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The Forum > Article Comments > Anatomy of a firestorm > Comments

Anatomy of a firestorm : Comments

By William Kininmonth, published 27/2/2009

Victoria's climate has long set the scene for annual danger. Examining history shows how these threats have erupted catastrophically.

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Thanks for posting , necessary for complete understanding .
What is needed now is : What can be done to thwart the fire intensity ?
Afaik the only positive is HAZARD REDUCTION , AS RECOMMENDED BY ALL THE ROYAL COMMISSIONS. The only positive from the 5 R/C's no one acts on R/C'c . We could save about 4 Million not having another one , we need to heed what was learnt earlier .
We urgently need to get rid of all the fanatical thugs employed by the Gov't to control Forrest's , National Parks . Two issues are working against any sanity in Fire Control , One is the virulent hatred of Country People , people who have been kicked out of the Forrest's Nat Parks where their families have holidayed since 1888 .
Can you imagine the riot and Political indignation if these Thugs behaved the same way on Melbourne Beaches .
The other issue is people harboring bad feelings towards these Thugs . They might be tempted towards some illicit backburning , something we can do without .
Forrest's have been turned into National Parks , no logging or Cattle are allowed , Only Fanatics who treat our Country People like dirt .
The Thugs treat our Forrest's badly too , they are totally ignorant of the ecology of a Forrest , A classic is Barmah , take a visit decide for yourself , take a book with you called , 'A Rivermans Story' by E.M.'Mick' Kelsall ISBN 0 85091 247 4 In this book you will learn about a working RedGum Forrest unlike the fiasco it is now . Figure out for yourself why the Forrest looks so bad , check out the Steel Posts (100 x 100 RHS)concreted in the ground filled with concrete , adjoined by heavy chain , grotesque Adolf invention reflects the Thugs attitude to people who have camped there since the 1880's , these barriers fence off the only high ground on the river . Do you really expect the Thugs to allow Back burning and thinning .
Posted by ShazBaz001, Saturday, 28 February 2009 4:36:07 PM
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Your constant reference to “fanatics and thugs” does you no credit. There are wanton extremists at either end. Your post is overwhelmed by emotion based on your lack of understanding of the science involved.
There is much that should be done but that requires money (lots). Ultimately the issue comes down to cost benefit as determined by the public who elect governments. The old ways aren’t necessarily the best circumstances and knowledge change.

Your piece is fascinating but unlike Stewart Franks (Unleashed) who offered similar detail added the focus that regardless of AGW we should have a more thought through proactive defence/mitigation approach.

Like his your article doesn’t explain the big picture/consequences i.e. melting land locked glaciers, melting ice shelves, extinctions, poisoned environments up to our wahzoo etc. Many of these observations are 1 in a geological era events.
While I distrust current methodologies (currently lack of understanding in mechanisms at play…modelling) it strikes me as wanton naivety to deny the clear observable facts.

A bit like the man falling from the empire state building as he passed by he was heard saying “where’s the problem? “. I would suggest it’s not the fall … It’s the sudden stop! Simply a focus change.

Any scientist will tell you Chaos Theory aside, that in any limited environment every action has consequences. The world is a ‘limited’ environment.
Fact: Never in recent geological periods has one species been able to effect so much change on the earth its self.

A better response was by global scientists was on ‘7.30 report’ where two of the leading scientists agreed that to attribute (or presumably deny) a single event to AGW (more precisely Global Climate Change) was unreasonable. They postulated that the most likely scenario is the statistical shortening of time and intensifying between catastrophic weather events.

Your article doesn’t disprove this or explain the big picture.

In reality those who are sceptical of GW are correct in doing so but “business as usual” which some will misinterpret your article as advocating are dangerously myopic.
Posted by examinator, Sunday, 1 March 2009 1:08:24 PM
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Thanks Examiner , You are right agreed .
Your post I found difficult to read , do you think in German and write in English ?
Some of the happenings in National Parks are beyond explanation .
Take for example the Nyah Murray River Forrest the "Forrest People" have outlawed grazing , now the ecology is full of escapee vegetation that I have never seen before . I guess they will either spray it with herbicides or return to grazing .

Once again the "Forrest People" have ripped out all the fire Places and attached lean too's which have been there since 1944 heaps of Country people and some City people used to congregate around these fireplaces Easter and Xmas , not any more "Forrest People" don't like Country People in "Their Forrest".

Another example Gunbower Forrest . This family has been Holidaying at this location for 20 yrs , so they did what they normally did , set up their camp , gathered some wood , set their lines , laid back on their camp chairs and cracked a tinnie !! Suddenly the tranquility is shattered , a four wheel drive , out jumps two "Forestry People" , You can't camp here ! It's outlawed break camp immediately , looking at the kids "Where did you get that wood !" we picked it up around here , "Pick it up and take it back were you got it from" .

Examiner this is happening in our Country ?
Posted by ShazBaz001, Sunday, 1 March 2009 5:13:17 PM
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Sorry about the style, I'll try to do better.

I sort of know the area as I've been there camping myself years ago. The local pub used to have an enormous stuffed Cod on the wall then.

Since then there has been a number of sad changes the major one is the regular flooding which:
• Renewed the soil nutrients.
• Watered the River Red Gums
• Flooding drowned the weeds brought in by cattle and people also spreading the weeds down stream in some cases 100’s Ks
• Generally helped to thin the undergrowth.
• This inturn meant fires were spaced further enough apart for the forest’s health and were ‘cold’ and helped.

That gone the result was too many weed species and the only nutrients left were the rotting wood. This by the way is food for the organisms necessary to turn the wood into nutriments. Additionally large pieces provide shelter for native animals.

Let’s be serious not every one that camped there either cleaned up or was a full quid with a skin full.
On one visit there I saw some idiots with guns shooting ‘tweety birds’ to watch them explode.
There was some other hoons racing their old style 4wd doing all sorts of damage. I guess the decision by the forestry people was to deal with the lowest common denominator. ‘One out all out’ as it is too expensive to control. The local police told me that this was not unusual and they have to catch them in the act to do anything.

The govt still cash strapped can’t afford to do what it should so it’s a compromise.
In reality their best option was to close the park and manage the fire risk.
Not nearly enough money and drought put paid to that. In truth it primarily needs 3 things.
• Enough natural flooding to reinstate the natural balance.
• Money to maintain and manage it
• Appropriate building regs for near environs.
Tragically none of this is politically possible. Hence we have a poor compromise but there is no other viable option.
Posted by examinator, Monday, 2 March 2009 9:58:45 AM
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In the wake of the Victorian bushfires (or unfortunately, not the wake, seeing we are again fearful of weather conditions)it is disappointing to see ideological viewpoints guiding peoples' reactions and proposals for future management.

For instance, the debate about fire prevention regimes is just one of the discussions to be had, but this seems to have been whittled down to controlled burning versus wildfire, as though this is the only option available to hinder catastrophic wildfire.

This implies that, if the forests weren’t nearby, human settlements wouldn’t burn.

Further, if so many people didn’t live in and near forests, their lives and houses wouldn’t be threatened. Living near and in the bush is a unique Australian experience. Governments and communities have a vested interest in ensuring that bush-dwellers are aware of the realities involved, not of thwarting this option.

The issues are complex and start by seeing ourselves as part of the environment we are changing.

Passing attention has been given to the connection between climate change and increased wildfire, but the positive role that trees and other native vegetation, including forests, play in sequestration of carbon and tempering local climates hasn’t been explored.

Accepting the reality that fire is a regular feature of south-eastern Australia’s genesis and future reminds us that, like the rest of terrestrial nature, we are subject to the forces of the atmosphere, so out of our control, but not, as the evidence of climate change shows us, our reach.

The focus on controlled burning divides experts and interested people just when they should be preparing for a future which will be more of the same, only more so. The problems in front of us, our children and, hopefully, future generations, are the complex result of social, ecological, economic and political factors. Tackling them is a huge job, involving better knowledge, collaboration and constructive conflict, and won’t be furthered by narrow agendas.
Posted by DebF, Monday, 2 March 2009 11:14:14 AM
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DebF , If you listen to Aboriginal folklore , Burning is a Forrest management tool eg; safety , and well conditioned Roo's grasses will not grow under a canopy of shrubbery and the RedGum requires it's seed to be lightly burnt to germinate . Redgum must always be thinned if you want healthy trees , this can be seen in the Barmah Forrest where masses of trees are either dieing or dead , nothing to do with Global Warming just too many trees for the available water .

Forget wildfire for a second , if the weight of litter that is in most of the Forrest's at this time was to burn on a 45 Deg day Healthy trees would be severely damaged and most would die .

There will always be people in Forrest's , The Murray is the Country peoples Riviera . Lorne or St Kilda is a long journey from Swan Hill on a 45 Deg Day .

Kinglake , an idyllic Country Town , some of the houses would probably be 100 plus years ? Is it a sawmill Timber Town ? I have been there and I remember it's beauty in my mind . Is it a suitable place for Humans to live , if in your mind it isn't , then I would ask you to consider Lilydale do you consider Lilydale impervious to wildfire ?

DebF your first paragraph is a bit awkward , are you saying there should be no control over Forrest litter ? Or are you just against reduction by Burning ? We are not changing the environment , remember the Aboriginals fired every 7 yrs (I don't agree with that they fired every year but not in the same place some places they never burnt and there was order in every move that way there was always an escape route .
Posted by ShazBaz001, Monday, 2 March 2009 3:03:14 PM
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