We really do need an independent inquiry into the Huon Valley bushfires, as called for by Labor and the Huon Valley Residents & Ratepayers Assoc. (HVRRA).
While we may have “dodged a bullet”, in avoiding a repeat of the disastrous 1967 fires, there was still millions of dollars in damage caused, and the fires are in fact still burning, and could again become a threat to our community.
Huge areas of forest including parts of the World Heritage Area were destroyed, thousands of native animals were killed, some houses were lost, and major damage caused to the economy of the Huon Valley.
Our volunteer fire fighters did an amazing job, assisted by crews from interstate and overseas, but in the end it seems that the weather was kind and allowed the fires to be mostly contained, and not allowed to spread across the Huon River.
We need an inquiry to determine if the initial responses to the fires was adequate, and timely enough to stop the spread of the dry lightning strikes in the forest ?
Could the initial response have been handled better, and could additional resources at the start, have better contained the outbreaks ?
Are we adequately equipped to handle future fires in remote areas ?
Does Sustainable Timber Tasmania (Forestry), still have enough fire fighting crews and equipment to carry out fast response actions for future outbreaks ?
Do we need to invest in additional manpower, organisations and equipment to be better prepared for similar outbreaks the next time they happen ?
Have we learned the lessons of past outbreaks , and adopted all of the recommendations of the inquiries into those fires ?
Our Government and the community all need to learn from past experience, to ensure we are better prepared for the expected extreme weather events in future.