Tasmanian Times

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

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

Article

World Heritage Ancient Gondwanan Communities At Risk

Images by the late Peter Dombrovskis, courtesy of Liz Dombrovskis, of locations at Mt Anne, imminently threatened by wildfire.

Nature Photographers Tasmania (NPT) and the Tasmanian National Parks
Association (TNPA) have called on the State Government and its agencies, the
Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS), to
urgently seek further resources, so that critical wilderness fires in western
Tasmania are prioritised, along with life and property.

In particular, the wildfire burning at Mt Anne imminently and directly threatens
ancient and irreplaceable Gondwanic plant communities, including the locations
of some of the most famous images of esteemed photographer, the late Peter
Dombrovskis.

Mt Anne is one of the most ecologically important sites in Tasmania and supports
fire-sensitive vegetation such as King Billy and pencil pines, deciduous beech and
old-growth rainforest. These plant communities have not changed appreciably
since the end of the Pleistocene Era over 10,000 years ago, and individual trees
are well over a thousand years old.

The fire threatens one of the largest surviving King Billy pine rainforests in
Tasmania, which stretches in a band five kilometers long and almost 800 meters
wide below the summit of Mount Anne, as well as exquisite and unique natural
alpine gardens and highland rainforests. The globally significant values of these
plant communities are amongst the main reasons for the World Heritage listing
of western Tasmania. The loss of this crucial area would be a catastrophe. Once
burnt such ancient Gondwanan vegetation is gone forever.

In addition to lives and property TNPA and NPT call upon the PWS/TFS to
prioritise the protection of these outstanding natural values. Because foot access
in fire conditions is difficult and dangerous the most obvious means to combat
the fire is through intensive water-bombing. Available fire-fighting resources
from Australia and overseas should be urgently directed to Tasmania, to protect
not only human communities but also this irreplaceable natural heritage.

We are witnessing the outcome of 30 years of global failure to take action on
climate change. Only 20 years ago dry lightning strikes in Tasmania were almost
unheard of. Since the year 2000 they have been steadily increasing and in just
the last week there have been thousands of dry lightning strikes, leading to
scores of wildfires.

The incredible natural values at Mt Anne are irreplaceable
and unrecoverable if burnt. Tasmanians and Australians are the guardians of
these places. To lose them on our watch would be a catastrophe of global
magnitude.

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59 Comments

59 Comments

  1. MJF

    January 30, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Mr Boeder

    The point of my question below was concerning the firey fate of the last added 74,000 ha to VDL’s forever expanding and never enough WHA estate.

    I think it highly unlikely Ta Ann and the woodchipping fraternity would be accessing any of that timber from behind the iron curtain anyway. I believe your concerns are unjustified.

    Kim who ?

    • William Boeder

      January 30, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      MJF, the link below is about the wiles of your former mob of mates that had been said to have breached the perimeters of WHA in their unsupervised logging frenzies in times past. Woodchips and Ta Ann Berhad feature in this private media chronicle.

      https://www.habitatadvocate.com.au/?p=9425

      Also a portion of the WHA area breached by Forestry Tasmania is claimed to have been replanted with mono-species in the manner of Tasmania’s State government program to rid the state of more and more indigenous native forest in order to expand the single species plantation program using Forestry Tasmania as their bludgeoning instrument.

      Regarding your other question, it’s Kim Booth. He is no longer a Greens’ state MP.

      The epic failure of the under-funded Tasmanian Fire Service to arrest fires in the WHA will make for a huge national headline story.

      Why do you continue to defend the indefensible?

      • MjF

        February 15, 2019 at 3:01 am

        Try again, William. The then FT was required to not plan and approve any more coupes within the agreed additional areas. It was permitted to complete any coupes either underway or had certified plans to be done.

        Obviously an ultra green lefty publication like your Habitat Advocate wouldn’t bother to research the finer points, but preferred to play cheap politics and sensationalise events by publishing half truths. FT was in fact in compliance with the terms of the IGA at that time.

        I’m not surprised you fell for this oft-played three card trick.

  2. John Hawkins

    January 26, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Never forget that the Abbott Liberal Government, backed by Hodgman and Abetz, applied to UNESCO to remove over 70,000 hectares of Tasmanian forests from World Heritage Listing.

    They were laughed out of court in less than 10 minutes.

    That proves how dumb these exponents of the political hard right are as they continue their divide and rule philosophy, yet we continue to elect them.

    Why?

    Why is Abetz still No. 1 on the Liberal ticket?

    This awful man is the face of Tasmania and the hard right Liberals, and that is why the rest of Australia laughs at us.

    • MJF

      January 27, 2019 at 11:27 pm

      I hope none of that 74,000 ha has felt the effects of the red steer. Not a good look for forest under the auspices of WHA protection.

      • Russell

        January 28, 2019 at 8:29 am

        How much of the WHA was left to burn by the Liberal State Government while it prevented fire bombers being used? Was this intentional?

        • MJF

          January 28, 2019 at 10:13 pm

          I don’t know.

          How much? Does this include any of UNESCO’s and NGO’s pet additions?

          • Russell.

            January 29, 2019 at 8:13 am

            You just don’t care, do you?

          • William Boeder

            January 29, 2019 at 2:39 pm

            MJF, my reply to your question is, hopefully yes, whatever can be saved from the predator Ta Ann Berhad and the State’s woodchippers. It is they that consume the overall excessively clear-felled State of Tasmania’s standing indigenous native forest trees.

            By the way, has the classification of felled trees still in use with the same carefree manner that prior State MP Kim Booth had exposed in the confines of the Burnie export log shipping storage yards?

            Further dispiriting to the people of Tasmania is that the enemy of the State will be covertly engaging in the export of whatever logs they can muster out of our indigenous native forests.

            In closing, it is a point of serious concern to the people of Tasmania that you are an aficionado of Barnett’s Bluff .. STT.

    • Rob Halton

      January 30, 2019 at 9:23 am

      Mr Hawkins, its worth remembering that with a far weakened forestry workforce due to land handovers, the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Legislation 2013 offered little in the way of prior community consultation.
      The process expressed with the most shady of excuses then agreed to by the former Premier Gidding, of cause now we are seeing the results both the States Natural areas and Production forests management is now in a complete mess due to the present ongoing wildfire damage some of which will an everlasting effect on the forests in general.

      It is now evident the loss of a strong and experienced Forestry fire fighting workforce in the agency mix would continue to have pronounced approach on future land management overall in Tasmania.
      It appears likely the Riveaux fire was not managed well initially by Parks as a bulldozer backup up for fire breaking had to be undertaken by the Fire Service on advice from Forestry the former manager of the valuable Production Forests surrounding the area.

      It will be understood the public will remain bewielded as wildfire progresses, eventually there will express anger at the extreme physical efforts required and ridiculous costs associated with what could have been better managed through initial land management such as regular and extensive seasonal fuel reduction, maintaining access through the forests and multi faceted inter agency cooperation which is not happening despite the efforts of the oversight coming from the State Fire Management Council.

      Despite the fact the Fire Service is left with the unenviable task of virtually managing the land for firefighting support they are not up to the job in the sense they lack the bush skills when things get tough. Literally, their well meaning community volunteer groups are being worked to death and this could continue through the rest of summer.

      No doubt there will be another review after the fires probably the same old boring recommendations “we gunna do this and that” where in fact little improves!

      The usual thing Fire Service volunteers will be left with the dirty work, Forestry who are not recognised for their unique bush skills remain as minor player and Parks will continue to allow their extensive Reserves system throughout the State to remain as fire hazards.

  3. Geoff Holloway

    January 26, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Where are the Tasmanian Greens on this issue? Nowhere to be seen!

    • PLB

      January 29, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Geoff asks “Where are the Tasmanian Greens on this issue?”

      But Geoff, this is an environmental issue.
      The Tasmanian Greens today are more interested in inner city issues, like gender identity politics.

      It was interesting following the conflict between the Greens in NSW, which has them divided into two, namely Left, (inner city) Vs Right, (rural). Inner city Greens whose issues are Gay/ gender identity politics, Vs Rural Greens, whose issues are Forests, clean Air, Water and Food.

      As for me, I identify with the rural Greens so I didn’t vote for the Inner city leftist Greens in the past election, having moved my vote to The Sustainable Australia Party 1, Labor 2.

      Also interesting is a little fact about which many Greens I encounter are unaware, namely that the Greens’ national leader, Richard Di Natale, considers GMO, to be a good thing.

      • Geoff Holloway

        January 30, 2019 at 3:08 pm

        Yes PLB, unfortunately what you say is true – the trans* lobby (which is aligned with the prostitution/sex trafficking lobby) has captured the Greens.

        Greens (including ex-candidates) in Tasmania, Victoria and NSW have been vilified by members of this lobby (including Green MPs) – so speak out at your own risk.

      • Isla MacGregor

        January 30, 2019 at 6:12 pm

        Correction: the Tas Greens’ rank and file have been kept in the dark about O’Connor’s push on transgender law reforms.

        Green members were not consulted on the legislation that O’Connor and White pushed through state Parliament. Ask just about any Green member what sex self-ID means and you will get a very blank stare.

        It’s only a matter of time for the Greens to dissemble, and Nick McKim should listen to the mood of women, and the community, on this gender identity lunacy if he wants to keep his seat at the coming election.

  4. max

    January 25, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Tasmania was the wetter coolest state in Australia, that is why Mt Anne, one of the most ecologically important sites in Tasmania, could support fire-sensitive vegetation such as King Billy and pencil pines, deciduous beech and old-growth rainforest. These plant communities have not changed appreciably since the end of the Pleistocene Era, and individual trees are well over a thousand years old.

    In the last 10,000 years the world has warmed 0.8 degrees, and 0.4 of that has been in the last 20 years.

    There is no way flora or fauna can adapt to this rapid change. Temperature records are being broken every day with this 0.8 of a degree, and this rise is not going to stop. Our country is witnessing the drying of vegetation that’s greater than anything in the history of mankind. What was once wet or damp is now bone dry and subject to lightning strikes.

    The question should really be … can we save anything, including ourselves?

    Rob Halton … Since 1998, the first full year of the RFA, Forestry Tasmania’s operations have produced cash and non-cash losses of $1,306 Million. That’s an average $65 Million loss every year.

    With these massive losses from destroying the long time viability of our forests, it is hard to imagine STT could do any thing in the way of fire control.

    • Rob Halton

      January 25, 2019 at 10:25 pm

      Max point taken, it would be terribly difficult with loss making STT within the responsible land agency mix to engage with any future spirited cooperative fire management improvements that could be put foward between the fire agencies by the State Fire Management Committee membership.

      Just imagine that STT do not exist and we no longer have timber producing forests in Tasmania!

      • Russell

        January 26, 2019 at 8:30 am

        Before FT/STT existed, Tasmania had a THRIVING timber industry and employed thousands more people due to responsible family timber companies. Whole towns existed because of it. Now most of these towns are nearly dead because of FT/STT and Gunns’ buying up and shutting down all these mills, and its cessation of supply.

        Tasmania’s timber industry would once again thrive responsibly if FT/STT didn’t exist, and the corrupt Tasmanian government stayed completely out of the picture.

        • William Boeder

          January 26, 2019 at 1:19 pm

          Thankyou Russell, for speaking the truth.

      • max

        January 26, 2019 at 9:16 am

        Rob … just imagine that STT does not exist, and we no longer have timber producing forests in Tasmania!

        Everything that Tasmanian governments have done with forestry has turned to shite. Clear felling for wood chips, clear felling for Ta Ann, clear felling for plantations … and the list goes on. If you were continually hitting yourself on the head with a big hammer, sooner or later the desire to throw away the hammer would be uncontrollable. $1,306 million is an awful big hammer.

        Has this government reached this point, or as usual, is it waiting for another handout from the Feds for fire protection to save what’s left of the forest handouts they have already received and continually need?

  5. do it

    January 25, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Instead of knocking the efforts of our firefighters, maybe the Green feel-gooders should train to become volunteer firefighters to save the ancient forests instead of sipping latte in Salamanca!

    • Geoff Holloway

      January 25, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      In the late 1970s we did.

      We formed the Smokewalkers Brigade – most of whose members came from the South West Tasmania Action Committee (which later became The Tasmanian Wilderness Society) and the United Tasmania Group.

      We formed this brigade to fight fires in the South West, and in the Cradle Mt / Lake St Clair areas because the State Government was doing very little.

      It has been suggested several times (including in a recent Senate Inquiry) that such a brigade of experienced-bushwalkers-as-firefighters be reformed, but nothing has happened, in fact quite the reverse .. the suggestion has been rejected.

      Along with Kevin Kiernan, I was Captain of the Smokewalkers.

      • Rob Halton

        January 26, 2019 at 9:53 am

        Geoff, I fully agree with you as both you and Kevin Kiernan belong to an era of mature multi disciplined conservationists who have a different perspective unlike that of many of the modern day Greens who seem to be anti burning, anti forestry only interested in rolling forest protests, unpopular community politics by spreading sensational green gossip and then expect the fire authorities to respond immediately as a priority to every incident that involves saving precious natural icons in the SW and elsewhere in the State.

        I would welcome you both to approach the State Fire Management Council chairpersons in your areas, do a bit of media promotion so the public have an idea of your intended contribution, encourage letters to the Editor of local newspapers.
        An issue that is currently close to us all is the saving the states natural icons such as the KWP stands around Mt Anne which are currently under threat from continuing wildfire during this summer. It is possible a dedicated Fire fighting group based at Edgar dam could safely undertake such an activity!

        I am very concerned about the approach Parks take, under crisis management stress to save the surrounds of Lake Rhona from further wildfire incursion using a sprinkler system In future It is necessary for Parks who are expected to manage many of the lands they were granted under the TFA 2013 legislation as Reserves to take a more proactive role in effective and regular broadscale fire maintenance if they are to be seen as capable fire managers across the natural landscape.

        Understandably the Gell River took all fire agencies by surprise but regular fuel reduction on the Vale of Rasselas expanse would have contributed to a better outcome for involved in ongoing suppression activities.

        Good luck with any endeavors that you may wish to take on, you have my support!

    • Simon Warriner

      January 25, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      I was once.

      I don’t drink lattes and I rarely frequent Salamanca. I quit because the TFS sent my brigade chief into my workplace to defame me without bothering to check the story being told by a third party.

      That aside, it is not about the actual firefighters. It is about the incompetent twats hiding behind the exceptional efforts of those on the front line .. the ones who are making the decisions about resourcing and priorities .. the ones who never batted an eye when I made my submission to the last inquiry that revealed the existence of a totally unacceptable attitude.

  6. William Boeder

    January 25, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Russell is known for his facts relating to our first Australians. He has worked among these people although it was many years ago. Your quoted botanical intelligence needs a huge amount of revision.

    Certain Eucalyptus species are only prompted by floodwaters to germinate their new seedlings (another term is springers) and disturbed ground is another, not unlike Tasmania’s Myrtles. Do you think that the Eucalyptus species plant nurseries dotted about in Tasmania set fire to their properties to germinated their Eucy seedlings?

    I suggest that it may be time for you to find a more applicable sobriquet and get rid of ‘Realist’ as that pen-name seems quite illogical. What say you?

  7. Rob Halton

    January 25, 2019 at 8:49 am

    The day of reckoning has arrived, mostly resulting from the belittling of forestry by the former Giddings led Labor govt. who in 2013 introduced the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Legislation 2013 in favor of a lefty driven land management regimes of replacing State Forest production forests with extended Reserves tenures throughout the state.

    This is left STT as a far more smaller player among the fire agencies with less say and displaced many of its experienced staff into retirement.
    Since there has been more emphasis on the Fire Service single handled playing the “support” role as a land manager instead, in the longer term this is an unreasonable expectation and cannot continue.

    Cooperative fire management among all of the fire agencies and all property owners needs to be urgently revisited to create realistic policy decisions!

    Whilst the extent of the recent lightening strikes cannot be contained this time of the year, I accept that !

    But it is obvious that Parks are unable to undertake the most basic land management practices of “fire stick burning” by aerial fuel reduction over the period of the past five years to avoid current spread and damage by wildfires, instead creating unnecessary endangerment to fire fighters, creating isolated community panic not mentioning the enormous wastage of taxpayer money in suppression arrangements among the fire agencies and support teams.

    In my opinion Mr Paul Black the Parks Fire Management CEO, in this instance has no credibility, but lot to answer for!

    Fire Service, its volunteers and remaining Forestry teams are exhausting themselves unnecessarily whereas regular simplistic fuel reduction burning in areas such as the Vale of Rasselas and cooperative burning with private land owners on those areas around the Central Plateau would have resulted in far less impact on area coverage and made wildfire containment more coherent.

    Currently we are left living in fairy land as the state burns, much of it unfortunately unnecessarily!

    • John Hawkins

      January 25, 2019 at 6:49 pm

      Halton …

      The truth of the matter is that the Feds bailed out Tasmania so that a bankrupt Gunns could pay, in part, their debts to Forestry Tasmania and Ta Ann thanks to Rolley receiving tens of millions of dollars to reduce the Quotas that never existed.

      Then the Libs welshed on the deal by stealing the Federal money as Abbott washed it under the carpet.

      All very Tasmanian … on how not to do it.

      As for the log truck fiasco in the deal …

      You know that, and I know that. Corruption is writ large, as always, across the forestry landscape.

      You continue to beat about the remaining bushes as they burn before your eyes.

  8. Tom Nilsson

    January 24, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Maybe instead of spending, among other things, $100 million to commemorate a hundred-year old war, $50 million to commemorate a 250 years old English sailor or $50 billion to buy expensive submarines that will take decades to be ready and probably won’t be much good anyway, we should spend a bit more money on fire prevention and management.

    Some things are worth saving.

  9. Realist

    January 24, 2019 at 3:12 am

    Always the conspiracy theorist. If you are so sure of what you say Simon, why have you not reported this to authorities?

    I can assure you that wherever possible an out of control fire is dealt with as soon as practicably possible. Sometimes there are very good reasons why fires cannot be accessed quickly .. such as lack of resource availability, adverse topography, adverse weather conditions, excessive fuel loads and remoteness.

    Wild allegations against the personnel risking their safety and who could potentially protect your house in a wildfire situation is not helping.

    • Simon Warriner

      January 24, 2019 at 6:28 pm

      It was reported, via a submission to the inquiry that occurred immediately afterwards. This inquiry required that I lodge it with a senior TFS officer seconded to vet the submissions.

      My family has paid a very heavy price for that submission, due to my partner being employed by the TFS at the time. She no longer is, and the disgusting story of her treatment at the hands of the TFS is one that will be told in the fullness of time when it is legally safe for me to do so. I put principle first, unlike others. The inquiry produced a piss weak result. The problem behaviors are being repeated before our very eyes.

      The “wild allegation” is nothing of the sort. I am prepared to repeat it in any forum. I have at least one witness to its utterance. As for slagging off an individual who would protect my house, NOPE.

      The attitude I am objecting to is one that instead puts our volunteer force, whose efforts I hold in the highest regard, in harms’ way when prompt and effective action would reduce that risk, and the overall risk to the wider community.

      Now, who are you, really?

      • Realist

        January 25, 2019 at 3:44 am

        I am sorry for your predicament Simon, and apologise if I hit a nerve.

        However, prompt and effective action does only as you say. It reduces the risk and it is not fail safe.

    • William Boeder

      January 25, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      In reply to Realist, given your claims that mock the words of highly credible persons who have nothing to gain by speaking the truth, sees you creating an enormously biased number of statements and opinions.

      At times like the present, serious fires are threatening many areas of this State, then here you are are attempting to absolve the various established Tasmanian Authories of their gazetted roles and responsibilities.
      (Being exactly that which is the very basis and purpose for their very existence?

      Given the known facts of logging in this State that are firmly established, why do persons with your nonsensical opinions speak of matters that are largely neglected also wholly false and decidedly misleading?
      How do you justify your claims and contentions?

      An enormous amount of research has been engaged in by a number of highly credible Tasmanian individuals, yet you had waffled on attempting to divert the thrust of this important State of Tasmania subject matter by diverting that which is this State government’s duty to provide to the people the accountability and responsibility you hope to dismiss by your contemptible remarks?
      Can you please advise the people attending this Forum for your reasonings in making your outlandish fairyland claims and statements?
      Another fact you should already be aware of, is that it is the unread and the ignorant persons in this State who are the only persons that dare to listen to the impossible claims and statements emanating out of the minister holding the portfolio of DPIPWE, Guy Barnett MP.
      Facts figures and real-time statistics also deny the claims ans statements being proffered by this same ministerial person.

      Consequently, the majority of the Tasmanian citizens are acutely aware of the ‘power of suggestion statements’ (nonsenses) that are forever being published by this State’s major media news proprietors.
      Scant is the honesty and validity (let’s call it the all round integrity e’er oft’ omitted) in favour of the false/fake claims and statements issuing out of this current State government and then that beguiling trash news is then published to the detriment of this State’s citizens.

      Incidentally, this sort of ‘placid State government-comfortable information’ we see so frequently issuing does nothing whatsover to deal with the shortcomings that underlay a number of this State’s government department’s legislated authorities roles and accountabilities.

      I look forward to you providing your response to my comments Mr. Realist?
      Thank you. William.

  10. William Boeder

    January 23, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Yes Pete Godfrey you are unerringly correct. It is to be noted that Tasmania’s Liberal party ministers do not care for this State’s people, wherein the unrepresented people are having to contend with the absurd and failing governance by this State’s Liberal party and their blindly led acolytes.
    Many that engage or spruik in the defence of logging Tasmania’s indigenous crown land forests that are overwhelmingly delivered to the State’s every hungry wood-chippers (being some 90% plus of our State’s Crown Land indigenous forests) they spruik to defend the indefensible, now doubt at all that my comment will induce a disparaging comment from MjF.
    As for this resultant loss of tourism ammenity how much will this decrease the tourism revenues in this State? And no this will not bother you MjF with your interests and attitudes beyond the understanding of a great many good-minded citizens. this revenue loss will not be replaced by increasing the despoil of even more of Tasmania’s Crown Land forests.
    ‘Logging Harvest Zones’ this sort of terminology springs from the likes of the former Forestry Tasmania spieler and beguiler, Ken Jeffries.
    Now how stupid and reckless is this endangering and ruinous endeavour currently being pursued so relentlessly by this apparently failing State government?
    Futher interesting fact is that the 3rd World countries along with their corrupted government ministers that are dotted around the Globe, have acknowledged the error of their former delinquent rampant clear-fell logging endeavours, agreeing that this had to be completely halted.
    This clearly demonstrates the monstrous failures of today’s Tasmanian Liberal party government.
    There is likely the element prevailing upon us by a failing Liberal State government; “if we can’t log them age old Tasmanian forests, then let the bastards burn for all we care, what, why the hell should we spend our revenues [not their revenues] to extinguish them out-of-control bushfires, are you insane? Let them tree-hugging Greenies have something to really piss and moan about.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jan/28/tasmanian-bushfire-still-burning-uncontrolled-in-states-north-west
    The product of Tasmania’s inept Liberal Cabinet Minister decisions so frequently hurled upon the people of Tasmania, well may prove my scenario just above, that it sounds about right.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-22/bushfire-ravaged-soil-takes-up-to-80-years-to-recover/10736626
    So who is it, if not the State’s DPIPWE minister, that is (or not) coordinating the extinguishment of Tasmania’s out of control World Heritage Listed Gondwanaland bushfires?
    Is it possible that it is they in the top ranks of the Tasmanian Fire Service, if not they then who? Or could it be the fires themselves, it is not inconsistent to believe that the government here would suggest, all the many of Tasmania’s former and current disastrous bushfires have only themselves to blame.
    Lacking are this State’s authorities, imagine, the word goes out, we urgently need someone with the vital components of coordinating skill as well as to instill the disciplines of control, as we have no-one in our ranks capable of this type of undertaking?
    It is very important to understand that the early onset of these raging bushfires [Gell River Heritage Listed Region, 26th or 27 December 2018, so perhaps about a month since its ignition, yet received so little attention and attendance, especially when a control regimen of Tasmania’s major fire fighting assets could have been immediately set into operation [aircraft fire-bombers] as an alternative to “them fires may hopefully burn themselves out.”
    The fire at that early stage would have been limited to some hundred or or more hectares.
    Each and every series of disastrous bushfires in Tasmania begins with “too little too late, to be in any way an effective mode….to even begin the task of extinguishing “these first under-estimated, or perhaps term them as the neglected onset” one will not hear ‘that the sooner they are out all the better’ it is this indifference and lassitude attitude that invariably contributes to each and every incident of past and present, to Tasmania’s raging out of control bushfires.
    Unfortunately the mindset of this State’s upper level firies e’er remain their docile hesitating self.

    • MJF

      January 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm

      Good points, W.

  11. Tom Nilsson

    January 23, 2019 at 11:10 am

    I’m not holding my breath for our state government to start caring about wilderness protection.

    The great photos above might soon be all that’s left. FYI “Realist”, Tasmania has vegetation other than eucalypt forests.
    Perhaps in the future it won’t, given the way things are going.

  12. William Boeder

    January 23, 2019 at 9:10 am

    The problem is that this conservation thing is not normally in the purview of our current Liberal party government, although there may be a reprieve granted from somewhere outside Tasmania.

    I do recall not so long ago how a certain Abetzian hate-bot wanted to let Forestry Tasmania loose to run amok yonder in our … Gondwanaland Wonder of the World Forests … something about woodchips or whatever among our World Heritage-listed Forests, so that’s a difficulty this state has to deal with.

    How one man’s ideology can create so much dread simply by inaction is certainly a worry for the citizens of this state, one that with great difficulty hosts such Ancient Wonders as we do. This could be comparable to a criminal action.

    Let us hope for some responsible action from by the Abetzian acolyte, Guy Barnett.

    There well may be a look-in from our “fair dinkum .. I’m your best mate, Sco Mo” after all, he overrides the local chapter of the present Liberal leadership government.

    The threat of a citizens’ class action might hold sway over the allegedly more clear-headed and responsible remainder of the state Liberal party ministers who, each and all, had sworn to govern for the people of Tasmania.

  13. Realist

    January 23, 2019 at 8:27 am

    ”Only 20 years ago dry lightning strikes in Tasmania were almost unheard of.”

    Really? The ecology of eucalypt forests has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years. The only way they regenerate is through fires. The only way fires started back then was through lightning strikes.

    • max

      January 23, 2019 at 11:07 am

      Realist … do you read what you respond to?

      We are witnessing the outcome of 30 years of global failure to take action on climate change. Only 20 years ago dry lightning strikes in Tasmania were almost unheard of.

      Mt Anne is one of the most ecologically important sites in Tasmania and it supports fire-sensitive vegetation such as King Billy and pencil pines, deciduous beech and old-growth rainforest. These plant communities have not changed appreciably since the end of the Pleistocene Era over 10,000 years ago, and individual trees are well over a thousand years old. This is the proof that dry lightning strikes in Tasmania were almost unheard of.

      With prolonged heat and the lack of rain, the outcome of climate change is drying out our forests .. and now they are more susceptible to dry lightning strikes.

      • Realist

        January 24, 2019 at 2:47 am

        Max, lightning strikes have been occurring since time began.

        And yes, I agree with you that sensitive vegetation communities on Mt Anne are important to protect, however the very reason they are still there is the fact they are very wet.

        The vegetation on the exposed slopes however is entirely different, comprising button grass, cutting grass and tea tree scrub dispersed with eucalypts .. all fire promotants that have had a history of fire.

    • Russell

      January 23, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Really? Doing a little research by reading “The Biggest Estate on Earth” by Bill Gammage, and by asking questions of indigenous Australians will provide you with historical records and passed down knowledge that show that many eucalypt species cannot survive fires which occur frequently. And those that can actually promote catastrophic bushfires, which is what same-age same-height closely planted plantations cause.

      “The only way they regenerate is through fires” is COMPLETELY incorrect for most eucalypt species. Read up and learn.

      “The only way fires started back then was through lightning strikes.” Wrong again. Indigenous Australians were fire-stick farming for thousands of years because they understood/understand the nature of all the endemic types of plants and trees, and how and when to do it. They still carry out these practices up north today – to lessen fire risk and promote new growth to feed the wildlife they hunt.

      • Realist

        January 24, 2019 at 2:32 am

        Russell, indigenous Australians were not around when eucalypts were evolving hundreds of thousands of years ago, and if you did just a little research you would find that eucalypts actually promote fire by shedding bark and leaves to provide fuel to create an ash bed for the seed that drops after a fire passes.

        If you think eucalypts regenerate by ways other than fire please feel free to divulge your wisdom.

        • Russell

          January 24, 2019 at 11:31 am

          You haven’t been around for a couple of hundred years, let alone thousands, so don’t pretend to know more than Indigenous Australians.

          You clearly demonstrate how very little you know about eucalypts. The barks are ALL different, depending on what fire regime they belong to, and what the NORMAL fire regime dictates. Have a good look at what each ENDEMIC eucalypt’s bark is like (ie: wooly, stringy, peeling off in strips, how high up the trunk it goes, whether the tree drops its lower limbs or not, etc) and that shows you how NORMAL historical fires in that area have always been.

          Only through the advent of European invasion and stuffing around with the ecology replacing wet ENDEMIC forests with dry EXOTIC forests have wildfires become an increasingly serious problem, ESPECIALLY within the last few decades.

          “If you think eucalypts regenerate by ways other than fire please feel free to divulge your wisdom.” By seed, silly! Like ALL seeds, nuts and grains, they are surrounded by a chemical (eg: phytic acid) which inhibits germination MOSTLY by receiving enough water to soak those chemicals out.

          In the case of cycads, that chemical is a very poisonous layer which Indigenous Australians soak for several days in plenty of fresh water to remove so that they can eat them.

          All eucalypts do NOT require fire to germinate.

          “if you did just a little research you would find that eucalypts actually promote fire by shedding bark and leaves to provide fuel to create an ash bed for the seed that drops after a fire passes.”

          That’s pure FT/STT false propaganda.

          • Realist

            January 25, 2019 at 3:12 am

            ”so don’t pretend to know more than Indigenous Australians.” I never said I did Russell, but simply pointed out the fact that eucalypts have been evolving long before they arrived in Tasmania, and the main reason eucalypts have evolved is through the advent of fire which logically would have been caused by lightning as there was no human influence.

            “If you think eucalypts regenerate by ways other than fire please feel free to divulge your wisdom.” “By seed, silly! Like ALL seeds, nuts and grains, they are surrounded by a chemical (eg: phytic acid) which inhibits germination MOSTLY by receiving enough water to soak those chemicals out.”

            Me? silly? That may be so with trees like acacias but not Eucalypts. They can drop as much seed as they like, but it won’t germinate within a dense understory, particularly in wet forest types, unless there is fire.

            Sorry Russell, but you really have your head in the sand about this. your ”That’s pure FT/STT false propaganda.” says it all really.

            Read any scientific journal and leave your prejudices behind.

          • Russell.

            January 25, 2019 at 8:57 am

            Eucalypts do NOT need fire to germinate their seed. I have grown and planted hundreds of them and NEVER used any ash treatment. All some of them need is stratification, which is putting them under cold conditions for a short period – something hardly artificially required in Tasmania.

            http://www.angelfire.com/bc/eucalyptus/seed.html

            Wet forest eucalypts die from any fire event, that’s why they survive and thrive in wet forests where fires are extremely rare.

            Please provide evidence to support your deluded claims.

      • MJF

        January 24, 2019 at 11:55 am

        “They still carry out these practices up north today – to lessen fire risk and promote new growth to feed the wildlife they hunt.”

        Of course they do.

        They must be very busy fellas, these northern indigenous buddies of yours, Mr Langfield. How do they squeeze these traditional activities in around the more favoured past-times of alcoholism, child abuse, domestic violence, unemployment and petty crime whilst perpetually holding out the begging bowl ?

        • Russell

          January 24, 2019 at 2:50 pm

          The abuse has mostly been at the hands of white people in their missions and institutions and NOTHING has been done about it since the Royal Commission ended. At the other end of the stick, not one Indigenous person to my knowledge has been charged and convicted of abuse as a result of Howard’s draconian ‘intervention.’

          Alcohol was, and still is, peddled out to Indigenous people in communities by grog-running white trash, causing the domestic and community distresses. Alcohol and all the other abusive substances didn’t exist pre-European invasion. No white community has banned alcohol or drugs from their own communities, have they? Many Indigenous communities have done so for many years.

          Unemployment is also caused by white people stealing almost ALL their land mainly by those who wouldn’t dare offer a job to Indigenous Australians.

          Crime was also practically non-existent in Indigenous societies pre-European invasion. You messed up, and you died, which was a very good and effective deterrent.

          Show me an Indigenous Australian holding out a begging bowl. Or is that like the one your employer FT/STT, constantly holds out?

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          Russell, your opening paragraph with all its abuse and its obscenities and its demands has been deleted.

          — Moderator

          • MJF

            January 24, 2019 at 6:54 pm

            Firesticking phooey, you cannot be serious, All firesticking does is interrupt natural ecological processes by man made intervention in trying to removing trees from the landscape and replacing with grasses. It has nothing to do with natural ecological processes and anybody who believes it does, is a comprehensive fool. It’s totally artificial manipulation of the landscape to suit indigenous needs, nothing more, nothing less.

            Who gave them the right to stuff around with the natural landscape ?

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Martin, your contemptuous and belittling opening paragraph addressed to Mr Langfield has been deleted.

            Abusive Comments contravene Tasmanian Times’ Code of Conduct. You can read it here: https://tasmaniantimes.com/the-legal-bits/

            Using the Comments section of Tasmanian Times as an arena to vent your hostility is an abuse of privilege.

            — Moderator

          • MJF

            January 26, 2019 at 11:09 am

            Mr Langfield, did you write obscenities, abuse and demands ? That was most unnecessary.

        • Russell

          January 25, 2019 at 7:55 am

          “Firesticking phooey, you cannot be serious. All firesticking does is interrupt natural ecological processes by man made intervention in trying to removing trees from the landscape and replacing with grasses.”

          Please share your enormous wisdom and tell us all just how many serious bushfires have occurred in the Top End (the constantly hot and most lightning struck place on the planet) in the last 30 years or more where Indigenous Australians still live and practice their mosaic burning.

          • MJF

            January 26, 2019 at 10:54 am

            Roger dodger .. Mr Langfield it is, then.

            With probably the sparsest vegetation and consequently the lightest year-round fuel loads in the country, while criss-crossed with a range of dirt roads, tracks, fencelines and firebreaks all accessible in dry weather to aid fire suppression regardless of land tenure? Yes Mr Langfield, a very good scenario.

            How do you define “serious” ?

          • Russell

            January 27, 2019 at 7:36 am

            Obviously you’ve never been to the Territory, and definitely you have no intention to acknowledge why it has very little fuel load.

            Another question: why does SA (the state with probably the least vegetation in the country) have massive bushfires and the Territory doesn’t – despite the Territory being the most lightning struck place on the planet?

            Is it that you are so racist you can’t/won’t accept Indigenous Australians know better than you regarding fuel reduction and the ecology of their country .. or is it just pure ignorance?

  14. Peter Godfrey

    January 23, 2019 at 8:03 am

    The time for “Wait and See” actions on wildfires is over. We have to move to a proactive approach to extinguishing fires before they get so large that they damage irreplaceable forests and threaten towns and cities.

    It is obvious that we cannot rely on rain to do this job.
    It is time to get in fast when fires are detected and put them out.

    • MjF

      January 23, 2019 at 10:45 am

      Pete, I understand the Gell River fire was actioned rapidly by TFS after detection. Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility there are obvious problems for resource deployment with favourable fire weather conditions prevailing throughout. Weren’t helicopter-based remote area crews deployed almost immediately, and a sprinkler system set up around or near Lake Rhona to protect alpine flora ?

      What do you suggest should happen .. apart from a bottomless pit of money being available and a huge inventory of water bombers etc available on standby which could also required at the same time around the country during the summer fire period ?

      • Russell

        January 23, 2019 at 2:12 pm

        How come I don’t hear of, or see, water bombing planes being deployed, like they always are in other states?

        Maybe you’d be more sympathetic and understanding if it was your own newly planted timber plantation which was going up in flames!

        • MJF

          January 23, 2019 at 7:08 pm

          Maybe you should check in with TFS, if not too much trouble.

          What am I supposed to be more sympathetic and understanding towards? If it was my plantation going up in smoke I’d make an insurance claim, re-do it, and get on with life.

          • Russell

            January 24, 2019 at 8:36 am

            Why don’t you answer the question instead of putting up another question?

            Where are the water bomber aircraft (not the helicopters with their dilly bags of water)?

            “If it was my plantation going up in smoke I’d make an insurance claim, re-do it, and get on with life.”

            That says it all doesn’t it? Never learn from your mistakes. All you care about about is your own back pocket, and stuff the rest of the country and planet as long as you can ‘get on with your life’.

            Since when can you “claim” significant world heritage areas on insurance and ‘just get on with it’? This is typical of the parasites of government enterprises.

            Where are the fabled FT/STT fire fighters? You’d reckon they’d have their faces in the cameras after all the positive publicity they could get .. but no, MIA again, as usual.

      • Pete Godfrey

        January 23, 2019 at 5:28 pm

        MJF … from what I read on the TFS website, the fire has been going now for almost a month. It appears that only when plantations or towns get threatened that the resource allocation is increased.
        The use of sprinklers is a good start.

        I have suggested since the Dunalley fires that all towns in areas at risk of fires should have perimeter sprinkler systems.
        Insurance companies would be advantaged if they also put money towards the installation of town protection systems.
        My understanding is that it was insurance companies who were responsible for the start of fire brigades in the first place.
        I am still of the opinion that if a big enough response was initiated right at the beginning of the fire that it could have been halted earlier.

        Having spent quite a few years when I was younger fighting fires, I have some understanding of how the hierarchy works in the volunteer fire brigades. We were always astounded at the solutions that town based fire control officers came up with then they came to “help” us in the bush.

        I have seen cases where town-based brigades helping us tried to back-burn from a road. They lit the fire at the road and drove their truck along it, lighting the fire as they went. It ended up that the fire went well and flames went over the top of the truck nearly burning it. Not much thought was needed to avoid that incident.

        Unfortunately the people on the ground are often the last to be consulted on what should happen.

        I am not crazy enough to think that I have all the answers. I am just suggesting that we cannot afford to let fires get too big.

        It is pretty obvious that with so many fires now occurring, resources are very stretched.

        • MjF

          January 24, 2019 at 9:19 am

          I agree. No doubt another inquiry will be held at the end of the fire season to flush it all out. With the obvious need for much more aerial based support, particularly for remote conservation areas alight, let’s hope small minded tactics, such as those you describe, don’t prevail.

          Its also likely that given some terrain, location, detection time, weather, the human time factor and subsequent protocols that have to be adhered to, it’s simply not possible act quickly enough to put a fire out in its infancy in some situations.

          As always, it’s history repeating itself.

      • Simon Warriner

        January 23, 2019 at 9:27 pm

        As was stated in a conversation, overheard by myself and another witness, between a State Fire Commissioner and the TFS incident controller while standing on my property overlooking a smallish fire in the Inglis River Valley on the day Dunalley burned .. “It’s only a little fire. Wait ’til it is big enough to fight properly.” That one sentence sums up what is being seen repeated far too often to be coincidental or accidental.

        Determining the reasons why we are not putting maximum effort into extinguishing small fires fast is where the media can do the public a service that has been absent for far too long.

        Whether that is where this story goes or not will be seen over the next couple of months.

        • William Boeder

          January 24, 2019 at 11:03 am

          Thank you, Simon. Your comment reveals a valuable insight into the mind of the State authorities we are compelled to rely upon to provide our communities with some form of fire season safety.
          The overheard short 2 sentences you had provided sums up the real dangers that face our Tasmanian communities.

          This same evaluation is relevant to the State of Victoria’s HQ of their Statewide volunteer Country Fire Brigade.
          A report was telephoned into the HQ one particular morning by an Ovens Valley senior ranked volunteer (many years of fire-fighting experience in their forested environment) to advise HQ that the local region brigades were going to attend and extinguish a large number of small outbreaks in their forested areas brought about by the agency of lightning strikes.
          The HQ instruction was not to leave their CFA Stations, but to remain available and listen up for serious update reports, or more significant outbreaks.

          Later that evening each of the small breakouts had expanded to the extent that they had suddenly linked up and presented a huge fire front that would devastate their region. Too little, too late from their HQ Fire Chiefs. The consequence of that decision was responsible for an enormous fire that had no chance of containment.

          That was the fire that would later see a call to the USA for fire control personnel from that country wherein all were placed on a scale of remuneration for the time necessary to add to the full-on assault upon the increasing spread that became a huge raging inferno.

          Then the rains finally arrived that would go on to extinguish that huge fire, but at a huge financial cost to the State of Victoria’s government.

          Unfortunately, we now have the reports of the massive fire damage and deadly impact still occurring and the prospect of even further dangers presenting in our Tasmanian Heritage Listed Gondwanaland interior bearing its unique ancient floras.

          Once again, too little and too late. How must the many communities continue to rely upon advice from our Fire authorities and the inappropriate media coverage that’s ever on the hunt for sensational firefront personnel stories and accounts of their exposure relating to the dangers facing each and all of the other fire-fighting personnel?

          Again, as Simon has reported, the obsequious State media do not dwell upon the causal neglect that had facilitated the increase and the spread of these huge damaging fires.

          The State of Tasmania is doomed to suffer from fire damage and ruin into its future, given the irresponsible attitudes of those who function in their roles among the elitist Exclusives, those who care only for their mates and themselves.

          Suffer all ye people, and the ancient forests in Tasmania.

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