Tasmanian Times

Adventure and Wilderness

Tasmania is burning. The climate disaster future has arrived, while those in power laugh at us …

Smoke billows from a bushfire south of Huonville in southern Tasmania last week. Photograph: Rob Blakers/AAP

FIRST published in The Guardian HERE

Scott Morrison is trying to scare people about franking credits but seems blithely unaware people are already scared – about climate change …

As I write this, fire is 500 metres from the largest King Billy pine forest in the world on Mt Bobs, an ancient forest that dates back to the last Ice Age and has trees over 1,000 years old.

Fire has broached the boundaries of Mt Field national park with its glorious alpine vegetation, unlike anything on the planet. Fire laps at the edges of Federation Peak, Australia’s grandest mountain, and around the base of Mt Anne with its exquisite rainforest and alpine gardens.

Fire laps at the border of the Walls of Jerusalem national park with its labyrinthine landscapes of tarns and iconic stands of ancient pencil pine and its beautiful alpine landscape, ecosystems described by their most eminent scholar, the ecologist Prof Jamie Kirkpatrick, as “like the vision of a Japanese garden made more complex, and developed in paradise, in amongst this gothic scenery”.

“You have plants that look like rocks – green rocks – and these plants have different colours in complicated mosaics: red-green, blue-green, yellow-green, all together. It’s an overwhelming sensual experience really.”

Five years ago I was contacted by a stranger, Prof Peter Davies, an eminent water scientist. He wanted to meet because he had news he thought would interest me. The night we met Davies told me that the south-west of Tasmania – the island’s vast, uninhabited and globally unique wildland, the heart of its world heritage area – was dying. The iconic habitats of rainforest, button grass plains, and heathlands had begun to vanish because of climate change.

I was shocked. I had understood that climate change’s effects on Tasmania would be significant but not disastrous; the changes mitigated by Tasmania being surrounded by seas that were not heating as quickly as others: the island’s west would get wetter, the east a little warmer and drier, but compared to much of the world it didn’t seem catastrophic.

But it wasn’t so. Tasmania’s sea waters were warming at two to three times the global rate. Davies’ work, with that of other scientists, was revealing the warming and drying of Tasmania’s west and highlands, and the growing impact this was having. The highland lakes of Tasmania would, for example, in the next 70 to 100 years see between a 10% and 20% drop in rainfall, coupled to a 20% to 30% increase in evaporation. By the end of this century a significant proportion of these lakes and wetlands will cease to exist or be largely dried out much of the year.

Then there was the startlingly new phenomenon of widespread dry lightning storms. Almost unknown in Tasmania until this century they had increased exponentially since 2000, leading to a greatly increased rate of fire in a rapidly drying south-west. Compounding all this, winds were also growing in duration, further drying the environment and fuelling the fires’ spread and ferocity.

Such a future would see these fires destroy Tasmania’s globally unique rainforests and mesmerising alpine heathlands. Unlike mainland eucalyptus forest these ecosystems do not regenerate after fire: they would vanish forever. Tasmania’s world heritage area was our Great Barrier Reef, and, like the Great Barrier Reef, it seemed doomed by climate change.

Later Davies took me on a research trip into a remote part of the south-west to show me the deeply upsetting sight of an area that was once peatland and forest and was now, after repeated burning, wet gravel. The news was hard to comprehend – the enemies of Tasmania’s wild lands had always had local addresses: the Hydro Electricity Commission, Gunns, various tourism ventures. They could be named and they could be fought, and, in some cases, beaten.

But the new danger was not here. It was in the sky, it was carbon, and every year there was more of it. The name of the crime was climate change.

Six weeks ago, the future that Davies and others had been predicting arrived in Tasmania. Lightning strikes ignited what would become known as the Gell River fire in the island’s south-west. In later weeks more lightning strikes led to more fires, every major one of which is still burning.

Tasmania subsequently recorded its driest January on record, with maximum temperatures an astonishing 3.22C above the long-term average for the month. Fuel loads were, according to the Tasmanian Fire Service, 20% to 30% drier than average. In such an unprecedented environment the fires were unstoppable.

Today Tasmania is burning. Its fires are so large that a firefighting team was reportedly called out in New Zealand to investigate a heavy smoke haze that turned out to have drifted across 2,500km of ocean from the Tasmanian fires. Firefighters are confronted with 1,629km of fire front, with fires having consumed 190,000 hectares, or 3% of Tasmania’s land, with authorities warning there is no sign of the fires abating for several weeks, and the potential for catastrophic consequences still a distinct possibility.

To date, Tasmania has had the extraordinary luck this summer to not have had the gale force winds that characterised the tragic 1967 fires, in which 62 people perished within a few hours. But luck is only that, and one day soon, this summer or next, or the one after, that fatal day will dawn, and the catastrophe that will result will dwarf all previous Tasmanian fires in its fatal tragedy because everything else has changed, and all for the worse.

The Tasmanian fires have attracted little national media attention because there has been as yet, thankfully, no loss of life and only a handful of homes burnt. And yet these fires signal a terrifying new reality, as disturbing and ultimately almost certainly as tragic as the coral reef bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.

What has become clear is that another global treasure in the form of Tasmania’s ancient Gondwanaland remnant forest and its woodland alpine heathlands are at profound and immediate risk because of climate change. Heroic efforts have been made by remote area firefighters to preserve some of these rare ecosystems. But when communities in the Huon came under threat most of these resources were diverted to that front. Such resources don’t come cheap: a single drop by a Hercules C-130 water bomber is understood to cost $75,000.

And so, without a far greater investment of money in the coming years, scientists believe these global treasures are doomed to destruction. This week or next year or the next, the certainty is that without extraordinary effort, they will burn and be gone forever.

At the same time Tasmanians find themselves living in a frightening new world where summer is no longer a time of joy, but a period of smog-drenched dread that goes on week after week, and it seems inevitable, month after month. Whole communities have been evacuated and are living in evacuation centres or bunking down with friends and families. Those that remain live in a fug of sleeplessness and fear, never knowing when the next ember attack will occur or a nearby fire will break containment lines, a gut-clutching terror of wind, smoke and heat. Volunteer firefighters find themselves no longer fighting fires for a week but for a season. Government is confronted with the extraordinary cost of fighting fires of this size and scale for months.

This would seem to be the new normal. According to Prof David Bowman, professor of pyrogeography at the University of Tasmania, henceforth Tasmanians “must think about fire as part of daily life”.

Two years ago the then treasurer Scott Morrison picked up a large lump of coal. Perhaps he thought it was a great joke for Australia at the expense of a few weird outliers like the Greens and the global scientific community. Or perhaps Morrison wasn’t really thinking anything. Perhaps the greatest error of journalists is thinking people at the centre are more than they seem. The problem with people like Morrison, the true terror, is that they may be so much less.

“This is coal,” Morrison began babbling. “Don’t be afraid don’t be scared won’t hurt you won’t hurt you.”

Almost stuttering in his excitement, missing pronouns, he was gibbering without punctuation. If the style was grammatically Joycean, the effect, like his previous masterpiece, “Where the bloody hell are you?”, was memorable.

He waved the piece of coal around like it was the sacred Host itself, he swung it high and he brought it so low that for a moment it was as if a wildly guffawing Barnaby Joyce seated next to him might lick it. How they laughed! The ranks of the Liberal party assembled around and behind, how they all laughed and laughed that day.

Those faces contorted in weird mirth are the grotesque masks of a great and historic crime, deriding not just their political opponents but mocking the future with that pure contempt of power, daring us to remember beyond the next news cycle, to care beyond the next confected outrage, to see past the next lie. It is the image of our age: power laughing at us.

Scott Morrison’s proudest boast is that when the barbarians were at the gate, he stopped them. But now the truth is clear: the barbarians were never at the gate. They were always here, in the palace, in power, and they were blinding us with their lie that the enemies who would destroy our world were the wretched and powerless who sought asylum here. And all along our real enemy was them: those who held up lumps of coal in front of their throne, and laughed and laughed and gloated won’t hurt you won’t hurt you.

But it is.

What has become clear over these last four weeks across this vast, beautiful land of Australia is that a way of life is on the edge of vanishing. Australian summers, once a time of innocent pleasure, now are to be feared, to be anticipated not with joy but with dread, a time of discomfort, distress and, for some, fear that lasts not a day or a night but weeks and months. Power grids collapse, dying rivers vomit huge fish kills, while in the north, in Townsville, there are unprecedented floods, and in the south heat so extreme it pushes at the very edge of liveability has become everyday.

And the future in which the people of Tasmania now find themselves, in the evacuation centres, camped in friends’ and family homes, fighting fires day after week after month, isn’t just frightening. It’s terrifying. While Morrison, now the prime minister, rushes around the country trying to scare the people about franking credits, he seems blithely unaware that the people are already scared – about climate change.

Climate change isn’t just happening. It’s happening far quicker than has been predicted. Each careful scientific prediction is rapidly overtaken by the horror of profound natural changes that seem to be accelerating, with old predictions routinely outdone by the worsening reality – hotter, colder, wetter, drier, windier, wilder, and ever more destructive.

When Scott Morrison visited Tasmania yesterday he wasn’t photographed holding a lump of coal up in Geeveston. In the evacuation centre at Huonville. In the sacred King Billy pine groves of Mt Bobs or the exquisite cushion plant gardens of the Walls of Jerusalem. I doubt he had the folly to tell people don’t be scared. I am sure that he looked concerned and perhaps occasionally he smiled, the smile of the weak man, the smile of all the empty men.

And tomorrow there will be another welcome photo opportunity at another unprecedented “natural” disaster, another fire, another flood.

And when he retires back into his prime ministerial limo I wonder if he laughs.

He should.

Laugh at us all, Scott Morrison, you and the others who sit with you, grinning fools at the entrance to hell. Laugh and laugh as the ash falls soft as silent despair.

Richard Flanagan, a writer, won the 2014 Man Booker Prize. He lives in Hobart and is one of the finest authors of his generation …

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


  1. MjF

    February 24, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Mr Boeder asked “MJF, have you any idea of the number of former Forestry Tasmania burns that had become threatening bushfires?”

    He adds the additional definition that he is speaking of “each escaped ‘prescribed’ burning incident, meaning each burn no longer under the control of the persons who had ignited that fire that had become a problematic destructive fire or a bushfire”

    No suggestion of any time period but I guess he means in recorded history.

    No, I have no idea William. How many ?

    BTW — I endorse your “call for an external auditing entity to sort out the ridiculous from the fact”. A capital idea.

    • William Boeder

      February 24, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      A partial response or an endorsement to one of my many subject matter questions that I have directed toward yourself, one must be thankful for your endorsement regarding the matter of escaped ‘planned burns.’

      The entity directly responsible for approving all ‘planned burns’ is this State’s government, perhaps more specifically, the matter relating to fires in Tasmania, happens to be in the hands of Michael Ferguson MP he as the portfolio minister for Police Fire and Emergency management.

      Ideally Tasmania’s Fire Services have to be notified of each planned burn in order to register the burn, then to issue the necessary approval to whichever government department, be it Parks & Wildlife, STT, Local government Councils etc.

      Perhaps MJF, your association with the great many of Tasmania’s head of department individuals may enable you to obtain the answers sought in this matter?
      I expect the sort of statistical information being sought would be accessible to persons such as yourself, as this information should be made available to persons of your former industry considering you having an interest in plantation style forestry.

      Give it your best shot MJF, see what you can achieve.

      • MJF

        February 25, 2019 at 8:51 am

        So you don’t know either William. Rather an inane question then. But you want me to do your legwork ?

        I’m a bit busy atm maaate, with plans for tree murdering, fauna redistribution etc, to prepare and such.

        I see no reason why a dedicated researcher such as yourself couldn’t ferret out such basic information for your own ends ? There is an FoI process to avail yourself of.

        Good luck

        When will that external auditing entity begin its forensic analysis ?

        • William Boeder

          February 25, 2019 at 1:18 pm

          No, MJF, ‘please recall my purpose in asking your influential self for this information in a prior email.
          Obviously you are also unaware how the Freedom to Information Act 2009 is administered here in Tasmania?

          Think of an anti-citizen bureaucracy that is powerfully influenced by the worst elements situated within and espoused by a Liberal party State government institution, this may best answer your question about the FoI.

          Quite often there is an enormous delay in this State before a provision of the information sought is delivered that may or may not have been heavily redacted as to become so disjointed in its context that it is then unintelligible. (While paying some $40-00 or more for the disappointment thereafter delivered.
          This being just one sample example I have experienced.

          As a point of interest further relating to research, I refer to the article matter published in today’s Tasmanian Times re; Tasmania’s Marine Fish Farming improprieties, these matters have been known to myself since many months prior, then I include the further information gained during my phone discussions with the DPIPWE appointed hands-on personnel.
          (I am able to provide you with a private verification, though this verification is not, in my opinion, to be made available for open public revelation.)

          A onerous unexplained fact is to the setbacks encountered, of which it is ‘to expect a prompt say 10 day reply’ to any matter relating to the inexactitudes of Tasmania’s State government administration.

          The vital point undwerlaying the intereferences here, is that this current State government are the paymasters of every person top to bottom in Tasmania’s Public Service Sector.

    • Mike Seabrook

      March 1, 2019 at 12:34 am

      the auditors may check out the money the feds paid tassie to sack the timber-workers so as to not cut down trees.

      how many of those not cut down trees have perished in the fires and also the adjoining heritage areas and imperilled wildlife

      dams ameliorate climate and could significantly assist in fire management.

      do not commercial forests support councils by paying rates.

      how are the councils paid to assist in the management of non ratepaying lands?

  2. Claire Gilmour

    February 15, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    For half a century there had not been a major fire in my district, until Forestry moved in – destroyed the water catchments and rainforests and planted their useless e, niten pulp wood trees. And neither they or government do any back burning anywhere near plantations. So tell who and what for are these fires really for?

  3. max

    February 15, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    To all and any who cling to the misconception that fire can be used to prevent a future fire .. be it an FRB, regeneration burn, camp fire, aboriginal burning or even the present 200,000 hectares of wild fire burn. It can’t guarantee the prevention of a future wildfire.

    If any form of ignition, be it a spark, dry lightning, cigarette butt or a pyromaniac occurs within 1 mm outside of the perimeter of any previous burnt ground, there is the potential for a catastrophic fire if the right conditions prevail.

    Given that fire will not prevent future fires, we must make an instant response to prevent any fire spreading. Not by some antiquated, troglodyte inspired ideas that some cling to in spite of all the evidence that shows they do not prevent wild fire.

    In actual fact, STT and all who recommend FRB and regeneration burns should be locked up for being a public menace to heath, life and property.

    MJF … It is bordering on the edge of the ridiculous that we continue to go around and around. Your latest reply, when you try to belittle me with a superior know it all attitude, does little to impress me.

    Try and answer the above with a little more intelligence, if you can.

    • MjF

      February 16, 2019 at 10:41 am

      There’s nothing further from me, Max. I can’t debate with a denialist.

      • max

        February 16, 2019 at 12:42 pm

        “There’s nothing further from me, Max. I can’t debate with a denialist.”

        I’m happy to know it. I never really expected that you would.

        By now you had to be realising that FRB was a stupid practice. To hammer home the point that I have failed to get through to you I suggest a simple test will prove that FRB are a total waste of time and money, and have no possibility of preventing future catastrophic fires.

        Take a sheet of A4 paper to represent Tasmania.
        Put maybe a thousand or so dots haphazardly from a fine felt-tipped pen on this sheet to represent fuel reduction burns.

        Pin the A4 paper to a wall and throw 11 darts at the sheet to represent dry lightning strikes. If any dart misses a dot it proves the futility of FRB.

        Dry lightning strikes are only a fraction of the possible ways that fires can start, and so this shows the total futility of FRB.

        All supporters of FRB appear to be associated with forestry, but Tasmania is more than forestry. If the whole of the state is not included in fire prevention, then what is the point of inflicting the population with health destroying smoke .. when only a holistic approach can prevent catastrophic fires?

  4. max

    February 14, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    MJF…. No mater how hard you champion your FRB, try to find excuses for there failures, they can never guarantee that next year we will not have a repeat of this year.
    As I said… This article is titled “Tasmania is burning ..” The climate disaster future has arrived, while those in power laugh at us .. and the article has a picture of the fire in Southern Huonville .. a typical Tasmanian rural scene. I see no FBR. What I see is dry grass billowing clouds of smoke with embers, and with the wind in the right direction any of this dry grass could be turned into another fire front.
    The picture is a typical Tasmanian rural scene apart from the fire, where one ember, one spark, one carless discarded cigaret butt or one dry lightening strike, can turn any rural area into a conflagration under the right conditions. How can your FBR stop another catastrophic fire in rural areas, a fire that can spread as this one has.
    You believe I am confusing regeneration burning with FRB yet again. No I am not, I do know the difference. The are both irresponsible archaic practices.
    You are confusing FRB with total protection for rural and forests. There is no way they can. If they can tell us how. The whole word is waiting with bated breath, because these fires are happening world wide and no one else has the answer.

    • MJF

      February 15, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      No max, of course you wouldn’t be undertaking FRB in the middle of summer, you know that much. You really are becoming tiresome and repetitive.

      What you see is a wildfire at the peak of its ferocity, This doesn’t happen in a blink an eye from nothing, something you apparently fail to understand. FBR is a mechanism to avoid reaching this out of control situation by planned and co-ordinated reduction of fuel loads in the cooler months across strategic areas. The science is indisputable.

      This picture is prime evidence of the what develops with a lack of committment in undertaking measured, planned and consistent fuel reduction burning. Its not rocket science nor is it archaic but does require commitment, discipline and a dedicated budget.

      If I may be so bold as to suggest we both agree that serious investment in suitable first response, fit for purpose aircraft being made available is also critical to effective suppression and long overdue.

      Simon – So many end of fire season enquiries over the years and still no commitment by respective governments & agencies to seriously fund any worthwhile aerial kit for early fire suppression. This leaves me with no other conclusion than a dedicated machine/crew is just too expensive to even consider.

      I cannot see how annual chartering would not be out of the question though. Maybe Federal could sponsor a deal. Imagine the advertising along the sides.

      • William Boeder

        February 16, 2019 at 9:06 am

        MJF, have you any idea of the number of former Forestry Tasmania burns that had become threatening bushfires?

        How about that the STT FRB burns sees that the TFS is being paid STT $2 million bucks worth even before any burns are undertaken?
        The latest TFS Annual Report is also begging someone other than this state’s Auditor General to justify the use of so much un-audited information that underlays the TFS submitted annual reckoning of its accounts.

        The best description one can give to the above annual report is that it comes quite close to the nonsense submitted by the former Forestry Tasmania.

        • MJF

          February 16, 2019 at 10:35 am

          William, I have no interest in the TFS annual report. What does any annual report demonstrate anyway .. apart from the latest fudgery trends in numbers manipulation about which board’s vote to accept ?

          In your customary way, you pose a question so vaguely that it’s impossible to respond.

          eg: “have you any idea of the number of former Forestry Tasmania burns that had become threatening bushfires?”

          Well, what kind of burns .. and what constitutes threatening ?

          eg: “Is an FRB burning 1 ha over its planned boundary then rated as threatening but may have been easily managed and extinguished anyway and posed no immediate endangerment to property or life ?”

          • William Boeder

            February 16, 2019 at 3:33 pm

            MJF, given your request for better specification, I offer the following.

            I was referring to each escaped ‘prescribed’ burning incident, meaning each burn no longer under the control of the persons who had ignited that fire that had become a problematic destructive fire or a bushfire.

            All escaped ‘prescribed’ burns can be listed under this same heading, no matter the extent of area consumed.

            The TFS report designates an annual budgeted amount of $2 million dollars just to STT, then there appears the budgeted amounts to other State agencies, eg Parks and Wildlife, that are allocated funding to undertake to destructive forestry burns.

            The State budget also incorporates funding allocations to STT [as it did for Forestry Tasmania] thereby one must consider the magnitude of funding that is designated to a program to destroy; which it did, then inevitably and unnecessarily had decreased the State’s wildlife protected indigenous species as well as this State’s listed endangered species.

            Effectively this proves that the Tasmanian State government is the most wildlife destructive force within this State. (As is demonstrated per the TFS Annual report expenditures and same by this State government’s past and present budget allocations for this same criminal-like singular purpose.)

            My reference to the latest TFS Annual report was to provide a demonstration that the figures presented were un-audited at the time of that report.
            Hence my call for an external auditing entity to sort out the ridiculous from the fact.

            Let us not fail to recollect the accounting procedures employed by the recalcitrant former Forestry Tasmania GBE, no matter the number of qualified professionals that sat on the Forestry Tasmania Executive Board, even its long term directors and chair-persons, eg; Miles Hampton, accountant by profession.

            One can readily allege he and his professional colleagues had kept a closed eye and completely ignored the sham of of each Forestry Tasmania Annual report that contained its submitted impure facts concerning financial amounts and their incorrect categorically page listing.

            It can safely be alleged that quite a number of the former era accountancy practices and procedures that were employed to formulate the submitted Forestry Tasmania Annual reports, where this should have brought the wrath of Australia’s Corporate Regulatory Authority, if they were made aware of how the State’s GBE’s Annual reports were indeed counter to Australia’s Corporations Law Act 2001.

            Each of Tasmania’s GBE’s are obliged to the regulations stated in the Australian Corporations Law Act 2001.

            As I have referred to; Tasmania’s Government Enterprises Act, states this very same.

            So MJF, if you are unable to understand this dilogue I have demonstrated in this comment, my advice to you is to pack up your pencils and etcetera’s from your desk, leave the classroom and also leave off your never-ending nil response to questions directed to you for your answwer.

  5. Claire Gilmour

    February 12, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    I apologise if I used a swear word after being raped, tried to be killed, used and abused, had my land burnt to the ground, had some people – supporters of Forestry on TT even suggest I should have died/had my home burnt to the ground because I care for the environment … by a bunch of blokes who have their finger or eye in government/forestry/corporations who would commit manslaughter for a buck!

    I can make it rain, I can make the sun shine, I can make it burn, I can make it icy, all too easy to create thunder and lightning. Or I can stop it too. Believe me or not, but my husband saw it, I proved it. SO don’t annoy me ! I can create and destroy. My kindness towards humanity in general has been lost. I am mother nature !!!

    And whilst I do my twists and turns to play with the indignity the general populace display upon me I also twist and turn the planet slowly upside down … you think you can own and control me? Think again !

    What people don’t generally consider is their brain, their thoughts as an influence. Perceptions are based on seeing, hearing, speaking, touching. Feeling and imagining are not considered as being influential. That is wrong. Physical realm is a much lower vibration – meaning monkey, see monkey do. The mental realm is a much higher vibration – meaning what you think you can create.

  6. Claire Gilmour

    February 12, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Same old arguments going around and around. It’s boring and useless. Can someone, anyone think outside the square?

  7. MJF

    February 11, 2019 at 8:05 am

    MJF … Prior to 1967 I had been involved in numerous fires, but to me 1967 was a total shock. I saw a fire totally out of control .. an unstoppable fire. This fire was caused by lack of rain, a parched landscape, bone dry grass and something that set it off. I have never heard where it started, or how.

    You avoided the question Max, by conveniently pushing your own FRB rave button. I asked if the1967 event was, in your opinion, due to a warming climate back then …

    • max

      February 11, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      MJF … You asked if the1967 event was, in my opinion, due to a warming climate back then. I tried to give you an honest answer but you want more, perhaps something to suit your own agenda.

      In 1967 I knew nothing about climate change and global warming. All I knew on that day was how bloody hot and dry it was, and what was happening in my area. I know know that the 1967 fire was perhaps an early result of the long term global warming. It was definitely a harbinger of things to come.

      You claim that I tried avoid the question by conveniently pushing my own FRB rave button. Well, what is your own FRB rave button? it appears that the defence of FRB is what pushes your button. If this is the case tell us what these fuels are, and why they can only be reduced by fire, and how these fires will prevent future catastrophic fire conditions.

      Don’t keep attacking the messenger. Tell us how to prevent future catastrophic fire conditions because we need to know.

      • MJF

        February 12, 2019 at 12:45 am

        Perhaps you didn’t recognise it then max (as I said, it was not fashionable then) but in hindsight would you say the climate was warming win 1967 and as such, was a precursor to those fire conditions ?

        You are not ‘under attack’. I’m simply asking your opinion now. Just relax.

        So you do agree that the early symptoms of warming may well have lead to events back in 1967?

        Good, thanks for clarifying.

        Re FRB, I’m a big fan but only when done consistently and methodically, without political interference and point scoring or weakening of objectives. The way I see it, you either have a lot or few smoke events every year or a major smoke event recurring every few years (uncontrolled wildfires) with increased risk of loss of life and property.

        We would all love to see proper and dedicated helicopter capability positioned here for the duration of every fire season but this government will never seriously address that scenario.

        • max

          February 12, 2019 at 9:35 am

          MJF … It appears that we will have to agree to disagree, as we see the world through different eyes.

          I have spent my life in the bush and in rural areas and after my experience of possibly dying in a catastrophic fire, I see my surroundings in hot dry conditions as possible death traps. I have seen next to nothing in the way of FBRs and none that would alter catastrophic fire conditions.

          This article is titled “Tasmania is burning ..” The climate disaster future has arrived, while those in power laugh at us .. and the article has a picture of the fire in Southern Huonville .. a typical Tasmanian rural scene. I see no FBRs. What I see is dry grass billowing clouds of smoke with embers, and with the wind in the right direction any of this dry grass could be turned into another fire front.

          It was only by the grace of God, that and rain, which has seen this fire perhaps stopping.

          The way you see it, you either have a lot or few smoke events every year or a major smoke event recurring every few years (uncontrolled wildfires) with increased risk of loss of life and property. The way I see it that we had a lot of smoke events this year prior to the major event, and they did nothing. Why inflict the public with 2.5 particulate that did nothing to prevent a major fire that could have been a catastrophic event for the whole state?

          The millions of dollars that this fire has cost is only a down payment. Unless the powers that be stop relying on a FRB and snap out of this daydream, the better. We have entered a new world and we will not survive in it with old world ways.

          • MJF

            February 14, 2019 at 5:39 pm

            The point is Max, that FRB is not implemented seriously or consistently in Tasmania to achieve any worthwhile results, in my opinion. It’s employed spasmodically, erratically, inconsistently and not it appears, in any sort of order or to a plan.

            This is where we’re going wrong, notwithstanding the warming effects of climate which demand more serious and considered use of off-season fire as an effective protection measure. No-one can rely on it for anything because it’s implementation is too ad hoc.

            I believe you’re confusing regeneration burning with FRB yet again, given your statements. Is it you who is being diversionary, Max ?

        • Simon Warriner

          February 12, 2019 at 9:32 pm

          Your last sentence interests me, Martin. Why do you think this government won’t ever seriously address proper resourcing of first response to vegetation fires during the fire season by providing adequate aerial cover to provide an overwhelming first response?

          I suspect it will take a major insurer taking a serious interest in the inherent risks posed to industrial and commercial clients in Tasmania by a tardy first response to get fingers removed from sphincters and to overcome the vested interests.

          • Russell

            February 14, 2019 at 1:09 pm

            Maybe they would .. if Ta Ann or one of their other forestry puppeteers was burned to the ground.

          • William Boeder

            February 14, 2019 at 4:30 pm

            Your comment should be given the special prominence that it deserves. There has been very little reference published in the mainstream media about the interval of delay by the TFS high command response to Tasmania’s WHA National Park reported bushfire.

            Two emailed letters that I’ve sent to the TFS regarding this delay have still not produced a response. Nor have I received any response about the use of the heavy-metal contaminated waters for helicopter refills from the Rosebery mine tailings dam used to suppress the West Coast bushfires.

            One is also expected to ignore the use of toxic fire-retardant chemicals expelled onto the WHA bushfire.

  8. Chris

    February 10, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Well, I reckon that as night follows day .. and whatever, fires are here to stay.

  9. Realist

    February 10, 2019 at 9:08 am

    “Fuel reduction burns are proving to be a waste of money and time.”

    Absolute rubbish. It has been recorded that during the Dunalley fire the town of Murdunna was saved when the fire front diverted around the town due to a FRB. The same case occurred at St Helens when the Argonaut fire was diverted due to a past FRB. And there are countless other examples. Obviously the arm chair experts here do not have one iota of an idea about fire behaviour with the constant build up of fuels on the forest floor, and the catastrophic consequences of not reducing them.

    • max

      February 10, 2019 at 11:42 pm

      Realist … I can only assume that you have been brainwashed into believing the propaganda of who you must work for, or who you have worked for.

      “Obviously the arm chair experts here do not have one iota of an idea about fire behaviour with the constant build up of fuels on the forest floor”. OK, give us your expert advice on what the fuels are that build up on the forest floor. I have spent a lifetime on the forest floors, and I am unaware of what this fuel build up is.

      If you are the realist you claim to be, give me the real lowdown on what this forest floor build up is. Failing that .. change your name.

      • Realist

        February 12, 2019 at 8:02 am

        Me .. brainwashed? Have a good look in the mirror, Max.

        I don’t need to give you any “expert advice”, Max. There is plenty of literature out there describing how combustible fuels build up on the forest floor over the years. Do your own homework.

        • max

          February 12, 2019 at 10:35 am

          Realist, thanks for confirming that you know nothing on the subject of fuel reduction burns.

        • William Boeder

          February 12, 2019 at 12:53 pm

          Realist, there are 2 entities that you are supporting with your power of suggestion comments. See below.

          Sustainable Timbers Tasmania…. the brainchild of some State legal spooks that serve as lackeys to this State government and the anti-hero Guy Barnett MP, he all the while aiding himself with his false statements relating to the logging sustainability that is ‘not supported by fact evidence’.
          State government propaganda published in Tasmania’s major mainstream media (exclude the ABC) that is alleging the equivalent of duck being called a horse.

          I feel obliged to provide the advice to you, to let you know the futility of your efforts in gaining any calculable credibility.

          I believe it is in the best interests of the Tasmanian people to be provided with facts rather than fictions.
          Please study the meaning of ‘propaganda’?


          Other than my words above do have a nice day.

          • Realist

            February 12, 2019 at 5:59 pm

            I’m laughing! Being lectured to by a greenie about the use of propaganda would have to be joke of the day.

            Believe what you like guys, I prefer to live in the real world .. not la-la land.


        • Russell

          February 14, 2019 at 1:16 pm

          “I don’t need to give you any ‘expert advice’, Max.” Only because you can’t.

          Since when does the built-up forest floor litter of rainforests burn?

          Maybe your ideal fire-free world is just one bare paddock.

          • max

            February 14, 2019 at 6:38 pm

            Since when does the built-up forest floor litter of rainforests burn? Maybe your ideal fire-free world is just one bare paddock. As a certain redhead said, ‘please explain?’

            I have been to Kakadu, and I have seen the aboriginals in action with their burns. Over the centuries that they have occupied Kakadu they have changed the landscape.

            Kakadu consist of fire-stunted trees, flood plains, rain forests and escarpments. I drove through smoke and burning grasses until I reached Jabiru. If this is what it takes to prevent fires in Tasmania then it is not my idea of fire prevention.

            A 100 km drive through black burn what I can only assume was grass and stunted singed trees did little to impress my first part of the drive into the great Kakadu Park.

            Maybe your ideal fire-free world is just one bare paddock. Where did you get this idea? I have always been strongly opposed to burnt bare paddocks, or any bare paddocks. Have you confused me with Rob Halton?

          • Russell

            February 15, 2019 at 3:51 pm

            Max, did you bother to read it was a quote from Realist’s reply to you on February 12 at 8.02am?

            I’m sorry you didn’t like your visit to the Territory. Some people can’t handle the heat. However, not having much knowledge of the Territory and onlu being a FIFO vistor you obviously don’t know the difference between the grasslands, dry sclerophyll and monsoon rainforests of the Top End and how what makes them such. The indigenous land owners/managers do NOT light fires indiscriminately. There are NO wildfires up there. If you were with an Indigenous guide he/she would have been able to explain what you were looking, why and where all the free food was to be had right at the roadside.

            Millions of people visit the Top End to see the beautiful natural bush and immense year-round water resources every single year.

            Tasmania could learn a thing or million about land management and tourism. All they achieved this year was how to scare all the tourists off.

  10. Claire Gilmour

    February 9, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Don’t worry, Will Hodgman has asked for Federal money to gift the most important saviour money – that going to the Forest industry of course ! Forestry Tas (STT) balance sheet is going to look quite interesting ! Whoops, look what we lost, More than one way to look for and account for a loss making machine !

    And then of course the industry is going to ask for more reserves/wild places to be opened up .. because they are so poor and in reality, so useless at world’s best practice forestry !



    Obscene, vulgar and profane expressions contravene TT’s Code of Conduct.


    — Moderator

    • Claire Gilmour

      February 12, 2019 at 10:46 pm

      No worries, I will instead continue to use sweet as a kitten weather tactics to help control … and teach reality !

  11. max

    February 8, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    MJF … It’s not a question of semantics.” Then why are are you persisting with this argument, or is it a diversion?

    For the umpteenth time, fuel reduction burning is not regeneration burning. Yes I know, I have always known. There are correct and incorrect labels and phrases to use. Yes rifles, are not guns but they can both shoot bullets. Go back and read my reply to Rob and the one you replied to.

    Aggregate retention logging and regeneration burning produce CO2 and smoke with dangerous 2.5 particulate and a burnt mosaic pattern.
    Fuel reduction burns produce CO2 and smoke with dangerous 2.5 particulate and a burnt mosaic pattern.
    Both regeneration burns and fuel reduction burns produce fire loving plants and the danger of catastrophic fires in the drier hotter new world of climate change.
    Both regeneration burns and fuel reduction burns are unnecessary. Regeneration burns and clear felling destroys the future of forestry.

    Fuel reduction burns are proving to be a waste of money and time.

    • Jon Sumby

      February 9, 2019 at 3:23 pm

      Hear, hear! Everyone who looks at the modern research and the modern data knows that deliberate burns for ‘hazard reduction’, or ‘fuel reduction’, or ‘fire control’, or whatever term is used is a waste of time, money, and effort except in extremely limited circumstances.

      It’s just old school types who are wedded to doing them as part of their cultural beliefs that approve of it. Bit like shark netting at swimming beaches, they don’t work, never did, and should be removed… but no.

  12. Mike Seabrook

    February 8, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    lakes and dams(think Hydro) and associated roadworks make great fire breaks and make fire management more organised ( a focus to construct fire breaks and back burn from and wildlife refuges) and could additionally be useful in flood management (think of the lower huon river and the main street in Huonville) .

    forests as carbon sinks are not much use when they burn, and those exploiting the forests should be paying for all the fire insurance and fire management costs in respect of their commercial forests.

    • Russell

      February 10, 2019 at 9:08 am

      The more forests you submerge in fake lakes, the less carbon can be removed from the atmosphere. The less carbon you remove from the atmosphere, the more fires you get and more CO2 into the atmosphere.

      As a result we are getting less rain to fill lakes and dams. You are only adding to Climate Change. There are plenty of lakes and dams already – and all of them are way below normal levels.

      More holes in the ground doesn’t mean more rain.

    • Brenda Rosser

      February 12, 2019 at 10:48 pm

      I have requested that Resource Management Services pay for half of the infrastructure necessary to try and protect our house, given that this multinational corporation insists on placing their monoculture, fire-promoting species only 50 metres away from our house. They have refused to respond to all of my correspondence.

  13. max

    February 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Mark Poynter, lease excuse my ignorance.

    The descriptive term ‘mosaic’ is applied to FRBs because typically, when conducted under optimal conditions of calm weather and fuel moisture content, they create a mosaic pattern of burnt dry fuels interspersed with unburnt slightly damper fuels burns, such as in gullies for example.

    The descriptive term ‘mosaic’could be applied to hot torching of all the woody debris left behind from clear-fell and aggregate retention logging on specific coupes. They create a mosaic pattern of burnt dry fuels interspersed with unburnt, standing trees such as in gullies for example.

    As seen from space, Google Earth or a high flying plane, “mosaic” could be applied to aggregate retention logging on specific coupes. As I replied to MJF, or Martin if you like, why play semantics?

    200,000 hectares, 3 % of the state burnt, 20,000 hectares of fuel reduction burns before these fires were carried out, and there is still the possibility of more fires .. and you still advocate more fuel reduction burns.

    A simple question on fuel reduction burns .. when is it enough? If you burnt the entire state black, with all animal fodder gone and not a stick left on the ground, could you guarantee the end of wild fires? An honest answer is No, because next year the fire-loving plants would be flourishing.

    I do not class myself as a conservationist, unless wanting to change the present dangers to health and safety by fighting fire with fire and the proven stupidity of doing so, brands me as one.

    • Mark Poynter

      February 9, 2019 at 11:56 am

      max .… just who is playing semantics here? Not me or MJF, we are just telling it as it is, but you choose not to listen. It is why most of us don’t bother with this site anymore. Any informed commentary from people who actually work in a particular area of contention is just dismissed by TT ‘experts’ (such as yourself) despite them largely being only arms-length observers.

      Despite knowing that I’m probably wasting my time, I will make some observations about your question about how much fuel reduction burning (FRB) is enough, which relates to its aims.

      No advocate of FRB has ever claimed that it will ‘guarantee the end of wildfires’ and such an outrageously unrealistic expectation is a strawman argument put forward only by its critics. Clearly if you can create a community expectation that FRB is the panacea for wildfires, it becomes easier to claim it is useless when wildfires continue to occur — which is exactly what you are doing.

      Foresters, fire-fighters, and the rural community who support FRB know that it is a tool to REDUCE the intensity of wildfire thereby making its control easier, and thereby potentially stopping wildfires from growing larger and more damaging to the environment and the community. However, the effectiveness of FRB depends on how much is done and where it is done in relation to where wildfires occur. The less FRB that is done, the less likely it is to help wildfire control efforts simply because it becomes a matter of luck whether a wildfire occurs near it.

      The greatest success with FRB has been experienced in south western WA which avoided major forest wildfires for 50-years from 1961 onwards after it began a program of fuel reducing 6 – 8% of its forests annually. Given that the effectiveness of fuel reduction in reducing wildfire intensity is most pronounced for about 4 years, that means that at any one time, a quarter to a third of the forested area was carrying light fuels of 4 years or less in age (ie. 4 years x 6%/year = 25% and 4 years x 8% = 32%). This means that any wildfire which started was likely to soon run into a fuel reduced area, and there are many documented case studies where wildfires were able to be quickly controlled in light fuels before they were able to grow large and damaging.

      Since around 2010, pressure to reduce WA’s annual burning program (using similar reasoning to that seen on TT) has seen it drop to as low as 3%, but it is apparently going up again now — however, with that reduction has come a steady increase in damaging wildfires again, including FRB escapes because it is far more difficult to control even intended low intensity burns in the heavier fuel loads that build in a longer interval between burns.

      The WA experience is why the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Black Saturday (2009) bushfires recommended a 5% annual FRB program. In just a few years, this was abandoned for spurious reasons and because it was logistically difficult to achieve (but not impossible) given that Victoria has a greater variety of forest types and greater topographic variation compared to south west WA. Victoria is currently burning only about 1% of its public forests, which means that at any time there is only 4% of its forests containing light fuels from FRB conducted in the preceding 4 years. Accordingly, there is far less chance of a fuel reduced area effectively making it easier to control a wildfire, unless that fire happens to start right next to it or in it (ie. from a lightning strike for example). This extremely low rate of burning was a couple of days ago criticised by the former Chief Fire Officer of Victoria’s public land management Department as being completely inadequate (see the ABC website).

      As for Tasmania’s rate of FRB burning, 28,000 ha seems pretty low, but it is hard to quantify it as a % without knowing the state’s total area of burnable forest vegetation, given that rainforest and wet ash forest types are excluded from FRB programs. Tasmania is like Victoria in having a variety of forest types and greater topographic variation (compared to south west WA), but is further complicated by the fact that about one-third of its forests are privately-owned and therefore outside the jurisdication of the government agency that does most of the FRB. So, a third of Tas forest is effectively being managed by hundreds of different owners with varying attitudes to burning and capacity to undertake it; whereas the public forests are managed by one entity which is therefore more able to conduct an FRB program.

      From a distance, I suspect that FRB in Tasmania (as is currently the case in Victoria) is probably having only minimal impact on wildfire mitigation because there isn’t enough of it being done. Does that mean that it should just be discontinued (as its critics advocate), or that more of it should be done to make it more effective in having an impact of wildfire spread and severity? In my view clearly the latter, but not only because it would improve bushfire outcomes but also because (as has been well established) periodic fire is a natural part of our disturbance-adapted landscapes, whereas letting fuels build-up in the long term absence of fire is not. Indeed, there is an increasing body of research showing the decline of biodiversity which occurs in the long-term absence of fire, and it is also self-evident that there is a tremendous impact on biodiversity when wildfires burn at unnaturally high severity in heavy fuels promoted by a long term absence of fire. Low intensity FRB reduces the incidence of both problems.

      • William Boeder

        February 9, 2019 at 7:31 pm

        Mark Poynter, you have discredited yourself in many times past with your false and misleading statements concerning Vicforests and the Victorian eucalyptus forests once extending right across and along the Great Dividing Range and the State’s forested water catchment reserves, then in and around the mountainous regions elsewhere in Victoria.

        While not overlooking that Vicforests and your Australian Institute of Foresters self had allegedly turned a blind eye to the illegitimate logging assault on the last preserve of Ancient Forest in Victoria known as Gippsland’s Brown Mountain.
        Incidentally, Vicforests lost the decision following the litigation from that Vicforests exercise, with more taxpayer revenue wasted by Vicforests.)

        That which I have mentioned in the above has been the logging undertakings you have advocated as being sustainable when in fact there was absolutely no substance of logging sustainability in the many of your comments contributed to this forum.

        Furthermore the former Forestry Tasmania cohorts that were responsible for much of the clear-fell logging of Tasmania’s HCV Forests years ago had occurred during their watch, and I note 2 of these persons have now inserted themselves into your Australian Institute of Foresters.

        To think that your Institute existed as a legal institute begs for a more appropriate sobriquet that reflects the ‘voluminous harm to the Crown Land Mountain Ash species’ that alleges the members of your institute have engaged in over the many past years.

        I understand that your institute now boasts of such past notables as Bob Gordon, then my full well knowing the history of this claimed notable who had been appointed as the former MD of Forestry Tasmania.

        The name of Bob Gordon had loomed large during the former Gunns Ltd era along, with another notable in the name of Hans Drielsma. I note that both were responsible for much of Tasmania’s Old Growth indigenous forests being converted to wood-chips, as well as export sales of Tasmania’s indigenous forest logs resulting from excessive opportunistic clear-felling to Asian ports, yet all the while Forestry Tasmania was being propped up by State and Federal government subsidies and even then could never generate profits in its championed clear-fell bash-and-burn practices, claimed by Forestry Tasmania as World’s Best Practice. [Read more correctly as Tasmania’s State government.]

        The plain facts are that the term sustainable logging never existed during the terms that both of the above-mentioned individuals were employed by Forestry Tasmania.

        A lot of the jived up nonsense that was being dressed up (possibly by the likes of the hot air pumped Institute of Foresters) as something wonderful, when in fact it was just supportive of the fictitious rot to defer to the external to Australian owned predator major timber mill owners as the operational marketing agencies being the foremost profit graspers reliant on the ongoing desecration of Victoria’s and Tasmania’s now sharply diminished indigenous forest resources.

        The tumultuous failings of the false fronted logging fraternities in both Victoria and Tasmania are destined to remain as true testament to the much vaunted philosophies of your Australian Institute of Foresters.



      • William Boeder

        February 9, 2019 at 7:33 pm

        Perhaps Mark, you could provide Tasmanian Times with an account as to why the major timber mills in Victoria’s high country are no longer operational.

        Nothing remains the same on this planet, as it used to be, due to the interference of the opportunistic profiteers that skive off the once plentiful rain forests around our World.

        Your advice Mark, is indeed an unwarranted trespass into retaining what all of that which the 2019 Statewide bushfires haven’t destroyed, along with the ongoing depredations via STT of Tasmania’s volumes of the lingering indigenous forests still being plundered under the stewardship of Tasmania’s reckless State Lib/Lab government.

        The last words Tasmanians would like to hear from Tasmania’s Liberal party Guy Barnett MP, this State’s DPIPWE portfolio minister who rules over the logging industry junior minister who has the portfolio of forests minister .. would be “how cleverly sustainable is his dreamed-up mordor of Sustainable Forests Tasmania.”

        I am yet to receive a response to my email letter of inquiry, relating to the 5 or so days of delay before Tasmania’s Fire Services (TFS) took it upon itself to attempt to extinguish the rapidly expanding magnitude of the Gell River bushfire raging out of control in Tasmania’s pristine World Heritage Listed National Park, the last preserve .. yet home to the remnant Gondwanaland rarest flora species on this planet.

        The words that issued from TFS in early January of this year did not serve the CEO of TFS, Chris Arnol, any favours when in early January he was busily extolling all about the fire extinguishing equipment and aerial resources available to deal with the already blazing out-of-control 2019 bushfires across Tasmania.



      • max

        February 9, 2019 at 8:49 pm

        Mark Poynter, that a typical textbook answer, one we all leaned by rote, one I firmly believed until 1967.

        Have you ever been in a catastrophic fire? Well I have. I was fighting fires in the catastrophic Tasmanian fire of 1967. 18 people perished in my area.

        I will try and tell you what I saw on that fateful day. Balls of eucalyptus gas on fire tumbling across the tops of trees. The tops of trees were hardly singed, a secondary fire followed but nowhere as frightening as those tumbling balls of fire traveling at near the speed of the wind. Houses that burst into flames well ahead of the fire front from embers, and paddocks that did the same. Dead burnt sheep, cows and other animal up against the fences because they could not run away. Building exploded outwards from what I assume was expanding air. There was a convict built sandstone building with walls 600 mm thick lying as rubble as if hit with a bomb. The air was so hot hat we were gasping for air, cars stalled because the gas in the carburetors evaporated. Any patch of dry grass ignited from embers. Fires were starting all around us from embers. I was lucky because a green apple orchard with no dry grass saved my life.

        Any informed commentary from people who actually work in a particular area of contention is just dismissed by TT ‘experts’ (such as yourself) despite them largely being only arms-length observers. I take that as a personal insult.

        Even back in 1967, farmers tried to make fire breaks – but nothing can stop a catastrophic fire. I thought, as did every one else, that this fire was a one-off, a one in a thousand year occurrence.

        We know now that the fire that I witnessed in 1967 is becoming the norm, and the world is getting hotter and drier, The point I am trying to get across, and failing, is that catastrophic fires are unstoppable with fuel reduction burns. They can start in the middle of a paddock, in a wheat crop, outside of your beloved (FRB) and anywhere there is dry inflammable fuel. It can be started by dry lightning or even some fool throwing his cigarette out the window, and then embers will start a raging unstoppable catastrophic fire.

        Not me or MJF, we are just telling it as it is, but you choose not to listen. Yes with good reason (FRB) will not work in the new frightening world of climate change. There needs to a better way, and there should have been one after 1967.

        No advocate of FRB has ever claimed that it will ‘guarantee the end of wildfires’ and such an outrageously unrealistic expectation is a straw man argument put forward only by its critics. Clearly if you can create a community expectation that FRB is the panacea for wildfires, it becomes easier to claim it is useless when wildfires continue to occur — which is exactly what you are doing.

        Yes, that is exactly what I am trying to do. Money spent, or as I say wasted, on something that will not ‘guarantee the end of wildfires’ is creating an imbroglio.

        • Frank Strie

          February 9, 2019 at 10:14 pm

          Yes, Max. “There needs to a better way, and there should have been one after 1967.”

          Restoration of rainforest species dominated plant communities. Well managed forests for hydrology and timber diversity include biodiversity.

          ProSilva (lat)= For the Forest. Plan C, refused ignored, belittled and fought by the two opposing camps in AUS.

          When the time is right something will change, as only when we do something can, and will, we change something.

          Mark, Martin and Robin will hold on to their pride position as will Evan, Hans and Bob.

          Just let time be judge Max. The last shirt has no pockets. We all go as we arrived.

        • MJF

          February 10, 2019 at 6:28 pm

          Max … As you were on the scene, would you have called 1967 a warming climate event, at least before it became popular ?

          It seems to me every ‘major’ weather event in history can now attribute its origins to this phenomenon. Where does one draw the line ?

          • max

            February 10, 2019 at 11:07 pm

            MJF … Prior to 1967 I had been involved in numerous fires, but to me 1967 was a total shock. I saw a fire totally out of control .. an unstoppable fire. This fire was caused by lack of rain, a parched landscape, bone dry grass and something that set it off. I have never heard where it started, or how.

            “It seems to me that every ‘major’ weather event in history can now attribute its origins to this phenomenon. Where does one draw the line ?”

            Where does one draw the line? Never! It takes an idiot or a totally stupid person not to hear or see and not comprehend that more record droughts, extreme hear waves and record temperatures are going to cause more catastrophic fires. It is like night following day.

            I got a taste of the future in 1967. I saw and understood the futility of fuel reduction burns. The fuels that burn are everywhere. It is impossible to prevent fire with fire, because only instant response to fires that are still small will work.

            Grass in all its forms are our food, and the main ignition point for future catastrophic fires. To highlight the stupidity of fuel reduction burns .. what farmer will destroy his livelihood and our food to stop a maybe fire?

        • Mark Poynter

          February 10, 2019 at 10:57 pm

          With a 40+ year career in forestry .. of course I have seen and fought catastrophic wildfires.

          I don’t disagree with your description and it is well established that on such extremely rare days the weather conditions overtake fuel loads as the primary driver of fire behaviour. However, it is important to note that ~99% of fires don’t occur under such catastrophic conditions, and that under the far more common conditions where light fuels can significantly reduce wildfire behaviour, FRB can greatly improve the outcomes for both the environment and the community. Perhaps most importantly, because FRB can enable quick control of wildfires under milder conditions, it reduces the incidence of uncontrolled fires burning for days or weeks longer, and eventually being impacted by catastrophic weather conditions when a blow-up day arises.

          It is astonishing to me that critics of FRB can’t understand this benefit, as it suggests that most have had little or no personal experience of fire-fighting.

          • spikey

            February 11, 2019 at 8:45 am

            Mark, would you say you have a lot of personal experience in fire-fighting in your 40+ year unsustainable ‘career’?

            How much of your vast experience was in controlling fires started by regen and FRB?

            Did you notice Eucalypt and Pine plantations tending to burn better than native mixed forest?

            Perhaps, most importantly, and because wetter mixed forests can enable quick control of wildfires under milder conditions, it reduces the incidence of uncontrolled fires burning for days or weeks longer, and eventually being impacted by catastrophic weather conditions when a blow-up day arises. Boy, that almost sounded like a badly done cut and paste.

            FRBs may certainly have an effective role under certain conditions at certain times. However, as an integral part of ‘Worlds Best Practice’ there are many peeps somewhat suspicious of the science involved.

            Whilst I certainly have no forest fire fighting experience, I’ve spent 40+ years becoming well qualified to pick forestry propaganda, and to become familiar with those that parrot it either deliberately, or because it represents the apex of their unsubstantial knowledge.

          • max

            February 11, 2019 at 9:06 am

            Mark Poynter … However, it is important to note that ~99% of fires don’t occur under such catastrophic conditions, and that under the far more common conditions where light fuels can significantly reduce wildfire behaviour, FRB can greatly improve the outcomes for both the environment and the community.

            How can I disagree, except for the FRB part, fuel reduction dangers should be the same as personal hygiene .. look after your own cleanliness and your own property. This doesn’t mean that you need to wash everyone or poison them with your smoke. Fuel reduction burning should be a last response, not the first. In most cases a mechanical clean up should be carried out.Smoke destroys the health of everyone who is forced to breath dangerous 2.5 particulate. FTT use fire for fuel reduction and for forest regeneration because it is cheap, not because it is needed or is the only way. This has been proven beyond a shadow of doubt, and neither will stop a catastrophic fire if the conditions for such an event exist.

            1967 was only a wake-up call. The conditions on that day are becoming, or have become, the norm. If catastrophic fire conditions are becoming the norm and observations have proved it, why persevere with proven outdated health destroying practices that have no effect on catastrophic fire but might be a part of the problem and no part of the solution?

      • Clive Stott

        February 15, 2019 at 4:07 am

        Unfortunately for you Mark Poynter, you say there isn’t enough back burning being done. Why? Because too many people are waking up to the fact that low intensity FRBs produce more smoke, and we don’t want to be breathing your deliberate stinking smoke all the time. Enough is enough. You don’t have the right to force people to breathe your Group 1 carcinogenic particulate matter.

        Of all the fuels tested:

        “… smoldering eucalyptus (smoke) demonstrated the greatest lung toxicity of all the fuels tested.”
        “… flaming eucalyptus (smoke) and peat was the most toxic to the lungs.”


        You don’t have to burn.There are plenty of proven smokeless ways to reduce fuel loads when it can be shown that it would be in everyone’s best interest to do so. You can’t even do that with your pyromaniac beliefs. Your mind is closed. This burning nonsense is a business for you, so you are going to support it tooth and nail. Our FRB Unit is inter-agency so you don’t know what you are talking about. We have had big fires in 2013, 2016 and now 2019 after listening to the likes of you. Own it!

        As a mainlander, I would really be disgusted having to cough up money now for Tas. sitting on its laurels early while Tasmania burned. But not you.

        The day is going to come when we see aerial firefighting dousing fires when they occur with less troops on the ground.

        French-built submarines aren’t going to put our fires out! It will be a Fire Reduction FR Unit, not a FRBurn Unit. Your old-school … we light ’em, we fight ’em methods will disappear because they have not worked, and all I can say is the quicker the better. Community expectations are already demanding it.

  14. Realist

    February 8, 2019 at 7:30 am

    There’s nothing like a good old dose of gloom and doom early in the morning .. “With old predictions routinely outdone by the worsening reality – hotter, colder, wetter, drier, windier, wilder, and ever more destructive.” Nothing like covering all the bases. All the fears and tears of the precious icons within the wilderness being burnt, but none actually did, probably because just like all the past wild fires over the centuries, they went out.

    • Russell

      February 8, 2019 at 8:55 am

      Nothing like reality is there? The reality is all fires go out when there’s nothing left to burn.

      Please provide the proof that “wild fires” occurred over the centuries.

      • MjF

        February 8, 2019 at 12:04 pm

        Or rain arrives .. or fireys eventually get them under control.

        You know those people that can’t afford to stand upwind all day smoke free, because they have to try and control a fire to protect lives and property. That generally means firefighting from the flanks and ahead of a fire in the middle of the smoke zone .. a concept you’d be unfamiliar with, being trained in the ways of the territory fire use and all.

        Light her up and let it go, just stand well back from the smoke at all times.

        Are those scenarios in your book too, Mr Langfield ?

        • Russell

          February 10, 2019 at 9:25 am

          I have done fire-fighting training. Have you? I have lived in the Territory where the are no wildfires. Have you?

          How about providing answers to questions asked of you, instead of putting up evasive drivel of which you have no personal experience?

    • Geoff Capper

      February 8, 2019 at 9:18 am

      One of the criteria for claiming to be a “Realist” is knowing the reality of the situation.

      Take a drive up to Lake Mackenzie, Devils Gullet etc and see how the 2016 fires damaged that landscape, how the mix of species has changed, and how much of it hasn’t regenerated.

    • max

      February 8, 2019 at 11:50 am

      Realist … “hotter, colder, wetter, drier, windier, wilder, and ever more destructive.” Nothing like covering all the bases. You have highlighted the reality of climate change.

      It takes an idiot or a person with a vested interest to laugh off, in a derogatory way, climate change. The evidence of what just 0.7 of a degree is doing .. rain bombs, vortex shifts, mudslides new higher categories for hurricanes and cyclones, catastrophic fires .. and the list goes on, are a harbinger of things to come.

      What will 1.5 degrees do? God help us if the deniers keep leading us and we go beyond 2 degrees. The present level of CO2 is enough to do just that.

    • Keith Antonysen

      February 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Realist .. the predictions are no longer being made, and we are beginning to live some of those predictions.

      When I was much younger there were predictions of storm surges happening, but now not only do we have storm surges but sea level rise as well with two examples being Marshall Island and Miami.

      The US Military is concerned about its ports being overwhelmed. It is only a couple of years ago that it was suggested surf was up at Barrow in Alaska, with the reason being that sea ice has melted leaving a huge strip of ice free water.

      Over the last couple of years there has been discussion of adding a Category 6 for Hurricanes/Typhoons/Cyclones as they are becoming stronger, though a decision has been made not to do so as a Category 5 is so destructive anyway. Winston, Harvey, Irma are the names of some recent extreme hurricanes.

      What can you tell us about it getting “wetter”? Years ago, wet micro bursts (rain bombs) were discussed as being very rare. Now they are very common, but please debunk me on this point. Here’s a hint .. extra water vapour does not occur without extra matters relating to the water cycle.

    • William Boeder

      February 8, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      Realist, is there a possibility that you have a goodly portion of the same DNA as that held in the physical chemistry of Tasmania’s flat-browed, unsustainable pro-logging individuals?

  15. Mike Seabrook

    February 7, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    and who is going to pay the insurance pemiums, especially after the insurance companies properly assess and price the risks ( was it $75,000 for one dump from a plane of suppressant?) . should sell off more lands to those who can properly manage the lands (who will pay rates to the councils and land tax?). and associated risks at lower costs than the crown.

  16. William Boeder

    February 7, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    MJF, I refer to your Feb 7th comment in response to spikey.
    I, like spikey, am on the side of fact recorded history, therefore I find it best to stay with the actual history of fact rather than how you describe it in your serendipitous fanciful and heavily compromised claims that are wholly inconsistent with Tasmania’s recorded historical fact.

    I cannot understand why you want to distance yourself from the recorded truth during your times as a forest industry advocate where you were employed as a designator of Native forests that were to be ultimately wood-chipped by the then disreputable though nowadays bankrupted Gunns Ltd.

  17. MjF

    February 7, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    “In my book stating that you are an “experienced fire practitioner” DOES claim that you are an expert. However the ONLY true experts are Indigenous Australians, those who have been kept quite out of the loop except in the NT where no wild bushfires occur because of their knowledge and practices.”

    What book’s that Mr Langfield ? Billy Gammage’s book of course, so its not your book at all is it ? The only source you can quote anything from. I imagine there’s very little print left in your copy.

    • Russell

      February 8, 2019 at 9:04 am

      My experiences living with Indigenous people, and personally seeing it in practice, is my book.

      You, on the other hand have no experience with Indigenous people and their on-going customs and practices, and you’ve NEVER been to the Northern Territory as proven by your ignorant claim earlier that they don’t have bushfires because they don’t have the vegetation. If you had such experience you’d know that as soon as you get over the SA/NT border it starts greening up, and it gets greener the further north you go. Google Northern Territory rainforests and educate yourself for a change.

      The difference between those rainforests in the NT and those in Tasmania is that they are all still intact in the NT.

  18. Keith Antonysen

    February 7, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Some years ago Chris Harries provided this reference in relation to fires escalating:


    Here’s a very recent commentary from fire fighters:


    Here’s a quote from the Examiner:

    “Firefighters Alliance director Vivien Thomson said emergency services workers and communities were being put in danger by extreme weather events.

    ‘The science has been clear for a very long time that climate change is making extreme weather worse, and this is exactly what emergency services workers have been seeing on the ground for some time now.’ Ms Thomson said.”

    Please check the quote to ensure I have not used the denier trick of changing a few words replicating the technique deniers use to change meaning.

    For a few years fire fighters have been making similar comments in California and Alaska.

  19. Rob Halton

    February 6, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Hopefully there wont be a blow up day between now and the end of the fire season when autumn rains eventually set in I cannot recall accurately the date of last recorded blow up day but from memory it was either early or around mid March some decades ago.
    Ted you may provide that information if you happen to have it at your finger tips!

    So the fire danger given the expanse of at least 200,000 ha of burnt ground over a wide range of vegetation types will remain at least until the end of March, it is highly unlikely the State will receive any drenching rains that is is a normal pattern for the State and has little or nothing to with climate changed patterns!

    If fire experts like Prof Bowman were really engaged with the current situation in Tasmania he would be more than welcome to attend a news program preferably on TV and give the public a rundown on these fires extending from Circular Head, the West Coast, the South West, Central Plateau down as far as the Huon Valley,
    I welcome his presence as to whether he even is in touch on a wider level of fire activity within the State is another matter but he should be making field visits and talking with a wide range of fire fighting crews from the various agencies in the field as well as those from the farming community if in fact he wishs to engage with the public at all!

    At this point in time I cannot see how Richard Flanagan can in anyway lift the spirits of those fighting the fires as the hard slog continues for at least the next 6-8 weeks. Would he visit the Geeveston fire station, he dare not!

    Richard is purely a novelist, great for the world of literature much the same as Prof Bowman is an academic in fire science both representing the Green brigade which will at the end of the day will have little impact on future fire management within the Tasmanian landscape.

    • max

      February 6, 2019 at 8:35 pm

      Rob … 200,000 hectares, that’s 3 % of the state burnt. The driest and hottest summer ever recorded and you come out with this utter drivel.

      Overall, despite the recent fires that are still burning, we need to continue to better our targets for regular and broad scale fuel reduction in order to improve our overall fire management future over and beyond the climate change lobby which will cry foul but is unlikely to come up with any practical solutions, or – broader scale mosaic burning across the State. FC often provided him the opportunity to expand his knowledge about the use of fire across the Tasmanian landscape.

      One ember can travel in excess of one kilometre in the extremely hot and dry conditions that we are now experiencing, and it can then start another fire. What earthly use is broader scale mosaic burning across the State?

      You practiced nasty and dangerous fuel reduction burns to cheaply clean up the clear fell devastation that FT used in their destruction of the forest industry. How many people that this practice of clear felling and fuel reduction burning and releasing of dangerous 2.5 particulates killed, we will never know, but we do know it contributed to global warming and the problem that we are now suffering and which is cost billions.

      Even the most brainwashed must be coming to the realisation that the days of fighting fire with fire in a world of climate change and dry parched lands were one spark can cause catastrophic fires, is outdated.

      Every fire, be it a wild fire or a fuel reduction burn, changes the structure of the land. It create areas of fire loving plants and exacerbates the dangers of future fires.

      The answer for future fire protection must start now .. and the old ways cannot be the new ways as they clearly no longer work.

      An instant response with a water bomber is a start, but fire loving plants such as eucalyptus plantations will have to be phased out. They are a fire bomb waiting to happen.

      • MjF

        February 7, 2019 at 12:28 pm

        Max … “You practiced nasty and dangerous fuel reduction burns to cheaply clean up the clear fell devastation that FT used in their destruction of the forest industry.”

        For the umpteenth time, fuel reduction burning is not regeneration burning. You continuously blunder down this path of confusing the two terms. FYI :

        1) Regeneration burning is hot torching of all the woody debris left behind from clear-fell and aggregate retention logging on specific coupes. It is typically evidenced by the much admired convection columns around autumn.

        2) Fuel reduction burning is the low intensity burning of typically larger areas of uncut native forest to reduce build up of flammable fuels which would otherwise fuel a wildfire situation in the future. Can be very smoky and results debatable. Lit in the cooler, calmer months of the year (not summer). A prevention measure.

        Here’s another one:

        3) Top disposal burning is a cool burn that removes light woody debris from selectively logged coupes without damaging the retained trees. Usually the lighter fuels are mechanically heaped for better fire control and needs to be lit within a limited window.

        If I’ve overlooked any vital points of difference, Mr Halton will be able to fill in the gaps, thanks.

        • max

          February 7, 2019 at 7:42 pm

          MJF … Lets play semantics.

          Regeneration burns are not fuel reduction burns. Regeneration burning is hot torching of all the woody debris left behind from clear-fell and aggregate retention logging on specific coupes. It is typically evidenced by the much admired convection columns around autumn, the plumes that rise in the day and settle of a night onto towns, cities and the countryside inflicting health destroying 2.5 particulates on locals and tourists and contributing to global warming.

          Fuel reduction burning is the low intensity burning of typically larger areas of uncut native forest to reduce build up of flammable fuels which would otherwise fuel a wildfire situation. It can be very smoky and the results are debatable. They are lit in the cooler, calmer months of the year. A prevention measure. They can be very very smokey and settle of a night into towns, cities and the country side, inflicting health destroying 2.5 particulates on locals and tourists and contribute to global warming.

          What is aggregate retention other than a mosaic area of burn ground after clear felling and burning? Rob advocates mosaic fuel reduction burns that mimic regeneration burns.

          Mr Halton has repeatedly said that we must have regeneration burns, or the dry debris from clear felling will be fuel for bush fires unless reduced.

          As I said at the start, lets play your stupid semantics. Such quibbling over semantics is petty stuff.

          As I said to your Mr Halton, we are in the new world of climate change. We can no longer blunder along as we did in the past. To do so will exacerbate the fires in the new hotter climate.

          FYI … I do know there is no real difference between regeneration burns and fuel reduction burns. They are both creating health-destroying smoke and the regrowth of highly inflammable plants, and they are both Stone Age practices that have no place in a modern world.

          • Mark Poynter

            February 8, 2019 at 11:07 am

            Oh dear Max, what is the point in even discussing this topic when confronted with your belligerent brand of ignorance? I will bravely make just a couple of points:

            “Rob advocates mosaic fuel reduction burns that mimic regeneration burns”

            Well no, he doesn’t actually, because FRB does not mimic regeneration burning as MJF has patiently explained. The descriptive term ‘mosaic’ is applied to FRBs because typically, when conducted under optimal conditions of calm weather and fuel moisture content, they create a mosaic pattern of burnt dry fuels interspersed with unburnt slightly damper fuels burns, such as in gullies for example.

            “As I said to your Mr Halton, we are in the new world of climate change. We can no longer blunder along as we did in the past”.

            OK. If we are going to get hotter and drier summers with more blow-up days, the importance of reducing fuels in the off-season becomes even more important than it already is. That means more fuel reduction burning and mechanical fuel treatment is needed than is currently being done. To do even less or none (as it seems you and the prevailing TT group-think seem to be advocating) will only make catastrophic summer bushfire outcomes even more likely .. which is completely at odds with your collective self-image as conservationists.

          • MJF

            February 8, 2019 at 11:52 am

            Dear max, its not a question of semantics.

            There are correct and incorrect labels and phrases to use. You historically cannot decipher one from the other. If you want to be taken seriously then gain a proper understanding and use of fire phraseology at the very least.

            “Rob advocates mosaic fuel reduction burns that mimic regeneration burns.”

            No he doesn’t, because he knows a fuel reduction burn is significantly different to a regeneration burn. You, on the other hand, refuse to acknowledge the differences on the basis of semantics.

            You have a lot to learn, Max. Your simplistic arguments based on mixed up, jumbled and incorrect terminology has no place here.

    • William Boeder

      February 8, 2019 at 8:52 pm

      Robin, will the $2,000,000 gifted to STT per annum to carry out fuel reduction burns be a plus for Tasmania’s rural communities, or do you believe that STT will simply pocket these monies to add to their end of year bottom line, given the volume of Tasmania’s forests already 2019 lost to Bushfiires?

      A visit to and a read through the 2017-18 Annual Report disclosed the annual volume of monies generated and or received from all their usual annual sources happened to be just over a $100,000,000 during the period of the above report. see page 48 in this link:


      Employee Related Expenses (e) happened to be just above $51 million dollars for that reporting year – page 66.
      Given this annual report and its stated income there is room among the many millions for far more ready use purchases to deal with immediate fire extinguishment eg; water bombing aircraft – to deal with all future fire outbreaks in this State’s WHA National Park.

      It is suggested that the immediate non-attendance to the Gell River bushfire outbreak for some 5-6 days had greatly added to the difficulty of the TFS possibly being able to effectively contain then extinguish this initial fire that had increased quite rapidly and continued to burn out of control ultimately consuming some 150 odd thousand additional hectares in lieu of immediate.

      It is further suggested that the tardy attendance both in time and effective use of resources by the TFS HQ personnel, directly and effectively, may have well have contributed to the volume area burnt as a result of this presumed to be lightning strike ignited fire.

      Whether this concern will be a feature of the post mortem fire evaluation report, remains to be seen.

      Then the citizens of Tasmania will have to wait and see if the report will be made available for public examination.

      I am yet to receive any response to my 2 email letters to the TFS HQ regarding the use of the Rosebery mine-tailings dam leaching waters as the major filling station for the fire fighting helicopters in combating the Mid West Coast during this fire season.

      A consideration to the use of the Pieman River broad stretch waters has been offered as a far more environmentally appropriate resource rather than a reliance on contaminated heavy metal waste waters as future filling stations.

      The use of and volume of toxic chemical fire retardants (if used) in the WHA fire is unknown at present. One will need to question the future use (if any, or previously discharged) will occur in the WHA unburned areas in the foreseeable future, given the hugely toxic effect on the ancient species flora throughout the entirety of Tasmania’s WHA.

      Please understand that there have and will not be any criticisms toward the many brave volunteer firefighters that give their utmost whenever bushfires threaten Tasmania, by my incisive evaluated comments.

      My personal thanks is genuinely and respectfully given to all of Tasmania’s volunteer firefighting champions.

    • Clive Stott

      February 9, 2019 at 2:35 am

      So then Rob Halton, who or what will, at the end of the day, have an impact on future fire management within the Tasmanian landscape?

      Hint: Max just told you Feb 6, 8:35pm.
      MJF: you might also like to comment.

      Hint: I have said before you can’t put fire into boxes just with different names to justify any form of pyromania in our changed conditions. They all create smoke and are injurious to health and the environment, and they all contribute to climate change and they all should all be snuffed out as soon as they start.

  20. Rob Halton

    February 6, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Ted, I would be hopeful that Prof Bowman would take on board some of JMS’s advice, the difference is that JMS is a field fire practitioner having a grasp on forestry’s various fire management practices, to the best of my knowledge I have seen no evidence that Prof Bowman actually participates in varied field exercises in vegetation fire management.

    I think that he has a certain bias towards forestry and therefore he fails to engage in overall vegetation fire management practices throughout the State.

    Of cause I will give Prof Bowman some leeway as he may be an excellent academic who sees himself as an expert by self promotion to suit a particular level of environmental outcomes but its the same old story for Tasmania, the State requires an overall picture of better vegetation fire management as much as possible to suit the varied outcomes whether it be for Reserves, Production forests, Rural areas, towns with a mix of agricultural land and bush or around the urban fringes like the expansive greater Hobart area especially the fire sensitive interface around the city of Hobart.

    Overall despite the recent fires that are still burning we need to continue to better our targets for regular and broad scale fuel reduction in order to improve our overall fire management future over and beyond the climate changing lobby who will cry foul but are unlikely to come up with ant practical solutions.

  21. Russell

    February 6, 2019 at 11:26 am

    All Morrison could say in his FIFO visit was “Please visit Tasmania, don’t let the fires scare you off, Tasmanian’s still here and they need your tourist dollars.”

    The media is pathetic and wimpish in not asking the OBVIOUS questions or demanding answers as to why Morrison, Hodgman and Ferguson had done NOTHING about stopping the fires.

    Don’t mention that those places that tourists actually come to see are now being destroyed by fire, while YOU Morrison, and the useless gimps Hodgman and Ferguson, fail to bring in large water bombing aircraft in a timely manner to battle the fire fronts properly and save our iconic places that the tourists come to see.

    These people are CRIMINALS and they should be seen and treated no less than firebugs.

    • William Boeder

      February 6, 2019 at 2:28 pm

      My comment here may cover a number of factors, while I believe each is relevant to the dislike by this State government to have the State’s citizens kept wholly unaware of all this State government’s business dealings locked into some sort of secrecy where no secrecy should be permitted to exist.
      One wonders what both the Federal and State government response will be against the contentions held in this Richard Flanagan assessment.
      Given that this matter refers to a large portion of the WHA National Park forests and peatlands, initially ignored bushfire, in Tasmania’s Heritage-listed National Park, that has been noticably neglected, thereby openingup the forbidding prospect that could create a situation that a high proportional amount of the ancient flora currently recorded to be growing there within, is simply being consigned to death, this being due to the often imprudent decisions emanating from within this State’s government and a small number of its GBE’s.
      A lot of the WHA neglect has arisen from within the minds of the Liberal government advisory persons and ultra expensive consultancy reports, as one must realize that the State ministers in the leadership role are unable to recognize the difference between their essential and non essential policies and procedures, hence the resultant outcomes of this foolish action does not bode well for the Tasmania’s WHA National Park, nor the people of Tasmania.
      I rate the credibility of Richard Flanagan is far far far higher above the likes of the Liberal party propaganda machine, even more-so when considering one particularly irritating person bearing the name of Senator Erich Abetz.
      An interesting comparison between these 2 persons is that the Richard Flanagan history is based on the integrity of his published works and personal interests that are also the interests of a great many people in this State.
      Now we place Senator Eric Abetz under the same spotlight and that which is thereby revealed happens to be a zero amount of integrity laying below the dark stained effluvium of an inumerable amount of false facts, deceptive undertakings, as well as a goodly number of unprintable encounters with a timber industry with its headquarters located outside of Australia.
      I say unprintable on the basis that the Abetz encounters and ot liaisons in both Sarawak itself and of these liaisons with the Taib Mahmud Dynasty that was to involve Hydro Tasmania in times earlier, relating to the consultancy work that had been undertaken by one of its subsidiary business entities to provide a report on the underlay of infrastructure that consisted of a series of Hydro-power-generation dams planned for construction in that State.
      Though the matter of the anti-human rights activities notwithstanding, the depradations throughout Sarawak that had resulted from the Taib Mahmud deforestation excesses, had precipitated a new series of projects in Sarawak being the construction of an estimated 30 plus Hydro power electricity generation dams.
      An important consideration at that particular time was the lack of indifference or any real concerns by the Hydro Tasmania affiliates and or their subsidiary business partners, as they had undertaken to fulfill contracts signed on behalf of the directors of Hydro Tasmania, the parent entity of the subsidiary comapanies were soon committed to engage with the huge corrupted Taib Mahmud Dynasty dam building projects across the deforested realms of the State of Sarawak.
      To be continued/

    • William Boeder

      February 6, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      The below report lists the subsidiary and or partnership entities that are maintained by Hydro Tasmania with Hydro Tasmania being their parent body.


      The 2nd link reveals the product of the Senator Erich Abetz liaisons with the corrupted regime of the Taib Mahmud Dynasty in Sarawak, during whatever number of visits that he or his delegated others had undertaken to meet with the principals of Taib Mahmud’s corrupted regent, or be he a minister of some kind representing the State of Sarawak.


      I believe the people of Tasmania have the right to know what the State of Tasmania government engages in such as these types of overseas construction projects, despite the negative prohibitions held by this State’s so-called political elites.
      Given the history of Ta Ann’s conspired entry into Tasmania, then the concessions reinforced by the alteration of or additions to the statutes that then in an improper manner become binding, woe be the outcomes that will flow onto the people in this State,.
      There is a history of Tasmania’s mainstram media news sources that demonstrates these news sources are not at all forthcoming in providing a full acount of whatever this State government has inclined itself to engage in.
      The above commentary depicts another example of the nil attendance to the democratic process of this current Liberal party government in leadership, and its chosen strategy of non-representative leadership toward the citizens in this State of Tasmania.

  22. Rob Halton

    February 6, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Anyone with an eye for the varied Tasmanian landscape should know that there is virtually nothing Flanagan can do except threaten us with climate change antics to attract the vulnerable publicd to fall into line with what I regard as a failing Green mythology with overall fire management expectations across Tasmania

    I class myself as an experienced fire practitioner a forest officer with the former Forestry Commission I had many opportunities to openly conduct wide scale shoulder seasonal both ground based and aerial fuel reduction of broad areas of unallocated Crown Land and State Forest scrub and buttongrass.
    This was often done in conjunction with the Fire Service acting for community protection and Parks who were often reluctant to react as their inner circle was always subject to Green political interference.

    In more recent times the raving of Professor Bowman the supposed Fire Expert at UTAS is a disaster who fails to actually contribute any decent practical measures to reduce the effects of wild fire on the community, in my opinion he is a stooge representing Green politics and not offering much in the way of resolution for community fire protection measures across the State.

    The only professional fire practitioner outside of forestry at the time who would have made the necessary changes to protect the Tasmanian landscape from the effects of wildfire was Jon Marsden-Smedley as Manager for the WHA who actually had both a practical and scientific approach and experience for conducting broader scale mosaic burning across the State. FC often provided him the opportunity to expand his knowledge about the use of fire across the Tasmanian landscape.

    I personally knew the man well and provided him to attend our burning venues our shared field knowledge remains as an invaluable contribution to fire protection for reserves, forests and community alike.

    It was Peg Putt as a Green leader in our Parliament who complained about JMS’s actions as an extensive fuel reduction burn near Mt Rugby at Bathurst Harbour, I cant recall the exact date during the time of the Bacon government , was prevented from carrying out any further burns within the WHA.

    Combined with the cessation of broad scale burning within the WHA more than 25 years ago and more recently extensive extensions to the WHA via the Tasmanian Forest Agreement legislation 2013, the reduction of Forestry numbers instead giving greater powers to the Fire Service who still lack sufficient bush experience dealing with the complex nature of vegetation fires points to future wildfire disasters within our Forests and Reserves well beyond the 2018-19 fire season.

    I am expecting that the politics among the Fire agencies wont change but it will probably be the farming community through the TFGA along with local government active in country areas who may be able to force some necessary changes, at the very least better protect rural communities.

    • Ted Mead

      February 6, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Oh dear Robin, you must have been inhaling too much of your beloved smoke particles in the last few weeks as you seem to have become asphyxiated and excited with your own pyromaniacal dreams!

      Last year I listened to JMS and David Bowman on an ABC radio forum about fire and its ecological management in Western Tasmania. I may not agree with them on all points, but together they seemed joined at the hip about sound management procedures, so how can you now place them poles apart?

      I probably don’t need to go into detail about the countless escaped fuel reduction, hazard, management and wildfire back-burns the state’s various so-called fire experts have failed to contain, so I don’t consider any of what they say to be gospel truths or facts.

      With increased SDIs through lack of regular rain, any fire management practices will have to be thoroughly reviewed, or the above incidents will constantly prevail.

      Claiming you are an expert without having any formal modern education on the subject, and in having previously worked for the doyens of pyromania FT, you can’t expect anyone to accept anything you prattle on about as being sound ecological advice.

      So far we have had fires on over 200,00 hectares of Tasmania this summer. That equates to near 3% of the island’s land mass, which is exactly the amount of the Liberals pyro fuel reduction policy. I don’t imagine many in Tasmania at the moment would claim this is an acceptable level.

      In putting fire management into the hands of the TFGA one can only expect more uncontrolled wildfires and ecological disasters!

      • MjF

        February 6, 2019 at 1:11 pm

        Mr Mead,

        Mr Halton states “I class myself as an experienced fire practitioner”. He does not say he is “an expert” as you claim. You should admit this fundamental error.

        I think he was also inferring that the TFGA could bring some pressure to bear in aligning fire agencies, but not taking on fire management itself.

        • spikey

          February 6, 2019 at 9:37 pm

          Burn baby, burn! Halton speaks for himself. He’s certainly been consistent on that, up until now, as well as consistently belittling anyone who may be suffering from smoke inhalation.

          I think he’s inferring that Forestry has made Tasmania more flammable by insisting that clearfell-and-burn was world’s best practice, along with notoriously flammable monoculture plantations.

          This has all been said before, and ignored, because of fascist science, forestry science.

          It’s not funny because it’s so absolutely true.

          Select harvest would have retained more moisture and fire resistant mixed species that assist in slowing fire spread.

          How about them apples?

          • Russell

            February 7, 2019 at 9:01 am

            Spikey’s memory is spot on. Rob Halton has shouted his warcry on several occasions. In my book stating that you are an “experienced fire practitioner” DOES claim that you are an expert. However the ONLY true experts are Indigenous Australians, those who have been kept quite out of the loop except in the NT where no wild bushfires occur because of their knowledge and practices.

            The MAIN reason why many parts of Australia, and other countries, have become more wildfire prone is because of the stupidity of the forest industry with its dense plantations of exotics which DON’T belong in those places and which have replaced the endemic fire-resistant species.

          • MJF

            February 7, 2019 at 2:33 pm

            Mr Spike,

            More fascists and apples please. On the contrary I think you’re hilarious.

    • William Boeder

      February 6, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      Robin, you fail to mention that Tasmania’s WHA flora is not a regeneration reality, as the flora within the WHA is not accustomed to or even gentically programmed to regenerate their special ancient kind to flourish after being razed by unattended or even ignored bushfires within this Gondwanaland World-Heritage Listed Australian National Park.

  23. Jack

    February 6, 2019 at 5:21 am

    Alone, the vast majority of politicians are not intellectually capable of the required leadership and governance in such issues, nor is this their motivation or intention. It is not what our present system of representative government allows for, and we are foolish not to see this.

    The main issue is .. who does our representative government actually represent?

    Frustration with people like Morrison is pointless. Politics is presently a means by which to prevent evidence-based governance ruining it all for those who want the rules changed to benefit themselves.

    Our system reflects vested interests and filters out those who don’t like that. Parties select the candidates and the vested interests who make money from the status quo. They determine who will be elected, not us.


    In Australia also it is the power to select candidates that is the true nature of our system. It only works if enough voters are ill informed enough to believe that a party duopoly is “democracy”. All this waffle about ‘stability’ in parliament via a rubber stamping monopoly is a self-serving lie.

    But there are lots of lies .. and it is not hyperbole to call it for what it is. For instance, when politician/Ministers say “My decision” it is almost always a lie. When they say “My policy” it is a lie.

    The vast majority of decisions and policies come from one of two places: 1: the public sector, or 2: the vested interests who funded the party candidates who write policy (ie, lobby groups and Think Tanks etc).

    Gut the public sector and you can guess who now makes the decisions for the Minister .. one who can be any idiot, and most often is.

    The media goes along with the lie because it too, is captured by ‘access’ regulated by unelected gatekeepers, namely Ministerial advisors. As the media is about selling stuff (marketing, advertising and propaganda) it assists the same vested interests who pay for the candidates.

    And how can the media admit that its bread and butter of political reporting is a sham? It doesn’t. To them it is grand and important .. and they have a seat in the press gallery! They pen drivel and impress themselves mightily .. and give themselves awards for doing so.

    In reality, the lack of independent thought, education and intellect from most politicians, and journalists, is staggering. Truly, spend any time with either group and it strikes you that perhaps only 25% have some intellect and insight. Much fewer have the sort of capacity for leadership that we seem to expect is the nature of politics – and it is not.

    The ALP has very similar policies to the LNP. There are some small areas of difference, but they are both essentially projects of neoliberalism stacked by vested interests. There is no big difference in grand narrative and vision. Neither can rock the boat too much.

    So we wait, like in a cargo cult, for the great leader to vote for inside one of two hopelessly corrupted parties that have no intention of delivering democracy with a system that selects on the basis of personal ambition and ego.

    We wait for our extinction as we watch the puppet show .. as if Punch and Judy will put it all right just as soon as they get their act together for the sake of the baby.

    • max

      February 6, 2019 at 8:43 am

      Thanks Jack, for your in-depth insight into our failed political system.

    • Simon Warriner

      February 6, 2019 at 8:53 am

      Exactly, Jack. The only way to fix this is to avoid party politics candidates altogether.

    • Ted Mead

      February 6, 2019 at 10:21 am

      Thanks Jack. While your clear dissection of our dysfunctional political system probably hasn’t enlightened many TT readers beyond what they generally comprehend, I applaud you for putting it out there in digestible sentences.

      The system isn’t broken because it never really worked in the first place.

      Whilst we cling on to structural party-based Westminster governance that has a dearth of liberty, then we have little hope for progressive change.

      Independent representation that is uninfluenced by corporate interests, and the prohibition of all political donations, would be the first step as a means to crawl out of the political mire that has evolved before us!

    • spikey

      February 9, 2019 at 7:54 pm

      Jack’s description sounds like my own take on these matters.
      Anyone who thinks the LibLabs aren’t compromised by the same powerful corporate interests would have to be fairly deluded.

      The recent Lab ‘flip’ on pokies is nothing new. Their dismal strategy to get a better deal for Tasmanians was in my opinion likely orchestrated by the peeps with most to gain who have been buying both sides of government for years.

      If pokies were the worst of our problems, it would still be unacceptable to anybody representing voters, but we are also owned by petro-chemical interests, and the foreign producers of war.


      Yes indeed Spikey, you anticipated correctly. Your (oh, so naughty) subsequent expressions of outrage did not pass the Moderator. He knows what TT’s Code of Conduct forbids.


      — Moderator

  24. Emmanuel Goldstein

    February 6, 2019 at 1:16 am

    Over seven billion humans of different races and creeds walk this finite spinning earth, and just about all of them seek a western lifestyle with all the energy and resource use that entails.

    The Red Communist Chinese alone are akin to a plague of locust devouring everything in its path. We are on deeply rutted tracks of consumer capitalism that must grow exponentially to keep the wheels of ‘business as usual’ spinning profits into greed-head pockets.

    If the most likely indicator of future direction is the historical record, then we are doomed. Face it, it is only a matter of time.


  25. Brenda Rosser

    February 6, 2019 at 12:05 am

    Thankyou Mr Flanagan, for your helpful article.

    I have written to the Tasmanian Planning Commission and other entities (Tasmanian Times included) about the incredible danger that people in the North West rural hinterland now face with the dangerous combination of rapid climate change and industrial tree plantations placed 50 metres (and less) away from existing rural dwellings. Our successive Governments have not been willing to ensure that adequate steps are taken to protect these people. In fact, I’m not aware of any action taken at all.

    I am one of these vulnerable people, along with my family and neighbours. Fire is indeed a daily topic of thought and conversation and planning. A bunker is currently under construction. A roof sprinkler system has been installed. Gaps around openings in the external walls are being steadily sealed. and fire-prone vegetation is being managed.

    My family has a long way to go yet, and the process is time-consuming and expensive. I fear that there will not be enough time or resources for our communities to avoid a catastrophe sometime in the near future.

  26. Emma Hawkins

    February 5, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Richard, my father John Hawkins is correct.

    The future is looking as bleak and black as the Coal being carried by the likes of Morrison …

    • William Boeder

      February 6, 2019 at 10:32 pm

      Emma Hawkins … I’m pleased to see that you have arrived on board the good ship Tasmanian Times. In the minds of many in Tasmania your father is well considered as a legend in his own time.

      This is a fact that few will dare to challenge if they are good and honest people.

  27. Maureen Austin

    February 5, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Thankyou, Richard. I worked in OH&S in Victoria and knew the man at National Safety Council well.

    I think it is time for the third force (that does not mean the Greens). Maybe in Tasmania we could to raise the United Tasmania stakes again. Where (the bloody hell) are you Geoff Holloway?

    i think the time is now – let’s stop offering opinion and get on with it …

  28. mike seabrook

    February 5, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Build more dams .. for inexpensive, reliable, renewable hydro electricity .. and also to assist with fire management.

    In the case of Huonville they could flood proof the main street if a hydro/recreational/fishing/tourism/flood management/fire-management (etc) dam was built on the lower Huon river.

    • Russell

      February 6, 2019 at 11:01 am

      Firstly, the dam built above Townsville and Ingham didn’t flood-proof those cities so stupidly built on the flood plains, in fact it EXACERBATED the problem. How can they let the dam get to over 200% capacity? How could they not see or understand what the weather forecasters had predicted was going to happen up to a week beforehand? It is the monsoon season up there!

      Building more dams won’t fix our environment, especially in Tasmania, in the way you suggest. In fact it will make things worse with less tree coverage which means more CO2 in the atmosphere.

      Building dams doesn’t lessen the higher and drier temperature fire risks associated with Climate Change due to deforestation. Did the Great Lakes body of water save the environment surrounding it? No.

      Building dams prevents people, and especially the businesses of the world, from doing something about changing their wasteful, all-consuming habits. The answer is compulsory rooftop solar, proper building insulation, the cessation of deforestation, and stopping the wasteful global consumerisation of producing absolute crap.

  29. Jimmy

    February 5, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Can we get this article on main stream media. (Slim chance, I despair)

    The whole country needs to read it, if not the whole world.
    It’s the most succinct and truthful thing I have read on climate change, and very much understandable to the everyday person.

    Aim network and Independent Australia readers will put it all over social media which will help to rid us of these low life lnp/ipa scumbags.

    Great article.


    Jimmy, don’t despair. Try: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/05/tasmania-is-burning-the-climate-disaster-future-has-arrived-while-those-in-power-laugh-at-us


  30. Keith Antonysen

    February 5, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you, Richard. What a powerful and passionate article!

  31. John Hawkins

    February 5, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Richard, you are a great writer with a gift of which we are all in awe.


  32. Ted Mead

    February 5, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks Richard, for articulating the present scenario as it very much is.

    I’m sure your intent is not to instil fear in us all, but to shake awareness into the minds that need to comprehend what a foolish and blinkered trajectory Australians are taking, and the dire disposition we have imposed upon ourselves.

    Unless we act urgently we can all but sit and watch our quality of life, and the world’s biodiversity, vanish before our eyes.

    Even if we act immediately we are yet to see the full brunt of what chronic changes to the planet’s landscape will occur over the next few decades.

    So will this forthcoming election be fought over the trivial values of franking credits, or the ominous signals of dire climate change ramifications? Given human nature my bet is on the former.

    Will we see youth continue to plea for global warming mitigation?

    Who will make stand at the next federal election on such a pressing issue? You, me, or some of our inspiring youth that have to dwell in the future resulting from the mess this present generation has created?

    Unquestionably, climate change will be the means of reducing the world’s overpopulation, though this will unfortunately happen through extreme famines and a catastrophic loss of all living things, as well as the Earth’s biodiversity. That doesn’t sound like a world I want to live in.

    I probably won’t be around long enough to experience the worst of it, although it seems probable I will witness the decimation of Tasmania’s extraordinary natural paradise in my lifetime.

    It seems the human gene is programmed to self destruct, and the current dark-age politics of Australia attests to this theory!

  33. Pete Godfrey

    February 5, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for the article Richard. It is a little remiss of ScoMo to forget to bring his lump of coal to show Tasmanians.

    Hopefully he will soon slide into political oblivion with the rest of the gambling, banking and mining lobby that pass themselves off as the Liberal Party.

  34. Treeger

    February 5, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    The tenth degree of humility is, that he be not easily moved and prompt to laughter; because it is written: “The fool lifteth up his voice in laughter.”


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