liability insurance may increase if such dams somehow catastrophically fail all of a sudden, they should ALSO fear the legal consequences of decommissioning a dam (which has always been used to draw from to fight fires) if deaths or property loss occurs as a result in this now well publicly and scientifically accepted warmer and drier climate we live in.

  11. Rob Halton

    April 11, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Sands fire, Lyndall’s and Simon’s comments,
    The likely hood of the permit issuing officer failing a request carry out a field inspection prior to establish safe burning practices given the SDI for Swansea is currently 142 which indicates the surrounding lands contain very dry coastal scrub which is subject to daily coastal sea breezes over the past summer when it is obvious the fire danger has been in the high to extreme zone regularly.

    This is the problem with TFS despite all of their sophisticated equipment and “well” trained officers, basic bush nous is still lacking.

    Not bad eh, a 1m3 fire has now grown to 120 ha and caused havoc in the coastal community! The better approach would have been for a few of the local volunteers rock up with a tanker carry out the burning and extinguish the fire with water with the owner present who would benefit from the experience.

    • Lyndall

      April 11, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      Hi Rob,

      I’ve now learned that this particular burn-off didn’t require a permit due to its small size, so TFS is off the hook in terms of having any heads-up or given permissions for this fire start:
      “TFS regional fire investigator Adam Doran said anyone conducting such a burn needed to be prepared for the risk of fire escaping. …“In this instance, the property owner was burning vegetation in a pile less than a cubic metre, therefore a permit was not required. However, this type of burn still requires adequate preparation such as a 3m mineral earth break, an accessible water supply and fire equipment that is in good working order.” https://www.news.com.au/national/tasmania/waterbombing-aircraft-sent-to-tackle-bushfire-at-dolphin-sands-on-tasmanias-east-coast/news-story/893ef2f284ac182bffffbe3b5c2a2caf

      Apart from that I completely agree with your sentiments and excellent suggestion. Given the conditions, fire risk and possible water supply issues for the community in this area (and others similar), I think it’d be an excellent move to involve the local volunteer firefighters in local private burn-offs. Educational and safer all-round while creating good community spirit.

      By the way, I also share your concerns with the drying soil in our landscapes. Unfortunately, it’s not well captured in our fire risk indices, and I could only see it as part of the Forest Fire Danger Index: “The Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) has been calculated using a Forest Fire Drought Factor value (the same as the Forest Fuel Dryness Factor as shown in METEYE) calculated by the Bureau of Meteorology based on the Mount Soil Dryness Index..”. http://www.bom.gov.au/tas/forecasts/fire-map.shtml

      Today, again, for both the Forest and Moorland FDIs in Tasmania, the scores are near or at minimum and in the blue.

      A problem with any index when trying to combine a number of different factors is the weighting given to each factor and the overall ‘shandying’ effect to produce a single score. Hence extreme readings for one factor may not be realistically reflected. For example, today (again) for both the Forest and Moorland FDIs in Tasmania, the scores a well towards the minimum and ‘in the blue’. So high and unusually dry SDIs do not get reflected yet it may be a significant trend & sign.

      Another factor that has become a worrying but hidden sign in the last several years is Pan evaporation. Since monitoring from the 1970s the global trend used to be that Pan evaporation was in decline – seemingly in line with a ‘stilling’ trend of wind speeds. But now Pan evaporation is increasing in parts of Australia, including Tasmania, and other parts of the world. This does not bode well for sustainable waterways, water supply or for water availability in the landscape for fighting fires. (It doesn’t seem sustainable or strategic to plan on (current) water supplies as future ‘renewable energy’ for hydro ‘battery’ storage either. Risky and a possible white elephant).

      F.Y.I. see for example – ‘Revisiting trends in Australian pan evaporation’ Research Letter 2018: http://ozewex.org/revisiting-trends-in-australian-pan-evaporation/

  12. Lyndall

    April 11, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Great news – just yesterday a newly-formed group has stepped up and released a statement for urgent action:

    Climate Council News, 10 May 2019 –

    “Emergency Chiefs: Australia unprepared for worsening extremes

    “For the first time, 23 former Fire and Emergency Chiefs with more than 600 years of combined experience have banded together to call for stronger action on climate change, warning that worsening extreme weather is threatening Australian lives.

    “Emergency services are on the front-line of climate change and are witnessing devastating consequences first hand. We are deeply concerned about the lack of climate action at a national level and felt obligated to speak out,” said Greg Mullins, former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner.

    “Emergency services are facing an escalating crisis. In the last year we’ve seen unseasonal fires in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, floods and twin cyclones in parts of northern Australia, longer bushfire danger periods, and fires burning in rainforests.

    “Rising greenhouse gas pollution from the burning of coal, oil and gas, is worsening extreme weather and putting people in danger.

    “Emergency responders are doing their best to protect Australians from worsening extreme weather, but the Federal Government just hasn’t stepped up to do its part by rapidly and deeply reducing our emissions,” said Mr Mullins.

    The chiefs have issued a joint statement, with signatories from every state and territory. It calls on the Prime Minister to:

    • Meet with a delegation of former emergency services leaders to discuss rapidly escalating climate change risks.
    • Commit to a parliamentary inquiry into whether Australian emergency services are adequately resourced and equipped to cope with increasing natural disaster risks due to climate change.
    • Consider current arrangements and their effectiveness and properly fund strategic national emergency management resources.

    “Our priority is keeping Australians safe, and ensuring the brave men and women who are working in increasingly dangerous conditions, have all the support and equipment they need to do their job,” said Mr Mullins.

    “We have come together from across the country and issued this call to action because climate change is dangerous; and the safety and well-being of Australians is not up for debate.

    “We can’t afford to ignore the issue, and neither can our country’s leaders,” said Mr Mullins.

    To view the statement, click here …


    See also: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/former-fire-chiefs-demand-urgent-action-on-escalating-climate-change-threat

    • William Boeder

      April 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm

      Lyndall, yes it is good news, however, let us not forget that our Tasmanian concerns may be incorporated by the group of Chiefs to result in a series of recommendations, the fact is that any and all recommendations will in all likelihood end up traveling into the office shredder.
      It wont be the first time that the paper shredder strategy has put into immediate effect.

      Now another matter of serious concern is that the State’s Authorities, (read State government port folio ministers and government department heads) that attend to all matters throughout Tasmania, all have in their time worn wisdom munficiently created a history of ignoring any and all of the best intended and recommendations to improve Tasmania’s futures.

      Unfortunately. given this fact history, it is doubtful that the compelling call for changes, including an across the State attitudinal mind reset resultant from the collective minds of these champions, may not even reach the shores of Tasmania, simply slip overboard into the waters of Bass Strait to be lost and gone forever.

      Tasmania lauds itself about our World’s Best Practices, a term that is apt to be applied to anything this State’s government have a part to play in, take the ongoing denigration of our Crown Land native forests as an example, these are still destined to become little more than wood-chips.

      As for your comment Robin, in this instance I would have followed your recommendation in having conducted that small burn-off.

      Imagine the saving of manpower, operational expense blow-out, the boys in the TFS office having to formulate some reason in how the inevitable has occurred irrespective to the current best practices as will be irresponsibly presumed by the TFS hierarchy.

    • Simon Warriner749@gmail.com

      April 11, 2019 at 4:54 pm

      It is a great and enduring shame that Mike Brown did not ensure that my partner, working in his employee, was provided with a safe and secure workplace when I first wrote suggesting that was in fact his duty of care, and that it was not being fulfilled. Sorry, but that useless man’s signature is not worth the ink used to write it.

  13. MjF

    April 11, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Historically Dolphin Sands is quite fire prone. No doubt largely due to the coastal boobyalla as Simon points out. Heavy bracken and native grasses would also be prevalent. Also lifestyle blocks there which encourage owners to mange their own vegetative rubbish.

    I wonder what the full range of scenarios is, that a registered “backyard burn” might fall within and what preparations are required ?

    • Lyndall

      April 11, 2019 at 4:59 pm

      Hi MjF,

      Any sandy coastal veg is a sure bet for being fire-prone (instrinsic), but couple that with relaxed ‘rural living’ settlements within a slowly drying environment and these places are becoming more fire-prone without residents (or councils) realising.

      The present rules mentioned for conducting a fire without permit = “…pile less than a cubic metre, therefore a permit was not required. However, this type of burn still requires adequate preparation such as a 3m mineral earth break, an accessible water supply and fire equipment that is in good working order.” https://www.news.com.au/national/tasmania/waterbombing-aircraft-sent-to-tackle-bushfire-at-dolphin-sands-on-tasmanias-east-coast/news-story/893ef2f284ac182bffffbe3b5c2a2caf

      No mention in the article of avoiding windy days (wind speed max cut-off would be useful), or how much water and at what pressure etc, or what exactly “fire equipment” entails (e.g. any special hose, nozzle, pumps etc – should be defined and made known. I had a very quick look on TFS website but couldn’t find any details for small unregistered burns).

      Developing Rob Halton’s idea for these sorts of fire-risk communities would probably be a wise move. If private small burns could be conducted with assistance & coordinated by local volunteer firefighting stations (and with administrative support of local councils), there’s more chance of this work being done let alone safely. This could be a good community fire prevention programme.

      • MjF

        April 12, 2019 at 1:33 pm

        There’s something not kosher here, Lyndal. Here is some conflicting information from TFS’s Adam Doran:

        “The Tasmania Fire Service said investigators had determined the cause of the blaze was an escaped hazard reduction burn being conducted by a landowner on private property.

        “In this instance, the property owner was burning vegetation in a pile less than a cubic metre, therefore a permit was not required”.

        So now, is burning a pile of leaves a hazard reduction burn ? A bit of a stretch. This is why the public has rightfully lost faith in fire authorities when they can’t even use accurate terminology.

        It also appears a lit pile of less than 1 cubic metre is not expected to cause any problems, according to the authorities.

        • Lyndall

          April 12, 2019 at 6:03 pm

          Gee, you’re right; good pick-up on both points MjF. ‘Hazard reduction burn’ is a misnomer in this case if it was just a cubic metre-sized pile of loose material (i.e. not an area of veg growing in situ that was fuel-reduced). I’d just call that burning off (rubbish).

          As for authorities presuming that small size bonfires don’t require a permit because they are comparatively safe… well, the Dolphin Sands East incident proves otherwise rather spectacularly. I’m not sure what the solution is for communities that need to dispose of their material such as from clearing fire breaks or raking up sticks & leaf litter. Perhaps this should also fall under the category of community fire prevention and organised burns conducted with help from local firie volunteers. (Ideally local council could organise green waste removal and take to a composting facility).

          • MjF

            April 13, 2019 at 9:56 am

            A decent prosecution or three might help elevate the risk profile of do-it-yourself burnoffs and lack of preparedness/resources amongst property owners. Local brigades are limited in what they can do because of the voluntary nature and availability of personnel. Make people responsible for their actions.

            I just love the bit about certain outside fires types being too small and presumably innocuous to warrant a permit. Is this actually deemed a reasonable approach from the overall fire authority ? It seems so.

            What backyard firelighter measures up their rubbish heap to determine the permit need ? The worlds gone totally mad if TFS believes this.

  14. Lyndall

    April 10, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Just as a general comment and exercise, I’d like to understand why the Dolphin Sands East fire ended up uncontrollable and listed as an emergency. Below is a bit of background F.Y.I. I’d like to know what others think.

    ABC News 9/04/2019 –
    “A bushfire threatening homes at Dolphin Sands on Tasmania’s east coast is still at emergency level.
    Six crews stayed in place overnight and managed to stop any properties being lost. Seventeen crews are fighting the 56-hectare blaze which moved rapidly on Tuesday afternoon.
    The winds died down about 10pm but are expected to pick up again this morning. …
    Hobart station officer Jarrod Reid said crews had not yet been able to gain the upper hand.
    “We resourced as many crews as we could to it very quickly, however we cannot get control of it at this stage and we’ve actually got to the stage now where the wind is pushing the fire in an easterly direction and we’re pulling some of the fire crews out because of the danger to the fire crews themselves,” he said. …
    “The fire was started by a registered backyard burn off that got out of control. …”

    The prevailing conditions for this fire are worth examining for context:
    • The fire was first reported 09-Apr-2019 2:28 PM and started from a registered backyard burn – so presumably the fire was still immature and relatively small in area when first attended.
    • FDRs today (Wed) & for the rest of the week are Low-Medium for all districts in Tasmania & presumably FDR yesterday during the fire start was also relatively benign.
    • Fire Danger Index ratings for both grass & forest today (see below) are at the lowest end of the scale – presumably similar low ratings applied yesterday.
    • C-Haines, an indicator of fire behaviour (level of difficulty), was not present or having any influence yesterday (see below).
    • Weather indices such as temperature and humidity were not conducive to uncontrollable fire behaviour (see BoM latest obs from nearest station below).
    • Wind gusts were in the 30s in the early-mid afternoon which would’ve increased fire behaviour and risk, and this one factor alone should’ve possibly meant that it was too risky for the registered private planned burn to go ahead that day.

    My questions are:
    • What time did the actual first attack occur after the reported incident at 2.28 PM?
    • What was the response for first attack? E.g. how many vehicles first attended at once and what was the total amount of water delivered (say, within first 30 minutes) and in what pattern of delivery (e.g. continuous and at what rate; breaks between refills/backup etc?).
    • What intel was fed back to the IC about the fire (size, behaviour, fuel type and area) and how long after first arriving on site? Were more appliances requested? If so when did these start direct attack?

    As I’ve learned now from Penney et al. 2019, most significantly, in making any evaluation of understanding why the first attack failed, fire managers need to know the critical water flow rate that was delivered for first attack.

    Until fire managers understand this and adjust the weight of their responses accordingly (to the fire’s characteristics), we will continue to see some dangerous and uncontrollable wildfires develop which were potentially avoidable. According to Penney, aerial waterbombing for first attack would be the most effective. But in absence of this, the safest default should be to send multiple units for a coordinated potent and continuous 1st attack – and don’t worry about sending an overkill. (Better safe than sorry).

    Penney, G.; Habibi, D.; Cattani, M.; Carter, M. Calculation of Critical Water Flow Rates for Wildfire Suppression. Fire 2019, 2, 3. https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/publications/biblio/bnh-5299

    In this case for the Dolphin Sands East wildfire in particular, I’d also question why a registered planned burn was conducted – or at least was allowed to go ahead – under such gusty conditions (if indeed, those 30-39 km/hr winds do pose a risk for fire control – I don’t actually know & I’m just guessing they possibly do).

    PS – I’m unable to paste the screen shots I made of BoM weather for Friendly Beaches, C-Haines and Fire Danger Index, so here are the three links instead:

    • Simon Warriner

      April 10, 2019 at 5:22 pm

      Lyndall, about the only bit of info I could add is that the fire was in coastal boobyalla scrub which is tinder dry, very oily and burns extremely well with very little encouragement. I did hear this am that all the residences out that way are on bore water and if the power goes out no water is available, so that would not help. I imagine the response time to get more than a single appliance on site would be more than 10 minutes, and none of them would be carrying more than 3000 litres at the most before needing to refill.

      I suspect inexperience and inattention at a critical point are the primary causes, but from this distance it is only a guess.

      • Lyndall

        April 11, 2019 at 12:28 pm

        Hi Simon and thanks.
        The troublesome fire behaviour at Dolphin Sands East would seem attributable to its intrinsic coastal scrub coupled with the gusty conditions that occurred that afternoon. However, all other risk factors and indicators I looked at seemed to point to low risk fire behaviour and relatively good firefighting conditions. The site is fairly flat, accessible and within a settled district; weather was mild; and fire risk indices (FDR, FDIs, c-Haines) that day were at the low end of their scales.

        As such, the chances of rapid response and early stage fire suppression were in theory pretty good. The coastal scrub is probably also a good candidate for very effective aerial waterbombing (compared to tall forest, for example) and the immediate access to plenty of sea water for refills favours the use of Helitacks or (if calm enough) the water-scooping fixed-wing Air Tractor Fireboss.

        In my opinion the conditions and context did favour a successful suppression operation. That left only the fire management side of the firefighting equation – i.e. rapid response timing with adequate weight of first attack – to prevent the fire from going completely rogue.

        I found this news article with a vid clip of Steve Walkley, Acting District Officer, explaining the response and conditions. He said the response was “Seventeen fire units within probably 2 hours… 3 helicopters within an hour”, which in number and water capacity is very hefty and impressive.

        But – nevertheless this first response was a failure. (This is not a personal attack on all involved but is self-evident given the status and outcome of the Dolphin Sands East fire). One hour for attendance by helicopters is too long; the fire has had ample time (especially enabled with gusting winds) to spread, build, mature and behave more uncontrollably. Hence the weight of attack and its potential effect has been greatly diminished by the late arrival. Similarly, a long two hours to take for even 17 fire units to respond are self-evidently not enough force to meet with the maturing and then fully mature fire they all eventually faced.

        I’m guessing that if even half (or a third?) of this force attacked within the first 30 minutes of the fire’s registry then the fire – presumably still relatively small & immature at this stage – could’ve been brought under control at least. Ideally, if two helicopters could’ve attended within this critical but narrow window to work with multiple ground crews, I think that would ensure easy access to the fire for targeted direct attack, better coverage and a more continuous flow of water delivery due to quick turn-around. (Aerial units in place initially can also supply valuable intel of the fireground for more strategic & efficacious fire management).

        I’m just observing and supposing from my comfy armchair. But if we don’t delve into why the initial response failed in order to learn and make adjustments accordingly, we’ll be forever locked into helplessly witnessing more and more wildfires and hopelessly fighting them at their more uncontrollable and potentially damaging, dangerous stage.

  15. Lyndall

    April 7, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    For anyone interested in the Victorian Night Firebombing operations trial in Victoria, here’s a video (>16 mins):


    • William Boeder

      April 7, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      Lyndall, again well done, also what you describe as raving, is, to the lesser informed multitude of others, far better considered as valuable information even though it may be an update of information, is still the kind of news that most all this State’s people continue to appreciate.
      I note Simon’s strongly-worded comment, given he is most all times correct. Will it be sufficient to crack the Walnut-casing and then achieve their targeted mark? One hopes so.

      I had watched your referenced ‘night fire-bombing’ video, then very pleased that I had done so, I am impressed that you continue to offer up every necessary aspect of fire-fighting endeavor and or new applications as become available that are indeed relevant and applicable here in Tasmania.

      Usually it falls back on ‘if’ Tas Fire Service were more interested in the development of their State service?

      My guess is that the TFS hierarchy have not yet prepared and sent a submission into the Federal government to have access to the ‘night fire-bombing’ program funding and seek a place among the trials still being conducted?
      Who cares, if it is only WHA listed National Park territory, especially if we can’t log it then slip in a bit of mono-species plantation,
      then that can go to buggery.
      The people of Tasmania must be fed-up to their throats by the slow response of the State’s Fire-service hierarchy to react as quick as safely must be done to lightning-strike ignited bushfires, no matter where they have began to identify themselves by their ‘unique smoke message’ means of location.
      Given the $100 million dollars income for the year 2018, to then read up the the expenditures wherein some of this same is being pissed against the wall, is proof of the constant State government department disinterest to the most important services of that State reliant service.
      How one will ever be able to penetrate the audacious arrogant smog that hovers around their incompetent selves which has become the dividing space between reality and this State’s hierarchy, remains one of this State’s deepest buried secrets.

  16. Simon Warriner

    April 4, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    All the budget in the world is not worth squat if the idiots making the decisions decide not to deploy the resources it pays for.

    Our real problem is not budgetary, it is a leadership shortage. Heads need to be publicly severed from fat, useless, overpaid, non performing torsos. When that starts happening the standards will improve. Until then we are pissing into a hurricane.

    I note that the ex TFS HR manager, whose brilliant oversight of the HR management of the TFS NW Region Clerical Office allowed a single individual to ruin the lives of her co-workers over more than a decade is now responsible for oversight of the states industrial safety as a Director of Worksafe. I do not have sufficient vocabulary to string together a sentence that decision justice. It demonstrates exactly why large organisations who hire based on responses to selection criteria fail to deliver the goods.

    “its only a little fire, leave it til it is big enough to fight properly”.

    With that attitude present all a bigger budget provides is a bigger hit for the attention junkies.

    • Lyndall

      April 5, 2019 at 7:54 am

      Hi Simon – well, you said “don’t hold back” re submissions for the upcoming independent (we hope) review into the 2018-19 bushfires, so I’m guessing you’ll contribute along the same lines as your latest comment. Issues of poor leadership; poor governance (e.g. in your & your colleagues’ case); and entrenched, unchanging attitudes and inefficacious practices need to be highlighted… again.

      If it’s any consolation at all, this is not peculiar to Tasmania. For years in Victoria there has been an ongoing stalemate and behind-the-scene’s stoush between a number of key players in the firefighting space. Honest and open review towards reform is almost impossible under these circumstances, especially when territoriality and egos seem to rule. Similarly in Victoria, as many have noticed with the Tasmanian fires, there can seemingly be very little attention paid to some fires even though any fire in the ‘right’ conditions can potentially turn into a dangerous and deadly wildfire. Frustratingly too, I’ve also noticed that sometimes our aerial waterbombers are used not as first responders/1st direct attack, but used to ‘hold’ the fire whilst the bulldozers and ground crews move in to create the so-called containment lines in steep & inaccessible terrain. Ultimately the plan is to allow ‘burning out’ or conduct back-burning (but only when safe conditions allow, which may take days). The building of containment itself can take days during which time the weather can also change and ‘surprise’ – the fire wakes up, changes direction and has ‘become active’ to the point of emergency again. Not unusually (sometimes more than once for the same fire), the fire can jump the containment or simply spot over anyway… back to square one. Groundhog Day.

      Victoria now bears the scars from many large wildfires earlier this year. I seriously question the adequacy of 1st response for each given the available resources.

      Oops I’ve started raving again, but I totally agree that just more $ is not going to address all that needs doing. Attitudes and actual practices/operations need to change.

      • William Boeder

        April 5, 2019 at 10:51 am

        Thank you Lyndall for your advice re my page size settings. (My apologies Mr Moderator, the cause of my concern was indeed with my page setting perameters.)
        Simon’s new 4th April comment dwells on the desperate need for attitudinal realignment, one is left to wonder if this rather sharp reference will alter the ego’s of the TFS priveliged hierarchy?
        The outcome of the 2019 State bushfire inquiry should not interfere with the “already known’ better use of expenditures, per their multi $millions in funds received to acquire or vastly upgrade each line of their fire supressing/extinguishing aircraft needs along with the appropriate new retardant solututions, then their muted rapid deployment teams and the neceesary equipment required by same.

        The history of Tasmania’s Bushfire inquiries, followed by their final report containing its recommendations still goes on with little attention given to their resultant recommendations.
        This attitude is endemic across all State government departments and agencies, any sound recommendations being duly postponed to a later time for discussion let alone implementation. Dad’s Army comes to mind.

        The contributed comments and the efficacy of same presented by Lyndall should be given their due consideration if not their immediate implementation, as they are filled with logic as well as being inspired by the latest available gained fire fighting techniques, also the most appropriate new strategies to halt the same old same from occurring each new fire season across our State.

      • Simon Warriner

        April 7, 2019 at 4:23 pm

        Yes Lyndall. Attitudes and actual practices/operations need to change.

        Unfortunately we seem to have had a bunch of politicians running the show who lack the intestinal fortitude or moral compass required to make it happen. An classic example was the recent announcement by Jeremy Rockcliff that he was organizing a forum on bullying with the intent of getting the practice made unacceptable. I personally told him, face to face, that he was wasting time and that if he wanted to make a real difference he needed to institute a Judicial Inquiry into the management of the TFS NW Region Clerical Office over the period of 2005 to 2015, and that his colleague Roger Jaensch had a document that contained enough information to get one started. Previous gabfests have delivered nought, and there is no reason to think this one will be any different.

        Such an inquiry, conducted in full public view, would send an unambiguous message to the entire public service and polity that standards had changed and that malfeasance and other corruptions of proper governance are no longer being tolerated. The reinforcement of that message, accompanied by the public disgrace and career destruction for the senior and not so senior individuals responsible is what will motivate change. Reinforced by substantive changes to whistle blower protection we would be well on the way to a more responsive, efficient and productive public sector with all the benefits that would accrue into the future. Absent all this we just get more of what has make Tasmania far less than it has the potential to be, in so many ways.

        There is a solution. Change the sort of elected representatives we put in charge.

        Everything else is putting bandaids on gangrenous limbs.

        Vote Independent.

        • Lyndall

          April 9, 2019 at 12:23 pm

          Hi Simon,
          I’m sorry for your (and others’) awful treatment in the first place which was then exacerbated by the subsequent callous and dismissive treatment by authorities. So much for all of the ISOs, policies and risk-management standards that are supposedly embedded and being practiced.

          Good luck with trying to get that inquiry – it sounds like it’s sorely needed. (I wouldn’t blindly vote Independent as a solution to all woes though… they can come in all forms. For example, we currently have Fraser Anning as well as Timothy Storer in the Federal Senate. Chalk and cheese).

          Judging by your contributions to TT, I see you as a very capable person and I’m sure you’ve tried everything. But nonetheless I still found myself trying to think of what I’d do if I found myself in your position.

          My first port of call was with the website of the Tasmanian Ombudsman. This looked like an appropriate avenue for your type of complaint and appeal. However, it seems a proverbial ‘statute of limitations’ applies to the process, so your complaint – no matter how valid or serious – is most likely too old to address – as stated below.

          “You can submit your complaint using our online complaint form, by calling us, or in person at our office. We will ask you to put it in writing before we make any inquiries. Don’t wait too long before contacting us, usually the Ombudsman will not accept a complaint if the issue goes back more than two years.” https://www.ombudsman.tas.gov.au/enquiries-and-complaints

          Another angle came to me when I inadvertently came across the below ABC news article in 2016 about an enquiry into TFS capacity and funding:

          ABC News, 2 Mar 2016 – “Tasmania’s fire chief felt “ashamed to part of the organisation” when he had to refuse help from Sydney firefighters due to union complaints, an inquiry hears. Gavin Freeman was the first witness to front hearings into the funding and capacity of the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS).
          The inquiry was set up before lightning strikes sparked an unprecedented number of fires over summer. As firefighters battled more than 80 fires at one stage, Mr Freeman said there were concerns some were struggling with fatigue. “People were working too many hours in the bush,” Mr Freeman told the hearing.
          Sixteen senior career firefighters were brought in from Sydney to provide relief in Hobart, but on the morning of their induction the United Firefighters Union protested.
          The dispute could not be resolved and Mr Freeman said he could not allow more time to be wasted trying to sort it out, and the Sydney employees were sent packing.
          … Union secretary Greg Cooper said it was a question of occupational health and safety as the two states used different equipment such as breathing apparatus and communication devices. …”. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-02/fire-chief-forced-to-turn-away-interstate-firefighters/7214426

          Wow, Greg Cooper is certainly a stickler to the point of almost piousness for what he sees as immutable absolute OH & S rules to protect his members – even to the point of not allowing professionally trained & equipped help from NSW whilst his Tassie members were overworked, exhausted and overwhelmed.

          This, imo, is the guy you want in your corner Simon. Who better to fight for your rights and to hold your superiors (at that time) and the system to account?

  17. Lyndall

    April 3, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I’ve just happened upon this piece of good news … Labor has announced a “National Firefighting package” including $80M to establish the “National Aerial Bushfire Fighting Fleet”, “$21M for the (existing) National Aerial Firefighting Centre”, and “Working with states and territories to develop ‘smokejumper’ units”.

    Media release in full below.



    A Shorten Labor Government will boost Australia’s firefighting capabilities with a national fleet of aircraft and dedicated smokejumper units to keep Australians safe from bushfires.

    All Australians understand the devastating impact that bushfires have. Lives are lost, homes destroyed and communities shattered.

    Our firefighters and emergency services personnel are among the best in the world, and they do a tremendous job, often putting their own lives at risk. But they need more support from government.

    At the moment, Australia doesn’t have a government-owned fleet of water bombing aircraft – making us reliant on borrowing from private companies domestically and from overseas.

    The bushfire season in Australia is lengthening and already overlapping with the northern hemisphere, increasing the risk that we won’t be able to access the aircraft we need at times of peril.

    At the same time, the Federal Government’s contribution to the National Aerial Firefighting Centre has plummeted from 50 per cent of funding to just 23 per cent, reducing our overall firefighting capability.

    The Bureau of Meteorology has identified this summer as Australia’s hottest on record, which included devastating bushfires in Victoria and Tasmania. Now is the time to invest in giving our firefighters the resources they need to keep us all safe.

    Labor’s national firefighting package will deliver:

    $80 million to establish the National Aerial Bushfire Fighting Fleet of aircraft

    This fleet will provide standing aerial firefighting capacity that can be used on demand in emergencies.

    It will include retro-fitted Black Hawk helicopters as they are phased out from active use by the Australian Army and Erickson S-64 Air-crane helicopters (or ‘Elvis’ as they are commonly known) which has a 2,650 gallon tank capable of snorkelling or scooping fresh or salt water.

    It’s expected that the national fleet will include a standing capability of up to six Large or Very Large Air Tankers, and up to 12 heavy rotary wing helicopters.

    The benefits of aerial firefighting are clear. Aircrafts offer speed, access and observation advantages over ground crews. Containment is more effective and the final fire burned area minimised using aerial capability, thereby reducing demand on ground crews.

    Australia’s first ‘smokejumper’ units

    Smokejumpers are firefighters trained to be rapidly deployed by helicopters at remote fires during the short window during which those fires can be contained.

    Smokejumpers usually rappel from helicopters and use chain-saws, hoes and other dry firefighting tools to establish a containment perimeter around the fire. They then patrol the perimeter to ensure the fire does not jump containment lines while working with water-bombing aircraft to ensure the contained fire is fully extinguished.

    California and other US states currently have a number of smokejumper units which have proven successful.

    As part of the $80 million commitment to establish a fleet, Labor will work with the states and territories to establish smokejumper units across the country.

    $21 million for the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC)

    A Shorten Labor Government will stop the Federal Government’s reduction in funding for our firefighting capabilities by returning to a 50-50 funding split between the states and territories and the Commonwealth.

    Labor’s investment will ease the burden on state and territory governments, develop new national programs including a national risk management model, and national research and development programs including trials of new aircraft and night firefighting activities.

    Labor can pay for new firefighting aircraft the smokejumper units because we are making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes for the top end of town.”

    I didn’t realise that the feds (presumably the Coalition govt since Abbott arrived) had reduced funding from 50% down to 23%. Back to 50% under Labor is good news for Tasmania especially. Now just for Labor to win.

    Tasmania and it’s relatively small economy can’t really afford to have a large aerial fleet of its own. But it has a large forested estate to steward and it carries a serious responsibility to care for the World Heritage Area – effectively on behalf of Australia. It’s only fair that the feds should contribute, but I think it should be commensurately with the protection of the WHA from damaging wildfires at the very least.

    • MjF

      April 4, 2019 at 9:09 am


      Re smoke jumpers Tas already has a version of these within the current TFS ranks


      These crews were deployed this summer for extended periods as in previous years. I’m not sure about rappelling from choppers but they are certainly deposited as close as possible to the fireground with associated handtools and small pumps etc to contain outbreaks with perimeter fireline construction and direct attack where possible. This is essentially what the their US counterparts undertake but with typically more fanfare.

      I expect there’s nothing currently in place here that couldn’t be developed further and wouldn’t benefit from a slab of federal funding of course, whether paid for by the Coalition or Labor. No doubt kit and personnel could be built on and improved all round but the reaction and mobilisation time is the critical factor as always. Shortens pork barrelling promises mean nothing if any eventuating money is not spent and rolled out wisely.

      Bill would be better advised to await the outcome of the approaching enquiry but I guess time is not on his side there.

      • Lyndall

        April 4, 2019 at 2:41 pm

        Hi MjF,

        I couldn’t agree with you more about the need for well-informed and well-directed investment. More of the same (or just bigger aircraft e.g.) doesn’t equate to any improvements without good (possibly different) strategy and efficacious operations for wildfire prevention. Timing is critical, as you say, and rapid response & 1st attack with a potent force is the key.

        I’d love to see rappelling crews used more often for 1st response/initial attack in the more remote and inaccessible areas where multiple lightning strikes often cause ignitions. Because presently, it seems, these baby potential wildfires can sometimes go unaddressed at first due to inaccessibility or possibly due to remote = low priority &/or lack of aerial waterbombing resources. Rappel crews could potentially have a good chance of suppressing a brand new ignition (I think) if they could be supplied with the appropriate aerial support (for supplies & emergency evacuation), portable water tanks, pumps & other equipment to apply the critical water flow required to meet the small & weak early stage fire. At the very least they could make a start and prepare a clearing for a helicopter and delivery of more personnel and supplies.

        A bigger force of rappelling crews, as promised by Labor (or anyone), used as 1st attack in remote & mountainous areas could help substantially in the prevention of wildfire development (or the War Against Wildfires – WAW as I like to call it). The more usual and very valuable tasks of hand-clearing to create containment lines or blacking out hotspots apres wildfire could also do with more crews. I can’t help but imagine that there’d be a lot of healthy and adventurous young adults out there in the community who would love to be trained up to rappel out of helicopters and snuff out embryonic wildfires. Perhaps even driven by community spirit there’d be a lot of volunteers who’d love to participate too (trained & equipped, of course). This opportunity could be good for community participation & recruitment in volunteer firefighting…

        Thanks for the link about the Tassie RATs. In return, here’s a vid clip of NSWRFS RAFT deployment in Tasmania earlier this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRBKKKef-jI&feature=youtu.be

      • William Boeder

        April 4, 2019 at 4:56 pm

        MJF, perhaps this years report may differ from the 2016 inquiry report I am unable to seek into the future outcomes of reports, however I have allowed the most recent report to attest to my opinions.

        Much attention and activity can be said to be available in the future or to emphasize this same, historical rythmic references can be adduced to determine the prospects of change, notwithstanding that I of course welcome all possible positive changes and introductions.

        At the same time historical perspectives are relevant until succeeded by factual change perspectives, and or whatever portent may be valid in political promises, that yet remains the bird in the bush until realized.

        I am not comforted by suggestions of waiting until, it or wont be long, or howabout the promise of; or, if only, as this simply offers the scope of its plenteous unknowns for one to expand upon yet which in fact remains as a future unknown.

        There is ever the applicable premise of the three differentials of human attitude, those that make things happen, secondly, those that wait for things to happen, then lastly, those that don’t care.
        My concerns are consistent with the first of these differentials.
        Have a nice day MJF.
        My earlier comment had been chopped of its fulsome expression, perhaps the Moderator can be asked to apply his magics to correct this oversight?
        Thank you.


        No chopping of your earlier comment is recalled, William.

        — Moderator

        • Lyndall

          April 4, 2019 at 8:48 pm

          William – just a thought but when I first read your reply to me earlier today (@ 12 p.m.) it was chopped short entirely along the RH side. Is that what you’re referring to re “chopped of its fulsome expression”? If so, then reduce your screen size to 90% (CNTRL – ) and the fullness of each linear expression you’ve carefully crafted will be revealed. (It took me a few moments to work out what was happening – at first I blamed the website design and fault with 4th-level indented thread entries!).

  18. Lyndall

    March 31, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Thanks for your kind words Bob and thanks for reviving the existence of my article.

    I had a look back at it and reminded myself of some of the points I raised re wildfire prevention way back in 2016. For example:
    – the variations in vegetation types in the landscape and consequent variation in efficacy of prescribed burning (e.g. Price et al. 2015). Authorities seemingly ignore this fact and continue to treat the landscape as an homogenous fuel which once treated will presumably deliver the same fire risk reduction benefits (not). Ref: Price et al. 2015 Biogeographical variation in the potential effectiveness of prescribed fire in south-eastern Australia. Journal of Biogeography V42, 11, 2234-2245. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jbi.12579/full

    the need for improved satellite technology for our Sentinel Hotspots system.
    the use of lightning trackers as an early warning for potential ignitions. The potential for community members to volunteer to monitor lightning (via trackers) and act as local spotters for any new ignitions.
    -the more routine use of aerial waterbombing for rapid and initial potent response to new ignitions (esp. remote and inaccessible areas).
    the increased use of rappeling crews to gain access to new ignitions in otherwise inaccessible areas or in areas relatively impervious to aerial waterbombing. (Tall closed canopy forest in the Otways in Vic were problematic in the Great Ocean Rd-Wye River wildfire a few years ago).
    the use of IR post-fire for detection of hotspots (aerial and ground patrols).

    Since then, a few things have developed which I should post here. For example, the US and others around the world are constantly working on new satellites, satellite technology & algorithms for early fire detection, so I assume we’ll be able to benefit from that if our government will adopt and make the investment. In addition, I see that some of our own scientists (and students) in Australia are forging ahead with cube-sat technology which is relatively cheap; and there’s great scope for a set of cube-sats to monitor our landscape 24/7 if our federal government would make the leap and invest.

    In terms of aerial waterbombing – in Victoria this season the fleet was enlarged and the Pre-determined Dispatch (PDD) was expanded to a number of additional airbases to more adequately cover the landscape. PDD facilitates direct rapid deployment of waterbombers and surveillance aircraft through the use of pre-determined parameters & triggers. https://www.emv.vic.gov.au/news/victorias-suite-of-aircraft-set-for-the-sky

    In addition, a full trial this season of night firebombing helicopters with pilots using NVGT has been completed in Victoria with great success. Several actual fires were attended and feedback from ground crews was very positive. I’m guessing this will become part of the routine firefighting arsenal for next season. Fixed wing trials may follow next. I’m hoping, in the very near future, that night firebombing can be deployed as first attack as & when new fires start in the evening and overnight. (Just dreaming?). This would help to fill one of our big vulnerability gaps in wildfire prevention. (The catastrophic and deadly Waroona wildfire in WA started in the evening in remote and difficult terrain, and it burned & built in strength all night unabated until mid-morning – we have to address this operational gap somehow, imo). https://www.emv.vic.gov.au/last-drop-for-firebombing-helicopters

    For those who are not aware already but are interested in a website to track lightning in their area, here is a free access community-run tracker: https://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en#y=-40.8803;x=146.7169;z=7;t=4;m=oss;r=0;s=201;o=0;b=1.74;n=0;d=8;dl=8;dc=0;ra=0;i=0;ts=0;
    For historical maps and to play loops, switch to the parent website Blitzortung here: https://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en#y=-40.8803;x=146.7169;z=7;t=4;m=oss;r=0;s=201;o=0;b=1.74;n=0;d=8;dl=8;dc=0;ra=0;i=0;ts=0;

    Lastly, in terms of determining the appropriate weight of response to a new fire in order to bring about control and suppression… there has been some very important and informative work published just this year by Penney et al. 2019. This work carries such important key messages for fire managers that I have to provide quite a few selected extracts – below:

    “For Incident Management Teams (IMT’s) and Incident Controllers (IC’s) to develop and execute successful and safe suppression strategies it is critical they are able to appropriately analyse and manage risk [16]. This not only requires a comprehensive knowledge of wildfire behaviour, but also the abilities and limitations of both firefighting personnel, appliances and aircraft.
    Hindering the ability of the IMT’s and IC’s is a lack of formal evidence to support operational decisions [10,17–19], with decision makers having to rely on personal experience [16,20] and empirical wildfire behaviour or suppression models which also have inherent limitations [1,21–23].
    Further limiting the application of existing research to dynamic emergency conditions is the lack of consideration for the capabilities of firefighting vehicles and aircraft that have limited water capacities and may be away from the active fire front for considerable durations whilst they refill. To work towards addressing the identified knowledge gap, this paper builds upon previous research [1] by applying a fire engineering deterministic analysis of water flow rates required for head fire suppression during wildfires. The aim of this study is to provide guidance for Incident Controllers in relation to critical water flow rates required to extinguish large wildfire across a wide range of forest fuel loads, fire weather and active fire front depths.
    3. Results
    Deterministic analysis of required CF to available CF identifies that a single Light Tanker cannot apply the required flow rate to 10 m section of wildfire front once an active flame depth of 6 m is attained, irrespective of fuel loads and FDI.
    Prior to the active head fire attaining a 6m depth, in limited Light Tankers can engage in head fire suppression for a duration of 200 s in limited circumstances.
    Larger appliances such as the Heavy Tanker have a maximum flow rate of 7.9 Ls−1 and can supply enough water to extinguish at 10 m section of active wildfire front at all FDI’s in understorey fuel loads of 5 tha−1.
    As conditions worsen, the capacity of a single Heavy Tanker to extinguish a 10 m section of active head fire rapidly diminishes.
    With significantly higher capabilities, all aircraft assessed are found to provide enough flow rates to extinguish a 10 m section of active head fire, regardless of flame depth, FDI or understorey fuel load.”

    Penney, G.; Habibi, D.; Cattani, M.; Carter, M. Calculation of Critical Water Flow Rates for Wildfire Suppression. Fire 2019, 2, 3. https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/publications/biblio/bnh-5299

  19. Simon Warriner

    March 31, 2019 at 9:40 am

    It might interest readers to know that yesterday ( a Saturday, which points to a clear desire to bury the announcement, given that Friday arvo closing time is regarded as the acceptable time to release stuff you want to make public without too much media attention) our great leader announced an inquiry into the 2018/2019 bush fires. Notable in the announcement is the absence of a TFS gatekeeper to vet submissions and alert the TFS hierarchy to unfavourable content, as was the case for the Dunalley inquiry. Interested persons will be able to have direct contact with the panel, by phone or by interview..

    The press release is available here: http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/releases/terms_of_reference_for_independent_review_into_2018-19_bushfires_released?utm_source=miragenews&utm_medium=miragenews&utm_campaign=news

    Don’t hold back.

    • William Boeder

      March 31, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you Simon, The 2 letters I had emailed to the TFS email address have still not been responsed to.
      Why one should ask?
      The most likely cause is that the truth sought in the reply to my questions was never likely to be presented to myself nor for release into the public domain.

      Now, I stand correcting Simon given your enclosed link, that announces an independent review, so perhaps there will be a published final report accessible to the Tasmanian people.

      One must now be patient….will the State’s media apparatus publish the ensuing ‘full report’ that should incorporate the already notified failures and shortcomings that had issued out from Tasmania’s Fire Control Centre during the 2019 bushfires?
      Lets us hope that the actual use of highly-toxic fire-retardant chemicals in the World Heritage listed National Park that has been reported by more than just myself, will in all times future be prohibited.

      Then the action of accessing the refill water nominated for fire-fighting helicopter refills to stifle the fires on the West Coast, to no longer be drawn from the Rosebery mine heavy metals water impoundment, or be it the settling ponds, which indicates another rather disturbing lack of intelligent oversight.

      (Noting that the Pieman River having its vast stretches of deep accessible water without the heavy metal contamination was at all times equally accessible.)
      Distributing water borne heavy metals back into the environment is not to be a neccessary undertaking.

      Lastly the response time to act on EG: the Gell River fire in the Heritage listed National Park (some 5 days later)
      had contributed to the expansion of that lightning strike ignited bushfire, up to the point that it became an uncontrollable fire that had gone on to ravage a huge volume of its rarified flora and ecological important environments since destroyed.
      Percentages of land area destroyed being given, this same should not become a means made less significant by the use of mere percentiles.
      Reviews as in royal commissions and parliamentary reviews et al, all tend to provide a full report with an exensive list of of recommendations, however, one has to realize that recommendations, (as had occurred post the Dunalley bushfires) are only recommendations, they are not at all legal directions or rulings that must be legislated or even classified as a new regulation or to to become a mandatory practice in all times hence.

      So through my explanatory references one must be better equipped to understand how slowly might change be introduced (if at all) to improve the practices and purposes of this State’s…..Tasmanian Fire Service.


      Under the heading…… Methodoloy….item 2. 12

      An extract of a reference contained in the 2016 Review:
      “we have identified certain recommendations for the Tasmanian fire agencies: we invite them to have regard to our recommendations, while acknowledging that it is a matter for the agencies to prioritise these as they see fit.
      In places in this report, we have made comments or suggestions that we have not wished to elevate to the status of recommendations, but which, again, we invite the agencies to take account of in their future business planning.”

      A further point of reference is to understand that this State government authority had reported its 2018 annual income…approximating $100 Million dollars plus. However the disbursement of these funds will neccesitate the skills of such as the respected John Lawrence, to better appraise the unaudited figures contained therein.

      This comment does not nor will it injure the respect our communities hold toward the brave actions and endeavours of each and all persons that had been contributed by the many of Tasmania’s on ground volunteer firefighters and those trained specific to this demanding role.

      • Lyndall

        April 1, 2019 at 11:02 am

        Dear William,
        I’ve just picked up on your comment about the use of toxic retardants in highly sensitive environmental areas. I was surprised to learn this because I thought Tasmania already used a non-toxic water-enhancing gel called Blazetamer380.

        Some time ago I looked into the issue of fighting peat fires to find a safe alternative to PFAS foams. I came across another product – Blazetamer380 – which is biodegradeable, certified safe in Aus for waterways, meets US standards ‘non toxic, non hazardous, non corrosive’, and still acting as an effective fire suppressant. Its properties are also said to afford better drop accuracy, better canopy penetration and less evaporative loss.


        I corresponded with the inventor/developer of BT380 a little over a year ago (now deceased this year). He told me that both Tasmania and NSW use this product as well as in the US and Canada. But for some unknown reasons – possibly in-house territorial/cultural – the other Aussie states don’t use it.

        I don’t know what was used in the WHA but TFS are already geared up and capable of using the environmentally-safe water-enhancing suppressant.

        • William Boeder

          April 3, 2019 at 5:33 pm

          Thank you Lyndall, I advise that I have opened the links enclosed with your comment,
          My reading of same does not necessarily equate as good news albeit that the products mentioned are highly recommended by their manufacturers. These recommended alternate fire suppression-factor products and their safe use, relies upon certain necessary safety measures to be rigourously adopted by persons handling and distributing these referred to products.
          I have further studied the legislation re the Tasmanian Fire Act 1979, this having been undertaken to determine the questionable ethics of providing unaudited financial figures by an entity that is subject to the Australian Corporations Act 2001. Given that the income nominated for the 2018 financial report period must also represent an unaudited figure.

          One raises the question about this type of occurrence when there are ample resources available to get the Tasmanian Fire Service reporting figures correct. There are a sufficient number of government officials et al that should ensure that any report from the TFS will not be tainted with doubt.
          The overall portfolio minister for the Department of Police Fire and Emergency Services (DPFEM) happens to be Michael Ferguson MP who is already known for his evasive and discordant responses in matters concerning his additional portfolio of Health and Human Services (yet answerable to the secretary of same currently Mr Michael Pervan.)

          Mr Michael Pervan had succeeded in maintaining his senior role in this State’s Health Department despite having to challenge an internal witch-hunt initiated by career whoring malicious others, yet based upon his professional career record and personal record his challenge had succeeded. His continuing success has been primarily supported by reputable others and the will of the Tasmanian people.

          In conclusion, I find it Interesting how this State government maintains its disproportional level of nil responsibility, as follows;
          “The Crown, its officers, employees and agents do not accept liability however arising, including liability for negligence, for any loss resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information and/or reliance on its availability at any time”.
          Currently the structure of Tasmania’s Fire Services along with its numerous appointed and associated figurehead others suggests that this is but another of Tasmania’s top heavy State public services that seems more inclined to protect its hierarchy, than the actual functions specific to the State’s fire safety protocol demands…. rather than to deal with the fire-face realities affecting as well as the peoples community concerns by this State’s people and their property, along with the care of this State’s Crown Land Forests and National Parks.
          Were it not for the proficiency and skills of all those persons that serve Tasmania’s volunteer Fire Services
          then this State would suffer greatly.
          Ultimately the hierarchy attitude is glaringly relevant to the diminishing level of care demonstrated toward this State’s World Heritage Listed National Parks by its appointed guardians.
          Thank you for your input and interest Lyndall.

          • Lyndall

            April 4, 2019 at 8:28 am

            Dear William,

            The polymer gel is not harmless – so don’t get me wrong in suggesting its use. Yes, there are handling precautions such as to “Wear appropriate clothing to prevent inhalation and eye exposure”; the use of other protective clothing to prevent contact; and well-ventilated, cool & dry storage areas. But if something more effective than just water was needed to fight a bushfire then it appears that BT380 would be a much safer alternative (for human handlers & the environment) compared to the “highly-toxic fire-retardant chemicals” to which you refer.

            However, having said that, perhaps some environments such as the World Heritage Area should never be treated with anything other than water during a fire. This is where we need the scientists and authorities to determine the facts and apply as part of the TWWHA Management Plan (currently 2016) to ensure our International obligations for the protection of the WHA. The core area of Tasmania’s WHA was listed back in 1982, so you’d reckon the Parks & Wildlife Service would’ve had plenty of time to research into, monitor and learn about its most appropriate fire management.

            There are a bunch of plans relating to the fire management of the TWWHA, but I had a quick glance at the NW region plan as a sample and I couldn’t see any reference to any precautions or site sensitivity in regard to the use of retardants – but perhaps I missed it: https://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=673

            For some further reading (in my defense) here’s a submission made by the BT380 company to the Australian Govt during the Senate’s inquiry in 2016 into site contamination due to the use of foams: https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=34699429-ca8e-4ef6-be25-2fcdf35979fd&subId=408804

          • William Boeder

            April 4, 2019 at 12:00 pm

            Dear Lyndall, again I thank you for your extensive knowledge relating to the manner and methods of dealing with the suppression if not the total extinguishment, of bush-fires inc’ lightning-strike bush fires.

            I also acknowledge your best intentions of providing the latest information on alternatives to the toxic foams and dry fire-retardants that have may have been employed in WHA fire minimization programs in times past, and or recent.
            Another factor supporting your greater knowledge, is the amount of purposed research you have undertaken to provide a more specific response to the variant mostly seasonal occurrences in their totality, despite their ignition cause, of all the bushfires in this State.

            However there is one factor that tends to fail which doesnt appear in any article research, that being the dull and stifling attitudes ongoing amongst each of its hierarchial appointed bureaucrats and administrative support staff.

            This typically refers to the high plateu of the well-educated professionals that hinder our State’s Fire Service field operations, an example of exactly this has been demonstrated by the delayed entry into the suppression or extinguishment of the Gell River lightning-strike WHA bushfire.

            This State’s Fire Services, again typical of its executive level appointees, are loathe to heed the recommendations put forward by capable others such as yourself, being due to the demarcation line between the State’s people and this State’s recognized Exclusives. An adjunct or even a mechanism of this kind of hinder is another problem created by the disengagement between these two classes.

            A passage of information appeared in the 2016 inquiry final report had detailed the sequence of events and who next to advise in the chain of decision-makers. This form of program best described as side-shuffling happens to still be in place, thus the still the major cause for any and all unwarranted delays before any suppression or extinguishment of said fire is commenced. (Gell River Fire- 5-6 days.)

            In my reading this same (link below) the references of indigenous seasonal burning practices in the WHA National Parks (hypothetical) seems to be counter productive by its own suggestion.

            Given that nobody of scientific history record-taking having been appointed back in the 1800 ‘s, that could provide an accurate cause for the ongoing use of setting fires to minimise future fires is (supposedly a logical and practical objective) a contradiction that knows no greater flaw than to retain this specific mindset despite its failures and what should be “hotly forbidden practices.”

            What the indigenous may have historically practiced, must not be contended as a means for this State’s Executive gentry to simply boot along with Tasmania’s ongoing Crown Land and WHA National Park devastation by fire.

            The gentry logic at play here i,s to save something, firstly you must burn it.


            Until such time as there is a fire-preventitive strategy set in place, one that will compel immediate attention coupled with the priority intention of, ‘urgent extinguishment of all fires’ in our WHA National Parks.

            Yet nothing will change while Bluey the sheep dog e’er continues to chase his tail.
            A mindset that has pervaded the mind of Tasmania’s DPIPWE (its offshoot being STT in itself since say from circa 1960’s up until today.
            Please note that the word ‘containment’ has not been permitted into my commentary as it has become a word no longer acceptable or relative to the suppression or extinguishment of fire in this State.
            Containment = do nothing but look from afar.

  20. 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.


    [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?

  21. 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?

  22. 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:


      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.

  23. 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.”

  24. Clive Stott

    January 30, 2019 at 2:42 am

    Geoscience has been providing Sentinel Hotspot monitoring every 2 hours since the middle of 2016.

    Sentinel Hotspots can be viewed here:

    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.

    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

  25. 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!

  26. 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

  27. Tom Nilsson

    January 29, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Good article.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. Realist

    January 29, 2019 at 8:51 am

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

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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!!

  36. 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.

  37. 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?

  38. 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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