JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Archives

Yarloop fire: History repeats — in 1961, a 41 day inferno destroyed 160 buildings and burned a larger area in South-West WA

Fires this week in South West WA have caused two deaths,  burned 72,000 hectares and destroyed 143 homes, wiping out 80% Yarloop. But it’s all happened before, and the fires were bigger, worse, and burned a larger area. The ABC have described the infamous fires of 1961 before, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of the history of these historic fires in their current news. Surely it’s relevant? No one at the $1 billion dollar agency did the internet search that an unfunded blogger did.

Bushfire, Dwellingup, South West, Western Australia, damage.

Dwellingup, 1961

Bushfire, South West, WA, 1961, Dwellingup destroyed.

Dwellingup, January 1961

In January 1961 the remnants of cyclones meant dry thunderstorms lit fires in the hot dry South West of Western Australia. Ten separate fires began in the same area near Dwellingup. They wiped 60 year old small timber towns off the map, and razed 123 houses.  Over the next 41 days, fires continued to burn, destroying 160 buildings and burning through hundreds of thousands of hectares of land (134,000 hectares in the Dwellingup Fire, but 1.5 million hectares burned in SW WA that summer -PDF ). The damage bill would come to $35 million. Somehow, incredibly, no lives were lost.

The fires of 1961 in South West Western Australia:

“Temperatures soared to 41C and winds of 60km/hr whipped” the South West.

“Dwellingup sustained considerable damage and had to be virtually rebuilt.

Not so lucky were the small mill communities of Holyoake, Nanga Brook, Marrinup and Banksiadale which were literally wiped off the map. In fact, following the fires, a decision was made not to rebuild these towns.”

South West WA is one of the most fire prone regions of the world, says Bushfire CRC:

South-west Western Australia is one of the most fire-prone regions in the world due to the combination of a Mediterranean-type climate with hot dry summers and the presence of large areas of flammable native vegetation. It is also a biodiversity hotspot where the role of fire is key. Prescribed fire has been used extensively in forest landscapes since the 1960s to mitigate the impacts of bushfires on the community and on environmental values including biodiversity. The ecological implications of prescribed burning, however, remain contentious.

The response to the 1961 devastation was to have a Royal Commission, get radio equipment, and do better prescribed burning.

Prescribed burning in WA became a serious ongoing practice after these shocking 1961 fires and continued until the mid 1990s, but has been reduced in the last two decades. (See below for details).

A group called Bush Fire Front (BFF) describe problems with forest management in WA, pointing out that there were not many major problems from 1962 – 1985 because WA had such an active fire management plan. It was tested when Cyclone Alby swept through WA in April 1978 with winds of up to 130km hour, the lightning igniting as many as 65 wildfires. Despite this extreme situation, the total damage was much lower than either 1961 or 2016 fires because the area was so well prepared with reduced fuel loads.  The BFF page (below) may be a few years out of date, I suspect burning off has increased in the last few years, but this is the kind of discussion and the numbers we should be discussing. Where are the investigative journalists at the ABC or the West Australian?

DEC fire management on its forested land in the South West is inadequate because:

  1. Fuel reduction burning cycles are too long
  2. The annual burning target is too low.

    1. DEC has an annual target of 200,000 ha for a forest estate of about 2,500,000 ha, which gives an average burning cycle of 12 years. Despite that overall figure there are significant areas of forest carrying fuels older than 20 years. BFF believes that the negligible wildfire losses of the 1961-1985 period, where the average area burnt each year was about 300,000 ha, indicates that a figure closer to that area is necessary to provide adequate protection against major wildfires.
  3. They cannot reach their annual target anyway
    1. From 2000 to 2008, the average area of burning each year by DEC was 149,000 ha This means that in the period 2000-2008 alone, the backlog of burning was over 400,000 ha. This backlog will never be made up, so the outlook is for steadily increasing fuel loads in our forests, therefore steadily increasing fire hazards.
  4. Their burn planning processes are too complex
  5. Implementation of burns is ineffective
  6. Smoke minimisation procedures severely limit the amount of burning close to the Metropolitan area
  7.  Reserves managed by DEC such as the regional parks, receive very little active fire management.

In January 2014, Peter Law, The Sunday Times (news.com), warned that there was too much unburned forest in WA with a high “fuel age”. Small controlled cool burning fires are easy to manage in forest that has been recently burned, but once the forest has seven years of fuel buildup, even controlled burns become risky.

Fuel Age of WA forests, fire risk.

Areas of SW WA which had not been subject to prescribed burning in the last seven years, as of July 2013

The map reveals the build-up of fuel – combustible trees, shrub and ground litter – aged over seven years near Perth and in the South-West.

As of last July, there was almost 2.1 million hectares of fuel aged seven years and older across WA, the paper reveals. Fuel aged under six years spanned 944,000ha.

Bushfire Front chairman Roger Underwood described the accumulation of older fuel – about eight tonnes per hectare – near poorly prepared residential areas as WA’s “ticking time bomb”.

“This map demonstrates that 80% of South-West forests and national parks are now in a situation where firefighters will not be able to tackle or surpress a fire even in moderate conditions because of the very heavy fuels,” Mr Underwood said.

In 2012/13, DPaW achieved just 23,648ha of its annual prescribed burn target of 200,000ha in the South-West.

This is the age it becomes almost impossible to control on even average summer conditions – let alone catastrophic days with soaring temperatures and fast winds.

“DPaW said its prescribed burning program is governed by a number of factors, including weather conditions.

“However, over the past 20 years, the department has met 79 per cent of its cumulative annual target,” a spokeswoman said.”

Current government fire management just does not understand the reasons that fires get “beyond control”. Here’s the current Dept of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner saying that nothing could have stopped this damage. There is no mention of fuel loads:

DFES Commissioner Wayne Gregson…

“Over the past four or five days we have been at full-on war with mother nature, I’m told we have not seen a firestorm of this magnitude, in terms of the size,” he told 6PR radio on Monday.

Mr Gregson said residents were told not to stay to defend their properties without a plan and to not rely on the local water and electricity supply, adding the blaze could not be defended with a garden hose.

“I sometimes think people don’t recognise the enormity of the fire front,” he said.

“I don’t believe anything could have stopped that fire impacting Yarloop.

“Fires get to a point where they just cannot be defended, either from a frontal attack or by the air.”

Yes, they get too big to defend when we haven’t done the burning off to reduce fuel loads. The fire boss is being criticized for all kinds of things, but the real problem that we ought to be trying to prevent the uncontrollable fires in the first place.

We keep learning the same lessons

Nearly 70 years ago, even the Women’s Weekly understood we needed to clear the underbrush.   The December 1957 issue warned that Australia’s worst enemies are fire and flood, and people keep forgetting to prepare for them.

DONT LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN
FOR Australia’s total history of nearly 170 years, two of her worst enemies have been fire and flood. But after seven generations, Australians still won’t learn that although these two killers and destroyers can’t be prevented they can be minimised and controlled.

Australians are casual folk with short memories. They live thousands of miles apart. A bushfire in the Blue Mountains of N.S.W. or in South Australia means nothing at the time in North Queensland or Western Australia.
Because fire and flood are seldom more than localised, there is never a sense of national urgency, of the need to organise and  tackle a problem in a big way.

The flood waters recede . . . the fires go out. . . homes are rebuilt . .. tragedies become memories . . .

Until the next time, which to most Australians is remote, far off. But next times do happen. Disasters that could have been prevented recur. And little or nothing has been done in between to save those lives lost or to prevent that valuable timber country from being ruined.

Every spring fire-hardened experts warn that it can and will happen again. And every summer some area gets burnt out because local authorities and citizens in that area have not taken the trouble to clear dry underbrush.  After every summer when the fires are out Australians forget – until the next time.

Here are some of the details of the improvements in fire management after the 1961 fires:

The upshot, for forest fire management, was confirmation that the fuel reduction burning approach was necessary and appropriate, but needed to be placed on a more scientific footing, and needed to be expanded. The response of the Forests Department was to commence a comprehensive fire behaviour research program and to investigate new techniques for fuel reduction burning, aimed at increasing productivity of existing resources. This research program was, and remains, unique in Australia. Only in CSIRO has there been any similar fire research program. In addition, improvements were made in equipment, radio communications and weather forecasting. Aerial fire detection became an essential pat of the fire detection system.

The fuel reduction burning program became progressively better planned, taking into account a wide variety of factors, including community protection, matching burn specifications to forest management objectives, protection of rare fauna and flora, visual amenity along tourist routes and smoke management. A burn monitoring and evaluation system was introduced. The technique of fuel ignition was greatly improved, thanks to fire behaviour research and culminated in the development of aerial ignition procedures. Using aerial ignition, the Department was able to achieve significant gains in productivity, to the point where it became possible to carry out individual burns as large as 20,000 ha in a single day. A burn of this size was, however, unusual. Most aerial burns were of the order of 5,000 ha.

The worst fires in Australia’s history happened when CO2 levels were ideal. Read about the apocalyptic Black Thursday in 1851 in Victoria.

We wrote about  the importance of fuel loads in 2013:

People have been burning off to keep fuel loads low in Australia for thousands of years.

Current fuel loads are now typically 30 tonnes per hectare in the forests of southeast Australia, compared to maybe 8 tonnes per hectare in the recent and ancient pasts. So fires burn hotter and longer. (The figures are hard to obtain, which is scandalous considering their central importance.)

Bill Gammage wrote an excellent book, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia, which was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in 2012. The first Europeans in Australia noted over and over that Australia looked like a country estate in England, like a park with open woodlands, extensive grassy patches, and abundant wildlife. Where Europeans prevented aborigines from tending their land it became overgrown, and the inevitable fires became dangerous and uncontrollable.

Particularly memorable is the account of driving a horse and carriage from Hobart to Launceston in the early 1800’s, before there were any roads, simply by driving along the grassy park underneath the tree canopies. Try doing that today.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (103 votes cast)
Yarloop fire: History repeats -- in 1961, a 41 day inferno destroyed 160 buildings and burned a larger area in South-West WA, 9.3 out of 10 based on 103 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/ha8ty7t

162 comments to Yarloop fire: History repeats — in 1961, a 41 day inferno destroyed 160 buildings and burned a larger area in South-West WA

  • #
    Dennis

    The Australian Aborigines have inhabited what we now call Australia for at least 50,000 years and at least some researchers believe that they lived here for much a much longer period of up to 120,000 years. Noting that gold mines in Africa have been dated at more than 200,000 years and Babylonian civilisation records of Kings span back that far.

    The Aborigines managed their land by clearing undergrowth and burning when weather and seasons permitted, in accordance with traditional behaviour. Obviously this land management minimised the risk of bushfires and ensured that any fires that were not controlled burning would not be too hot. Burning and land management encouraged native grasses to grow which attracted wild animals for hunting purposes, and grass seeds for grinding by hand and rocks into a type of flour. And other human purposes.

    Apparently the land management, and notably the burning off, changed the vegetation with trees and shrubs becoming dependent on fire to survive. But in about 200 years of white settlement land management changed, and in more recent times with Greens influencing local and state governments cleaning fuel on the ground including burning off has been severely restricted. No surprise then that now out of control fires are becoming a regular problem.

    Interestingly there is now a Kimberly Region WA programme involving Aborigine descendants and non-Aborigine people or rangers combining modern technology and traditional land management that has greatly improved pastures (native grasses) and accordingly has benefited grazing of Cattle. I hope that the WA pilot programme is extended throughout Australia.

    230

    • #
      el gordo

      ‘The Aborigines managed their land by clearing undergrowth and burning when weather and seasons permitted …

      In the southern part of the continent they used dead wood as fuel and over 50,000 years it became harder to come by along walking tracks and around campsites, so they would have had to travel further afield for this important resource.

      In the north there is this fire regime, the dry season burn off, but I’m unconvinced that the traditional people would have used fire stick burning before the arrival of Europeans.

      30

      • #

        Firestick farming was a method used long before Europeans, and is well documented at the Universities in Darwin and Alice Springs. Trials have been underway there for at least a decade now, and is paid for by selling ‘carbon credits’. Burning off was done 365 days of the year, mostly at night, to provide fresh green growth for Kangaroo hunting a few weeks later. Each day a small fire was lit against a previous burn so they never get ‘out of hand’, as they cannot afford to lose important fruiting and seeding trees to wildfires. Spinifex was pushed up into small windrows near camps to stop the cold desert winds, and the cleared area a new small fire break. I was shown these methods by a ‘bushy’ ethno-botanist who lived with remote desert mobs for years.
        Peter Latz has a good volume out well worth reading called ‘Bushfires and Bushtucker’. He is another botanist, brought up in Hermansberg in the remote NT.

        182

        • #

          Fires in the Northern half of Australia, particularly in the desert and pastoral regions are very common, but nowhere near the intensity of those in the Southern States, despite spinifex being highly resinous and flammable. I don’t think the firestick farming methods would work in thick S West forest. Prescribed burning in winter to early spring is the only way.

          30

      • #
        redress

        El Gordo….please read Bill Gammage’s book “The Biggest Estate on Earth”…..[Allen and Unwin].

        What white man has lost in knowledge as to the use of fire in southern Australia is criminal, and we are now reaping the whirlwind….the sooner we get back to using fire as the aborigines used fire before white man arrived the better.

        110

        • #
          • #
            Dennis

            The Biggest Estate On Earth, Australia as the first white settlers saw it:

            “Across Australia, early Europeans commented again and again that the land looked like a park. With extensive grassy patches and pathways, open woodlands and abundant wildlife, it evoked a country estate in England. Bill Gammage has discovered this was because the Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than we have ever realised.

            For ober a decade, Gammage has examined written and visual records of the Australian landscape. He has discovered an extraordinary complex system of land management using fire and the life cycles of native plants to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year. We know Aboriginal people spent less time and effort than Europeans in securing food and shelter, and I now know how they did it.

            With details of land management strategies from around Australia, The Biggest Estate on Earth rewrites the history of this continent, with huge implications for us today. Once Aboriginal people were no longer able to tend to their country, it became overgrown and vulnerable to the hugely damaging bushfires we now experience. And what we think of as virgin bush in a national park is nothing of the kind.”

            60

            • #
              Dennis

              Also read Dark Emu Black Seed.

              10

            • #
              Dennis

              The book rests on three facts about 1788;

              1. Unlike the Britain of most early observers, about 70 per cent of Ausralia’s plants need or tolerate fire. Knowing which plants welcome fire, and when and how much, was critical to managing land. Plants could then be burnt and not burnt in patterns, so that post-fire regeneration could situate and move grazing animals predictably by selectively locating the feed and shelter they preferred.

              2. Grazing animals could be shepherded in this way because apart from humans they had no serious predators. Only in Australia was this so.

              3. There was no wilderness. The Law – an ecological philosophy enforced by religious sanction – compelled people to care for their country. *People lived and died to ensure this.”

              * The Dreamtine – explained to me as difficult to explain to non-indigenous people but broadly that Australia is a giant cemetery and the living people care for it because the spirits require them too.

              30

              • #
                el gordo

                OK on the evidence it does appear that over 100,000 years the first humans became harmonious with the environment, with land management practice part of their survival mechanism.

                ‘Archaeological evidence (in the form of charcoal) indicates that fire, over 100,000 years (from ash deposits in the Coral Sea) was already a growing part of the Australian landscape.

                ‘Over the last 70,000 years it became much more frequent as hunter-gatherers used it as a tool to drive game, to produce a green flush of new growth to attract animals, and to open up impenetrable forest.

                ‘Densely grown areas became more open sclerophyll forest, open forest became grassland. Fire-tolerant species became predominant: in particular, eucalyptus, acacia, and grasses.’

                wiki

                20

              • #
                el gordo

                Its generally accepted that the first Australians arrived no earlier than 70,000 years ago, but there is a debate which points to a huge burn-off in the south east around 120,000 years BP and its suggested that the hand of man was involved.

                10

        • #
          Aaron M

          But seriously, there were around 400,000 aborigines with a life expectancy of 24 until white man showed up. How much of the 7.5 million km2 do you think they ‘managed’, in reality with what little knowledge they could share between themselves, scattered throughout the island with no ability to write or otherwise communicate over distance?

          41

      • #
        TedM

        “but I’m unconvinced that the traditional people would have used fire stick burning before the arrival of Europeans” Then you have never studied early Australian history. There are literally hundreds of documented accounts of aboriginal burning practices recorded by Govt. officials, settlers and explorers. Sylvia Hallam’s “Fire and Hearth” contains numerous such accounts. Those practices includes both localised and broadspread burning. The fact that aborigines didn’t extinguish their campfires should tell even the most moderately intelligent something. Try doing that today and see what happens.

        40

  • #
    PeterS

    I wouldn’t even bother with fire management and preparation except for the area close to the house. Even then we know it’s no guarantee it will help in the most severe firestorms. Let nature takes it course in bush-lands. If anyone wants to live in the bush that’s their choice. They just should take the proper precautions. It’s the common sense thing to do. If I lived in the bush the first thing I would do is build an underground safety room in such a way I and my family could survive there for a couple of days at least. Although not cheap, it’s not rocket science and well withing the means of most. If they can’t afford to do so then they they must value their lives very poorly. If I was flushed with money I would also build a fireproof house. But then if I were flushed with money I wouldn’t be living in the bush in the first place.

    105

    • #

      One of the things I believe that saved our house in three bushfires in Sydney was having deciduous trees with leaves that do not burn (plane tree, elm, pin oak, magnolia etc) plus a large Coral tree with fleashy moisture filled branches, leaves and flowers. I believe the house was surrounded by water vapour which extinguished embers. All the deciduous trees had their leaves singed and looked like death after the fire passed over but all came back. Not enough research is done on different plants in fires. Native vegetation has evolved to withstand fire and some actually use fire eg banksias which need fire to break open seed pods. Some trees do not burn readily while alive and growing in the summer season. People wanting shade and bird life in their garden should select their trees carefully. Then have a clear zone away from the immediate house -recommended is 50m circumference. If you want to make sure the house is saved stay and put out spot fires. I can say not only did we save our house but I helped save the two next door houses where no one was at home. In one of the fires the fire brigade came but they ran out of water and could not get their pump to empty the pool so they drove away just as the fire approached so we had to handle it ourselves with hoses, sprinklers and buckets (and the deciduous trees)

      181

      • #
        Dave

        Absolutely correct

        Well done cementafriend

        The use of native trees around the house is the same as using 25lt plastic fuel cans everywhere!

        Poincianas, Jacarandas, Gardenias, Murrayas, Magnolias, Mulberries etc are great water keepers in the leaves

        71

        • #
          mark

          ’25lt plastic fuel cans.’
          Exactly.
          I have a small beach block which was wall to wall ti-tree when I got it. I described it as an explosion waiting to happen. The ti-tree have largely been replaced with natives that will act as fire-breaks – myoporum insulare is one. I have also put in several exotics, such as mulberry and crepe-myrtle. Additionally I have paved a large area with stone. There is more to do as I begin to renovate the house – the garden came first in my priorities. In the end, I might not save the house in a serious fire, but at least I have given it a fighting chance.

          91

    • #
      Grant (NZ)

      Just clearing round your own dwelling is still not a guarantee. A decent sized fire can create its own wind and can carry, not just embers, but whole logs a great distance. I wouldn’t want to be “sheltering for several days” while a fire passes. I’d want the fire front to move through very fast. Remembering that one of the things that sustains a fire is oxygen, there are reported cases of people “suffocating” before the fire has reached them.

      41

    • #
      TedM

      I’m sorry PeterS but your suggestion wouldn’t save any house or any person in even a moderately severe firestorm. People need to realise that the energy released at the fire front in a severe fire can be many megawatts per linear meter along the fire front. Try stacking even just one thousand 1kw heaters (one megawatt) in one metre and get anywhere near it. You’ll get a bit more than a tan.

      Embers can carry for kilometers, and in a severe fire where the fire is creating it’s own wind the convection stream is close to the horizontal for a significant distance ahead of the fire front.

      People have all sorts of opinions, but few have any understanding of fire “behaviour” or “fire dynamics”.

      Fuel increases over time. Fuel structure changes over time. The total mount of thermal energy released in a fire is directly related to the quantity of the fuel, and the rate at which the energy is released is related to the nature, dryness and structure of that fuel ambient temperature and humidity.

      Whatever your opinion may be, the truth is that “Physics rules”.

      52

      • #
        David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

        G’day Ted,
        Thanks for that. When I came out here about 20 years ago I read that fire intensity increased with the square of the fuel load. A couple of years back I read that it varied with the cube of fuel load. I think the latter was a newspaper report of some CSIRO research, but I’ve not seen any follow up. Can you comment on this relationship?
        To put some numbers together:
        Fuel load: 1 2 3 4 5 7
        squared: 1 4 9 16 25 49, but
        cubed: 1 8 27 64 125 343.
        I chose 7 as my largest for this as a saying for my 1950′s school days was you needn’t worry about the next bushfire for at least seven years after this one. Even at an increment of one tonne per hectare per year the intensity increase is alarming.
        Cheers,
        Dave B

        11

    • #
      PeterS

      Strange that some say my suggestion to build a sort of safe room is not safe yet people will build nuclear bomb shelters that allows them to live underground for a year or two. I’m not saying it’s easy or cheap. I’m saying if I had the money and lived out in the bush I would do whatever it takes to keep my family alive during a major fire. We do have the technology to build a safe room even above aground to survive a major fire. Anyone who says we don’t doesn’t know what they are talking about. Building one underground is better albeit more expensive.

      30

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        PeterS:

        An underground safe room is a good idea but I don’t think you should be looking at something to live in for 2 days as that would be very expensive – you’d need water, toilet etc. More important you need an air supply which couldn’t be sucked out by the firestorm. Far better to build your house underground or above ground with earth banks to insulate it.

        People survived Black Sturday in a make shift shelter, concrete walls and a corrugated iron ‘door’. That kept them out of the radiant heat. People also survived the Darwin cyclone sheltering in a concrete walled laundry & toilet block while the rest of the house disappeared. So build underground to shelter from 2 out of 3 of the worst dangers in Australia. You gain a cooler house in summer, aren’t in danger from sharks or jellyfish and a strong locked front door will keep out the other major threat to your well being (although Greg Hunt might never come door knocking).

        41

        • #
          PeterS

          Did you read what I said? I admitted it wouldn’t be cheap. All I am saying is if it were up to me and for whatever reason I lived in the bush that’s prone to fires, I would do whatever it takes within my financial means to provide a safe haven for my family. For some weird reason there are those who think that’s a silly idea. In any case, I wouldn’t want to live in such an area as I would prefer a beach front :-) That of course means I would be exposed to a tsunami, and that would be somewhat more complicated albeit less likely.

          00

          • #
            Graeme No.3

            PeterS:

            I did read what you said and was agreeing with you. I was merely pointing out that there are alternatives to an underground shelter for use maybe 2 days a year. Build your house so it survives. Yes it is somewhat more expensive to start with, but surviving with your original house destroyed would be more expensive.
            Earth berms are cheaper to build than excavations.

            My comments were to point out that even rudimentary foresight may be of benefit. (Except to avoid the Greg Hunts of the world).

            00

        • #
          PeterS

          BTW, there are suppliers to such underground shelters. One of them is here: http://www.firesheltersaustralia.com.au/tech.html
          Personally, it’s not enough. I would go deeper and increase significantly the isolated air supply to provide breathable air for as long as possible. As I repeatedly stated, the cost would be high but life is more important.

          10

  • #
    Rollo

    Would it be feasible to mechanically harvest excess fuel and burn it locally for power generation? Given that Drax think it economical to import processed wood pellets from another continent, a local operation could be viable. Of course collecting just the excess fuel load would be more difficult than clear felling.

    70

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Drax only switches units when it is guaranteed a set price of £105 per MWh.
      The Victorian brown coal stations produce at £14.5 per MWh. The EU has decided on an enquiry as to whether such subsidy is excessive.

      Not also that the Drax way generates a minimum of 23% extra CO2 emissions (counting transport) over coal firing.

      At that higher price mechanical clearing probably is viable, but the customers for electricity might not think so.

      100

      • #
        Rollo

        Drax only switches units when it is guaranteed a set price of £105 per MWh.
        The Victorian brown coal stations produce at £14.5 per MWh.

        OT but ..Graeme No.3, do you have the cost per MWh for Drax to use their local coal?

        30

        • #
          Graeme No.3

          Rollo:

          No. All UK coal mines have shut down now. Drax is built over a coal seam but hasn’t used coal from there for many years. The best I can say is that their cost with imported coal would be a bit less than £50 which is the “standard” UK rate for coal generation, but that includes subsidies/penalties which go to wind & solar. I haven’t checked that amount for years and would have lost it in my pre-Christmas computer crash (would be somewhere in old back-ups). I can say that at least £9 would be charged to disadvantage coal.

          The UK situation with electricity generation is similar to the South Australian one, it is a race to see who has crippling blackouts, S.A., Scotland or England. All have the same cause…a belief by the local politicians that the wind blows all the time and the sun shines at night, so they interfere with an area they know nothing about.

          270

        • #
          Analitik

          This article says “At £80 per MW/hr, Drax’s, biomass energy is two-and-a-half times more expensive than coal”
          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3113908/How-world-s-biggest-green-power-plant-actually-INCREASING-greenhouse-gas-emissions-Britain-s-energy-bill.html

          This would imply Drax’s electricity cost with coal is about £32 per MWh

          60

          • #
            Graeme No.3

            Thank you.
            The latest conversion is asking for £105 per MWh. Apparently it gets more expensive as you use more wood? Or does getting a subsidy for nonsense make you greedy?

            30

    • #

      The excess fuel load is brush and floor litter. It is NOT straightforward to harvest that without doing a lot of other damage.

      The second-easiest way to reduce the fuel load is to permit grazing of e.g. cattle.

      80

      • #
        Bulldust

        Cattle etc wouldn’t be helpful in the SW as it would spread dieback rapidly in the forests. Fire it is.

        20

  • #

    There’s been a lot of discussion on this, especially at Quadrant Online, reflecting on things that have been evident to me over the 40+ years that I’ve been travelling the Victorian High Country. Ironically, I was thinking exactly about this yesterday, waiting for an opportunity to ask a question. I vaguely remember there being some statistics or discussion about this quite some time ago, and was wondering if there were any metrics available based on recent fire incidents.

    Just taking the fires in Victoria, NSW and WA in the last month, how much CO2 (and other noxious gasses and particulates) were likely to have been emitted by these fires. If these fires become far more common and severe (as predicted by people who really are in the know), what will be the effect on the overall CO2 mitigation strategies proposed post-Paris and for the long term?

    Climate change becomes irrelevant, whether real or not, if no effective mitigation action is taken to reduce the risks when it’s practical to do so. If not familiar, go to Quadrant and have a read of some of the articles presented by ex-forestry and other workers. The Green Blob has so much to answer for, but sadly will likely never be held to account.

    121

  • #
    Bruce J

    It all comes back to the 3 basic requirements for a fire – oxygen, heat and fuel. In the bushfire situation, the only factor that can be controlled is fuel – minimise the fuel and any fire is minimised.

    After the Dwellingup fires, the then Forests Department had a policy of burning all State Forests every seven years and encouraged land holders to do the same for any native flora areas on their properties. Property holders were also required to minimise fuel loads on road reserves adjacent to their properties by burning or slashing. In addition to fuel reduction, property holders were also encouraged to have a “quick response” fire fighting vehicle on their property, usually a tired old small truck carrrying a 1000 gallon water tank and a fire pump, so they could react quickly and knock down a fire before it developed into a threat. One or two generations later and the lessons of the big fires have been forgotten or superseded by the ideals of those who know better and have probably never been near a wild fire of any significance. Look at the time intervals between the bad fires in Victoria, 1939, 1983, 2009 – pretty close to a generation between them. A few letters after a person’s name seem to carry much more weight than 30 or 40 years of experience learnt the hard way.

    130

    • #
      Robk

      You are right, roadsides used to be managed. Now they are”wildlife corridors” which become infernos from hell.
      In the Western Australian wheat belt at least, there are far fewer sheep than there used to be so stubble loads remain during summer. Farmers use “no-till” and stubble retention cropping methods so stubble loads remain high (great for soils). Farms and farm machinery is getting bigger but the number of people in farming areas is low.
      There seemed to be a change in attitude since the state collection of an emergency services charge. The DPAW, DFES etc are centralist control and capital intensive. People want to believe this can bring a fire under control every time. Local volunteers are now often pipped at the call to backburn.
      Many more people live on lifestyle blocks, especially in fire prone areas. Then there’s the harzard reduction debate as described. All these things make for nasty fire conditions, we face them every year.

      100

  • #
    brian hatch

    The biggest change has been the reporting of fires. The Canberra Times is available on line at the NLA for jan 61 and 3 destroyed WA towns is mentioned once on Fri 27/1/61. Sadly we have one town this year, but the news reporting is wall to wall.

    I fought fires professionally in Vic in 79 to 82 and rarely were the fires reported. 1983 and Ash Wed changed all that.

    WA papers are not available for 1961.

    70

  • #
    King Geo

    I am no bushfire expert but logic says that building wide fire-breaks around small SW towns in well forested areas will help save many homes in the event of a major bush-fire. How wide these firebreaks should be I am not certain but should be 100m at the very minimum. Also it would make sense that homes in these areas be built of fire resistant material e.g brick, rammed earth etc and definitely not timber. And all homes in these small SW towns should have bores to deal with small flare ups generated by wind derived cinders. Govt prescribed burning should continue but focus on areas where undergrowth fuel load is most severe. And finally totally ignore what the Greenies say. You just have to look at recent Tasmanian bush-fires events to realize that.

    101

    • #

      I think BFF talks about the fire management regime of before 1961 — they tried wide areas of “pre-burnt” zones 100m wide, but it failed to stop embers and winds carrying new fires kilometers ahead.

      Firebreaks can’t achieve much when the whole area has heavy fuel loads.

      180

      • #
        King Geo

        You are absolutely right Jo. Maybe small towns should consistently do prescribed burns around the perimeter of their towns to keep the heavy fuel loads down to a minimum. How wide this perimeter should be I am not certain. I don’t think you can completely stop the “wind blown embers” causing fire ignitions, but town folk with access to bore water, should be able to put out spot fires near their homes (hopefully not built of timber), especially if there are minimal large eucalypt trees in the vicinity. Clearly the numerous forest towns in our SW & the State Govt need to have a long hard think designing strategies to hopefully avert a repeat of the tragic Yarloop & Dwellingup bush-fire events.

        50

        • #
          J PAK

          70 year old Albert Newton in Bilpin NSW, tells me that in his youth all the men of the settlement would gather on a winter’s morning and circle the built-up area and then light fires in the under-growth and follow them outwards and just let them peter out in the bush and wet gullies. They’d extinguish remaining pockets of burning scrub before the end of the week-end.
          The key to this is the burning period. As Nova’s great article mentions, the natural fire cycle is about a dozen years so the fuel reduction cycle needs to be around six years to prevent a large accumulation of dry debris. Ross Ingram who was the Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens botanist and head man for any years, says that we need to get serious about doing low temperature winter burns on a regular basis.

          140

      • #

        The recent 2011 Margaret River fires that burnt a lot of houses were caused by the ‘authorities’ doing fuel reduction burns late in November, at the same time a heat wave and strong winds were forecast. Locals tried to stop them, even when it was out of control, they were still lighting more, it wasn’t a surprise when it became an inferno.
        The guy in charge (Brett Cummins) of this fuel reduction burning was the same person responsible [snip. Tom, we need substantiation for an allegation like that - Jo]. The Department was way behind on prescribed burns, but based on weather forecasts, should never have been lit.

        Claims for Losses Related to the Margaret River and Milyeannup (Nannup) Fires

        Following the Keelty Report and other extensive investigations, the Government has decided that all reasonable claims for losses related to the fires in the South-West (Margaret River and Milyeannup areas) on 23 November 2011, will be accepted by the Government’s self-insurer, RiskCover, on behalf of the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).

        The process for lodging claims is to submit written notification to RiskCover, together with relevant supporting documentation, quoting claim number 12/008312/STL, to postal address: GPO Box K837, Perth WA 6842 or email christine.loong@icwa.wa.gov.au. Telephone enquiries can be directed to (08) 9264 3539.

        Once claims are received, they will be forwarded to RiskCover’s appointed loss adjuster to make contact with claimants and to carry out assessment of losses. Claims for property damage will be assessed on an indemnity basis.

        Losses already claimed under the Margaret River Bushfire Financial Assistance Scheme (the Scheme) will be deducted from any liability claim settlement. Liability claims that go beyond amounts received under the Scheme should be directed to RiskCover on behalf of DEC. These claims, together with claims not yet assessed and also late claims made under the Scheme will be considered as outlined above. All those claimants with reported outstanding claims have been provided with further advice from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

        State Emergency Management Preparedness Report 2012

        The State Emergency Management Committee has completed its inaugural report on Western Australia’s preparedness for emergencies. This report is to be prepared annually for the Minister for Emergency Services and provides a broad view of the State’s capacity to deal with large-scale emergencies. It will report on progress in the emergency management sector and highlight work underway to enhance capability.

        40

      • #
        Robert O

        You are sadly right Jo, it’s fuel loads and generally green politics tend to prevent fuel reduction burns and theses fires are coming out of National parks and crown land. Southern Aust. has difficult Summer conditions, hot, windy and dry, and there is no option but to reduce the fuel.

        I cannot comment about the Yarloop fire, but looking at the TV coverage of the Wye R. fires many burnt-out houses were surrounded by burnt-out bush.

        121

      • #
        Ted O'Brien

        Firebreaks can indeed achieve much, especially in built up areas. Indeed they are the best way to fight any fire.

        There are many kinds of firebreaks. First, mow the lawn and yard. Refrain from planting fiery shrubs and trees close to houses. Mow the street and road verges. Make sure that nobody neglects these things, because, no matter how derelict the house, the hardest fire to keep at bay in a wildfire is a house already on fire.

        Then keep a break between the forest and the houses. I would venture to say that if a 100m break did not save a town, then the break wasn’t properly maintained, or the previously mentioned actions were neglected. I haven’t yet been to WA, let alone Yarloop, but when I hear of an entire town being destroyed, I think I can safely say that indicates poor planning.

        I would also strongly suspect that the abominable economic management of Australia’s rural economy over the last 30 years had caused Yarloop to have a lot of empty houses with their yards in need of maintenance.

        In extra urban areas firebreaks are part of the long term planning. Fallow areas, fire fodder reduction by management of grazing, roadways form firebreaks and aid access for fire fighting equipment when needed, and so on.

        20

      • #
        TedM

        You are right Jo, they were known as 5 chainers. Five chains wide (one chain is 22 yards) about 100 metres. Then they tried 80 chainers, one mile wide, and that wasn’t enough as embers could carry over it under some conditions, and fire has momentum. A fast travelling intense fire can punch into a low fuel area, however with reducing intensity until it finally stops.

        Fire breaks almost never stop anything but they serve as a boundary from which firefighters can backburn, as do fuel reduced areas.

        10

      • #
        ScotsmaninUtah

        I agree,

        and in the short term, the response that is needed is each home must have sprinkler systems and roof tops impervious to air borne ignition material.

        or most importantly a vast array of irrigation systems In Australia.

        some people in Australia want to change the planet’s climate whilst failing to understand that investment at home in the hinter lands are more important.

        10

    • #
      John F. Hultquist

      In the USA a program called FireWise has caught on. We went to a presentation last year and learned much.
      http://firewise.org/?sso=0

      20

    • #
      Greg

      King Geo.During our rebuild post black Saturday our building inspector mentioned how many timber houses survived in Kinglake as opposed to brick.His theory was that timber houses breath and pressure is equalised when the fire consumes oxygen.Many houses exploded as windows blew out and the fire rushed in.Having said that we rebuilt with the most fire resistant blocks we could find.

      10

  • #
    Retired now

    Reducing fuel loads is a huge annual expense and the expense is one that must have been easy to put aside when the state budget came under pressure. The true cost of that decision is now being felt, but I’m sure the government will play down any suggestion they could have stopped this by good preplanning.

    Its like house insurance. My house will probably not burn down this year or get burgled this year so do I still bother insuring it? In my case, yes. I insure the house, contents, car and my health. Yes it costs but in these days that is one of the costs of living and we do this on a pension. I am amazed to hear that somewhere around a third of people here do not insure their houses.

    And it seems that a great many people were not able to leave their houses with more than what they stood up in. I have a grab and go bag with basic self care items, and a box in the kitchen with emergency food to go and I live in the city. I have several lists which tell me what to grab if I have 2 minutes, 5 minutes and 15 minutes warning. In my grab and go bag is a thumb drive with all our important family and house information on it.

    Reduction of the fuel load has to be a priority and one that is seen as a basic requirement for Australians. It is not just a state responsibility – we all have to work on this together. But if the state won’t assist, then local communities must do what they can and if no community group takes responsibility then individuals must do what they can.

    60

  • #
    pat

    everything but reducing fuel loads:

    11 Jan: ABC: WA bushfires: Fire authorities reject criticism from ‘armchair generals’
    By Graeme Powell and staff
    Yarloop residents have complained about myriad problems, including a lack of communication with authorities, lack of emergency warnings to residents and a lack of water.
    One resident Tony Elson also claimed firefighters had problems connecting to a water hydrant and residents were forced to fend for themselves.
    “They told us we can’t connect to that hydrant and they stood there for two hours watching the town burn,” he said
    “I actually got out of my car and grabbed my drinking water bottle to put out a spot fire that was half way between me and the FESA guys.
    “The only people that saved houses were the residents, FESA did nothing.
    Mr Elson said a lack of water in the town generally also cost a friend his life…
    Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said people were warned that when the power goes out, so does the water supply in small towns that are not connected to the grid…
    The WA Fire Commissioner Wayne Gregson said he was concerned by criticism of the firefighting efforts.
    “There will be plenty of people who will come out with the benefit of 20\20 hindsight,” he said…
    “We implored them [residents] to be aware, take early action for their own safety and not to rely on mains power or water to attempt to defend their homes.
    “You cannot be sitting at home and waiting to get a text before you take responsibility for your own safety,” Mr Gregson said…
    WA Farmers president Dale Park joined the critics, labelling DFES management “megalomaniac” in the way it was controlling access to areas affected by bushfire…
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-11/yarloop-residents-angry-over-fire-response-wa/7080028

    80

  • #
    pat

    11 Dec: WA Today: Emma Young: WA fires: Trapped, Harvey firefighters stared death in the face to save Yarloop
    They were not so lucky in Yarloop on Thursday, with seven of them, including Mr Britza, in town when the fire arrived…
    “There was no water, we were up there with 2000 litres of water when this inferno hit, like a wave of fire that just crashed through the school.
    “Half the side of our fire engine just melted. At that stage our crew’s safety was paramount. We couldn’t do anything. We tried to drive out of the fire but we couldn’t see in front of us and couldn’t find the road. Eventually we drove through some trees and found a road and found a house and thought we found one house that looked defensible…
    “We had hoses out and set up there and used 1500 litres of water to defend that house … but at that stage our fire chief told us to get the f*** out of there…
    The crew decided the most sensible thing to do was to stay and protect the residents with their remaining water, so they took their two tankers and the 70 or so people to the local oval and shared out what masks they had. Mr Britza was hoping the turf would provide a firebreak but the scenes in Waroona of green turf going up in flames left him anything but confident…
    http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/wa-fires-trapped-harvey-firefighters-stared-death-in-the-face-to-save-yarloop-20160111-gm3f1x.html

    50

  • #
    pat

    11 Jan: ABC AM: Yarloop fire investigation – ‘absolutely’: West Australia’s Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis
    KIM LANDERS: Do you think Yarloop can be rebuilt? Should it be rebuilt?
    JOE FRANCIS: Well look I think ultimately that’s a decision we should give the community the right to make, the residents there and the people who owned the land there and the historical buildings.
    But obviously considering almost every single building there was made of hard wood, of our natural native jarrah in Western Australia and it was so combustible, the reality is if it was rebuilt it won’t be the same as what it was last week…
    KIM LANDERS: WA is no stranger to bushfires and there was a recent report into a string of bushfires that burned over 14 days last year in parts of WA’s southwest that including the Boddington and Northcliffe blazes.
    That report found significant problems with basic elements of the emergency response, things like deployment of resources, communications. Did any of those problems contribute in any way to the loss of Yarloop?
    JOE FRANCIS: Well firstly I wouldn’t say that was, in that report, the report you’re talking about is the department’s own internal report as to ways to improve things.
    What it found was things such as the Department of Fire Emergency Services and our Parks Department over here were using different maps and there were a number of minor communications issues which were rectified immediately after that.
    So those things didn’t play into this situation…
    There will be another report into those fires that will be released shortly from an independent third party source and that may find other things that could be improved on…
    http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4386203.htm

    40

  • #
    pat

    10 Jan:Age: Philip Ingamells: Appreciating limits of fuel reduction burns vital to effective fire management in Victoria
    (Philip Ingamells is the spokesman on park protection and fire management for the Victorian National Parks Association)
    Planned burns only significantly reduce fuel in the undergrowth for about three years
    Another fire season is upon us, and bushfires continue to threaten lives and property across southern Australia. In the face of this, it’s tempting to call for more fuel reduction burns to contain, or even eliminate, bushfires. But how effective is fuel reduction burning in achieving this? The best and latest research suggests it has serious limitations, but there are things we can do to help that situation…
    Planned burning is a vital tool in managing the risks to people posed by bushfires. The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, established after Black Saturday, recommended an annual burn target of 5 per cent of public land (about 390,000 hectares) across Victoria. But it also recommended monitoring of the program’s effectiveness and impacts.
    This scrutiny has shown that the program has been far from ideal. Former police chief Neil Comrie, the Royal Commission’s independent monitor, said in three successive reports that the target was not achievable, affordable or sustainable, and had potential adverse environmental outcomes. That matched the Environment Department’s most recent assessment of its efforts; Victoria’s fuel reduction program on public land had failed to achieve its two main objectives: protection of life and property, and protection of the environment…
    There are several reasons for this, all supported by peer-reviewed scientific research…
    Does this mean we should not use strategic fuel reduction burning to manage fire? Definitely not. However, appreciating its limits will be vital to effective fire management in Victoria.
    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/appreciating-limits-of-fuel-reduction-burns-vital-to-effective-fire-management-in-victoria-20160110-gm2o3t.html

    40

    • #

      I don’t think 5% is anywhere near enough each year. Most pastoralists in the North West look to 15%, which is picked to allow for sufficient time for flowering and seed set before the next one.

      80

  • #
    ScotsmaninUtah

    priorities and perspective..

    Yes, they get too big to defend when we haven’t done the burning off to reduce fuel loads

    People are very strange when it comes to priorities, they will lock their cars to prevent them being broken into but ignore the need to create a fire break in order to stop their house being burned down.

    Those living on small islands in the Pacific “next to a volcano” they all realise that the volcano can by very dangerous and many have well defined response plans.

    The British are far worse than Australians when it comes to short memories, some parts of Stonehenge were blown down in 1899. Excluding the numerous floods and
    the 10 years of continuous dry Summers in previous centuries.

    One can only express frustration at the “surprise” of those that declare these natural disasters are “unprecendented” or “never seen before” !

    When one lives in an area of natural extremes then it is common sense to take precautions.

    100

  • #
    Dave

    .

    Our Governments whether State, Federal or Local along with the political parties
    Will NEVER listen to any recommendations about Fuel reduction anywhere.

    In Canberra in October 2000 during the Olympics – they banned all prescribed burning as it may be a concern to the IMAGE of CANBERRA to the influx of world tourists!

    This is the sort of garbage that is in the DNA of Bureaucrats, Politicians and Greens that end up in loss of life, property & processions.

    In this Report they are even worried about weed regrowth, smoke pollution etc.

    It become a GREEN MADNESS

    The Committee acknowledges community concerns about smoke
    pollution as a result of prescribed burning and recommends that the
    Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre pursue its proposed study into
    smoke modelling.

    What a load of bollocks?

    This report highlighted that

    “prescribed burning and grazing by livestock”

    are the only two things to prevent this.

    Yet the recommendations ignored it!

    110

    • #
      Dave

      .
      Also forgot to add this
      Disaster Resilient Australia website was set up after the 2003 bushfires

      They blamed:
      1 extreme weather
      2 high temperatures of above 37 ºC
      3 low humidity
      4 lightning strikes
      5 strong gusty winds

      Not one mention that in 2000 hardly ANY prescribed burning occurred!

      It’s all about IMAGE

      Canberra Politicians and bureaucrats refuse to admit responsibility!

      170

      • #
        Sceptical Sam

        Spot on Dave.

        Of course Canberra – the Nation’s capital – is a leftist utopia where no comrade is ever held to account for political decisions that adversely impact on the proletariat. Only those who hold a different political view are to be victimized.

        The nepotism and corruption is clear for those who have eyes to see – but when your friend, or your uncle, or your union official who gave you your job is in the wrong you always avert your gaze. That’s the first law of the leftist utopia.

        Read no further than the recent Trade Union Royal Commission.

        110

      • #
        Dennis

        After the Royal National Park in Sutherland Shire south of Sydney was devastated by an extremely hot wild fire a few decades ago it was revealed that under National Parks & Wildlife Service management land management and clearing of fuel on the ground had been cut back considerably as compared to when surrounding land was managed by the New South Wales Water Board.

        60

    • #
      Robert O

      You are right there is a lot of political pressure not to do fuel reduction burns, image, smoke etc., but surely it’s not too a long a bow to blame the authorities for the associated death due to this negligence, 173 people in Gippsland in 2009, and the associated carnage of wildlife.

      100

      • #
        Mjw

        Department of Sparks and Embers set fire to Wilsons Prometory and burned 14000 hectares. According to their follow up report no wildlife was lost.

        40

        • #
          Andrew McRae

          “report no wildlife was lost.”
          Well clearly if government reports show animals can adapt to 300 degrees then they should be able to easily cope with 2 degrees.
          ;-)

          30

      • #
        Annie

        That wasn’t just Gippsland. That included Marysville and surrounds, Kinglake, Dixon’s Creek and other places. Marysville alone lost 34 people and nearly all buildings.

        40

  • #
    TdeF

    Despite 11 Royal Commissions in Victoria after massive loss of life, when the advice was always the same and history is just ignored. Especially by the press.

    To them it is CO2, Climate Change, someone’s fault, heads will roll, someone’s fault. Not theirs.

    At least we are seeing lower loss of life I assume through mobile phone messages, something I was crazy about after the Tsunami in Thailand when the Germans in particular escaped because their friends at home in Germany told them when the Thai government told no one. Even the poorest people have mobile phones and text messages are free.

    The second was to learn from the Americans who imported our gum trees in the 1880s. We lost 2,000 houses and 200 lives in 2009 in Victoria. In the very same year, they also lost 2,000 houses but only 20 lives. Why? They evacuate. Now in the big bushfires along the Otways, we have not lost a life. It needs to be explained.

    Gum trees full of gum, pine trees are fast growing fire friendly trees. Bushfires are normal in Australia. Like gums, pines flourish and the cones open under extreme heat. We do not need pine trees either. In the country, you must run to cleared land or hide in shelters in the ground, like buried containers, underground fire shelters. People have survived under concrete culverts. Do not try to ‘fight’ 900C. You cannot. As the Canberrans found when a suburb was burnt to the ground after stopping the council from clearing, you must clear around homes. Or don’t build there. Our gum trees are lethal. There are groups in California who want them gone. So history repeats itself. Again and again. The press do not help. You would think they love disasters. Perhaps they do.

    Then if Tim Flannery says this is just Climate Change, he should be prosecuted, as many should have been after the near total disaster of the Wivenhoe dam at an illegal 190% full, an earthworks dam which would have collapsed on overflow, drowning and destroying Brisbane. We do not need such self described technical experts. They can be lethal. The findings of the Royal Commissions should be published front page and copies sent to councils and local communities. Why do it all again and again?

    191

    • #
      Robert O

      T deF, there are enough post mortems, royal commissions, inquiries after each disasterous fire. To mention a few Victoria 1939, 1983, 2009, Tasmania 1934, 1938, 1967, WA. 1961. As you say these reports are ignored and gather dust. At the recent fire at Dunalley in S.Tas., which drove people to the waterfront, the farmers blamed the authorities for not letting them do burning-off for years.

      It is not rocket science, nor global warming, but the stupidity of officialdom, nothing less. At least ex PM Abbott has some practical experience in these matters, more than the rest of them.

      140

      • #
        TdeF

        I am not suggesting more. My point is that it is beyond officialdom. It is culpable. In 2009 there were at least two cases of farmers being fined $150,000 for clearing around their houses, in one case providing the only safe refuge in the area when the fire came. The money was never refunded in either case.

        Experts and especially Green dominated councils who refuse to listen, to take the written legal advice of Royal Commissions and practice their save the trees and undergrowth and damn the consequences policy should be prosecuted for culpable conduct. Bushfires in Australia are certain as Tornadoes in Kansas or Hurricanes in Taiwan or floods in Bangladesh. At least now we are not reading of horrific loss of live. Houses and lives can be rebuilt. Without regular clearing, even the modern fires are so hot the trees are killed instead of being scorched.

        Jo’s point is that the media never talk about the history, so we cannot learn from it. Drama sells media. The same with the whole Climate Change scene or Asteroid scare or Ebola. Who knows what is happening in West Africa today? There is nothing in the press, because they sell daily disaster. The ABC was supposed to be our balanced, politically independent and thorough media and we fund it at $1,300,000,000 a year to be our eyes and ears. All we hear is what their journalists want us to hear to support their very left political agenda. Even bushfires are the fault of the capitalists with their factories and mass production and farmers should not be clearing the land. Sell the ABC. We can get rubbish news from the internet filed under click bait.

        161

        • #
          diogenese2

          The Creatures of Prometheus

          Gum trees burn, flood plains flood (the clue is in the name), the oceans relentlessly devour the land, if you live below a mountain it will inevitably fall upon you.
          All this is known and been obvious throughout human existence yet still men believe they can ignore their senses in favour of their imaginings.
          And how ironic that the same people who believe that nature must be left untouched also believe that they can control it with useless toys. This is Hubris, the worst plague that escaped the box (jar actually) of Pandora, who was Prometheus’ sister in law and Zeus’ “gift” in revenge for the theft of fire.
          Your quite right TdeF – it is culpable but will we live to see Nemesis turn up? Hope was saved but when will Pandora let it out of the box.

          100

        • #
          Robert O

          Yes, I agree about the culpabilty point, but difficult to pin the blame on an individual, perhaps a reverse class action as an accessory to manslaughter? We know why, but difficult to prove.

          The point is that the eucalypt forest drops a lot of woody material annually, leaves, bark, branches, capsules., etc. and they do not break-down to form humus easily but accumulate so eventually there are literally tonnes and tonnes per ha. of woody material. Under moderate conditions there is a slow moving ground fire which can be usually contained, but when the conditions deterioate the fire intensity increases and it jumps into the tree crowns which start to burn; at that stage the wind picks-up burning leaves and bark which land well ahead of the fire front which again start more fires. Nothing much can be done at that stage.

          This is the eventual fate of all the World Heritage Listed Forest areas which have been locked-up and forgotten, simply because the greens have a better understanding of politics than eucalypt ecology.

          The only practical answer is to undertake periodic control burning under mild conditions to reduce the amount of dry fuel.

          140

        • #
          mc

          In 2009 there were at least two cases of farmers being fined $150,000 for clearing around their houses, in one case providing the only safe refuge in the area when the fire came.

          Thank you TdeF, you have raised a critically important point not known to many people weighing in to this debate.
          How many times have I heard the comment, “if you want to live in the Australian bush you need to take responsibility for your safety by creating fire-breaks around your home”.
          How can you properly prepare for the advent of bushfire if the municipal government authorities WILL NOT PERMIT IT!

          120

    • #

      It’s worse than Farmers being fired for clearing land, if they persist, they can be jailed.

      http://joannenova.com.au/2013/01/in-australia-if-you-try-to-clear-a-firebreak-on-your-land-you-could-go-to-gaol/

      Szulc cleared his land as a protest. He was in contempt of court, he is in contempt of the DEC.

      …[his firebreak] was mere scrubby regrowth. He was trying to separate his property from DEC (Dept of Environment and Conservation) managed land with a 20m wide fire-break.

      Some will say that Maxwell Szulc is technically not in jail for clearing his land, but for contempt of court. He deliberately went against a court injunction that forbid him from clearing more land. Many will write him off as a nutter who should have filled in the management plan that the DEC asked him too.

      But this is the key. Szulc is a conscientious objector, and cleared the land as a protest against laws he sees as completely unjust.

      Szulc believes that his land is his land, and that he should be able to manage it without asking permission from anyone. Those “management plans” sound innocent, but as other farmers (like Matt and Janet Thompson and Sid Livesey) have found out, the management plan is an insidious form of creeping fascism.

      Why should a landowner need to get permission to clear firebreaks on his own property? Land clearing is expensive, and top-soil in Western Australia is a precious commodity (we have the poorest and oldest soil in the world, and fertilizer costs money). No land-owner would want to overdo the clearing or lose that thin layer of top-soil. The owner stands to lose the most if the land is badly managed. That is the point of the free market and ownership by individuals.

      220

      • #
        Bruce J

        You may wish to bring me up to date, but as recently as 2003-4, WA had a legal requirement for all rural properties under 2000m2 to be slashed or mown to a maximum vegetation height of 50mm, or if over 2000m2 in area, to have a clear soil (ploughed) firebreak at least 3m wide to all boundaries. Surely it is not necessary to get a permit to comply with the law, even if you wish to have a wider firebreak, and how do the bureaucrats define when a firebreak more than 3m wide is so wide a permit is necessary?

        I know this firebreak law was in place as I was fined for slashing a property more than 2000m2 in area, when it should have had a ploughed break (how can you plough a break on a 2075m2 lot on a hillside in Gooseberry Hill without risking a tractor rollover?).

        70

      • #
        mc

        Some will say that Maxwell Szulc is technically not in jail for clearing his land, but for contempt of court.

        Thank you Jo, exactly what I was thinking about.

        No he is not technically in jail for clearing his land, he is effectively in jail for clearing his land.

        31

        • #
          TdeF

          He is in jail for clearing his land. If he had not cleared his land, he would not be in jail. It could not be simpler.

          20

          • #
            mc

            Yes TdeF I completely agree. The point i was trying to make (not very well) was that arguing Szulc was sent to jail technically speaking for contempt of court rather than for clearing his land is just sophistry, it matters not how you spin it, he still went to jail for clearing his land.

            10

  • #

    I put this up on the previous topic but seems to merit a rerun IMO

    “I found this as a slogan used by an internet poster

    “The difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference.” ”

    For more om aboriginal fire Bill Gamage’s book

    For more on fire particularly WA (and the same theme) search Jennifer Marohasy’s old blog

    50

  • #

    The last thing a bureaucratic agency wants to do is solve the problem they were established to solve. If they did, the reason for their existence would cease to exist. There would be no more crises to be used to demand higher budgets, more people, more equipment, and more facilities to be used in ways that won’t solve the crises. Thereby creating another crises cycle to do more of the same.

    It is a fundamental law that a bureaucracy produces still more bureaucracy. In the process they make it increasingly difficult for everyone else to be productive and to live.

    Yet, the standard response of most governments is to create still more bureaucracies in response to the crises created by the existing bureaucracies. Sadly, we the people seem to think it is OK because the government is “doing something”. It is even more sad that they don’t consider what it is that the government is actually doing.

    There is a way to stop this madness but creating still one more bureaucracy is not the way to do it.

    120

    • #
      clive

      Lionell,you have hit the nail on the head.These”Career Politicians and Bureaucrats”are only looking after them-selves and ignoring we the “People”.We need to clean them out,at the next election,by whatever means is available.There are too many councils controlled by the “Greenies”so they need to be “Culled”too.

      51

  • #
    Joe

    The last thing a bureaucratic agency wants to do is solve the problem they were established to solve.

    I can’t speak for the Eastern States, but here in Western Australia, the “Forestry Department” was set up to burn off the forests in the state and manage their fuel loads. Since it became “CALM” it’s totally derelict in it’s duty. Not to mention that there are multiple departments involved with fires. The original department had one remit – forever – to manage the fuel load in state forests.

    100

  • #
    pat

    btw have posted some extra links (some now out of moderation from this morning) on Daniel Alongi, the climate scientist facing fraud charges in North Queensland, on jo’s previous thread, “EU scientists say…”.

    have also posted on the same thread yet another study being SPUN by WaPo (where it is behind a paywall) as a CAGW story. i’ve posted it from Toronto Star, which has as the headlines:

    “How scientific misinformation spreads through social media – Researchers say polarized clusters they call ‘echo chambers’ help spread and support attitudes such as doubt about climate change”

    the study is also linked and it barely mentions CC.

    30

  • #
    pat

    heard about this on radio this morning. it was presumed these helicopters would be transported on a C130 or similar. people are questioning this & more in the comments at these two posts:

    Facebook NSW Rural Fire Service
    NSW Rural Fire Service
    January 9 at 7.49pm
    The trip west for the two NSW helicopter water bombers continues. They have just had the second refuelling at Whyalla and are continuing towards WA
    NSW Rural Fire Service
    January 9 at 12.22pm
    Two NSW based helicopters (Bell 214) have left at first light this morning to travel to WA to provide further aviation support for the fires burning in that state.
    https://www.facebook.com/nswrfs

    30

  • #
    tom0mason

    While the greens bark their useless and pathetic ideas of “let Nature take its course”, people and property are endangered.

    The greens fail to understand Humans are part of nature, and as such it is the requirement of nature’s top predator to manage their surrounding to ensure our long term survival. All else will adjust and adapt around us to best survive. Humans should — must — manage the resources we require for the good of our future and all the other flora and fauna that relies on our survival. All else is BS.
    People who attempt to cheat the competition are ensuring that humans — the current top predator — will be replaced, and that will hurt! However Nature’s competitions ensures that predator/prey relationships will always balance – even if the current top predator has to die out because of their own stupidity.

    130

  • #
    mc

    After every summer when the fires are out Australians forget – until the next time.

    Is that so?
    I survived the black Saturday fires that went through Kinglake Victoria in 2009, my home and possessions did not, along with 173 people, 11800 head of livestock, 2029 houses and 450,000ha of land and I WILL NEVER FORGET. Most especially I will never forget the culpability of the authorities who contributed to the disaster through the implementation of forest management policies that have placed deranged ideology over and above human safety. They have in their ignorance and stupidity even placed totally defective environmentalist ideology above the welfare of the environment because the ultimate outcome of these do-not-touch-nature dictates has been that untold amounts more damage and death has been visited upon flora and fauna than would have occurred if the forests had been touched by and managed by human hands, guided by genuine sensitivity and intelligence.

    242

    • #
      Annie

      Exactly mc. Around here they have spent funds on prissy bushwalks and play facilities but not on keeping roadside brush growth under control. The roads need to be clear for safe escape when needed. After the fires the roadsides were all burnt clear and it presumably would have been simple to keep new growth down. It hasn’t been kept clear so now there is a huge fuel load again.

      We are still setting up our new house. It’s built of Timbercrete which is reckoned to be both insulating and resistant to fire. I just hope it doesn’t have to be put to the test but it’s dry here and we get very windy days so I guess it’s more when than if.

      We were in England at the time of the 2009 fires but know a lot of people around here who, like you, lived through those fires and many too lost their homes and possessions. Some, amazingly, managed to survive and save their homes. They certainly don’t forget and one yesterday said to me that she felt a dreadful shiver when she saw the reports on the Yarloop fire.

      132

      • #
        J PAK

        Annie, you’ll be fine in a fire with blocks made of sand, cement and sawdust. I’ve made caste in-situ blocks at 10% sawdust but abandoned the idea when water damage caused the blocks to swell and disintegrate so build good eves and seal with EarthBond emulsion or similar water-proofing agent. I have seen early Timbercrete blocks fall apart with moisture and also suffer termite attack on one building site. The guy who came up with the idea was a potter and not a builder but he’s marketed the idea well.
        Your issue may be more one of ensuring that embers cannot blow up into the roof space via the open ends of corrugated iron (for e.g.).
        Remember that glass will shatter due to sudden radiant heat stresses during a fire-storm so having non combustible window covers is a good idea.

        10

        • #
          Annie

          Thanks JPAK. We are in the process of sealing, etc. There are good eaves and it is on a solid slab. Most windows have an external wire mesh. There was a lot of planning to take account of fire risk. There is also a large area of grass around and orchards either end. We do have huge river red gums along the roadside….these do worry me with their tendency to drop so much litter and small to large branches.

          10

      • #
        mc

        Hi Annie. You say you are setting up your new house, I hope you weren’t burnt out too.

        10

        • #
          Annie

          Hello mc. No, the house is replacing an old one that was poorly insulated and had become unpleasantly vermin-infested in the wake of the fires. They came very near, up to a neighbours fence, and I found embers around the paddocks. Our daughter’s horse had a burnt nose, presumably from investigating one, perhaps that’s why we didn’t burn, who knows?

          10

    • #
      Yonniestone

      Very sorry for your losses mc, I’ll never forget that day either as the conditions were akin to a giant fan forced oven, while we were spared the horrors of a fire in those conditions I couldn’t imagine what others went through trying to function in such extremes.

      I share your distain for those that cannot see natures realities beyond their beliefs surrounding the green pseudo religion that has festered like a boil on the butt of humanity for many years, the idea of protecting ‘significant roadside vegetation’ simply creates fire corridors of fuel that consist of common grasses, scrub bushes and gums that are actually ‘significant roadside fire hazards’

      Lord Monckton has spent time in South Australia with farmers helping to fight wind farm development and agenda 21 based laws that hinder and stop farmers managing their land, one discovery was the planting of Spiny Acacia bushes along the roadsides, this Acacia is know as the kerosene bush for obvious reasons, what’s the agenda behind that?

      132

      • #
        mc

        Giant fan forced oven describes it well. One woman I know survived with her children by crawling down a wombat hole!

        20

    • #
      Robert O

      I agree entirely with your comments which are true. But the caffe latte drinkers of Southbank voted in Adam Bandt as their federal member, and isn’t the new greens leader a Victorian Senator? Let’s forget about Senator SHY from S. Aust., but this is where the rubbish and influence emanates. The point is that the Greens have managed to convince the city electorates that they can do there bit for nature whilst enjoying their A/C, hospital access, good schools, the trappings of urban life at the same time.

      When the World Heritage forests burn, due to neglect, where will Bob Brown and Christine Milne be? Probably still living off their parliamentary pensions somewhere. Their saving grace is that lightning strikes are usually associated with rain in Tasmania and dry storms are very rare.

      91

  • #
    handjive

    O/T

    Don’t believe in yourself
    Don’t deceive with belief
    Knowledge comes
    with death’s release

    I’m not a prophet
    or a stone age man
    Just a mortal
    with the potential of a superman

    - “Quicksand” 1971. David Bowie

    Thank you, David Bowie. RIP

    70

  • #
    Wayne Job

    I survived the Ash wednesday fires in Vic my property was backed by the state forest where the fires started. I had a house built in around 1840, i prepared my house property and the council nature strip very carefully over a few years. I stayed with my family at my home for I knew we were safe,it was a harrowing day and had to hug trees to stop from being blown away by the wind.
    My place survived and all the houses around me for a great distance burnt down. It is called doing the right thing for prevention of fire. Some people never learn the lessons of history.

    190

  • #
    Peter Shaw

    “Current fuel loads are now typically 30 tonnes per hectare in the forests of southeast Australia…”
    1t wood as cellulose = 44/30 t CO2.

    30t x 1E3 kg/1E4 m2 * 44/30 = 4½ kg/m2 CO2.

    400 ppmv atmospheric CO2 = 400E-6 * 44/29 * 1E4 kg/m2 = 6 kg/m2 CO2.

    Remarkable.

    30

    • #
      Bobl

      That’s gotta be wrong, one large tree is 30 tonnes. Trees grow perfectly at 10m spacing so there can be 100 major trees per ha with scrub below in the understory. I’d estimate 300-1000T biomass per ha minimum.

      40

      • #
        TdeF

        30tons per hectare at 30 tons per tree? Sure the tree is half water but the rest is wood
        and that is roughly one big tree per hectare, average 100 metres from one tree to the next.
        That is not a forest.

        40

  • #
    James Murphy

    The hypocrisy and indeed, racism, is astounding to behold.

    As others have said, fire-stick farming (or whatever name you want to give it) has been practiced for tens of thousands of years by humans living in Australia, which is an example of human impact on the environment – so claims that the Aboriginal way of life was ‘in harmony’ with nature can be considered false, as they did indeed adapt the land to their needs.

    By demanding that land remain untouched, the faux-environmentalists are doing the very things which they abhor – dismissing key aspects of an ancient culture, and operating under the assumption that “white people” know better.

    Of course it’s all made better by starting numerous presentations/events with a contrived and forced acknowledgement of the “traditional owners” – itself a sick parody of equality, not to mention the ‘freak show’ or court jester aspects inherent in getting someone to publicly perform a sacred ritual for the purposes of titillation and to temporarily assuage national guilt. Personally, I do not need to be told to ‘take a moment to recognise and respect the traditional owners’, because I already know that there were people in Australia before Europeans turned up, and that they have a fundamentally different, but still, a sophisticated, and complex culture to that of Europeans, or indeed, post “stone-age” cultures.

    80

    • #
      tom0mason

      Just one thing James,

      “…fire-stick farming (or whatever name you want to give it) has been practiced for tens of thousands of years by humans living…”

      …everywhere!

      70

  • #
    J PAK

    The pictures of Yarloop show utter devastation. I can see no corrugated iron water tanks there and heard TV comments about the settlement’s water supply running dry. It strikes me as odd that every house did not have a sensible fire tank given that in living memory the place had been wiped out by fire.
    I live on a hill in the Blue Mtns of Sydney in an extremely exposed position but have various tanks, pumps (electric and petrol), two electricity generators, roof sprinklers and a gravity tank on a high stand at the highest part of the property with 1700 gallons of fire reserve which can run my “Monsoon” sprinklers for at least quarter of an hour.

    Perhaps local Councils and Fire Brigades could advise residents on a sensible plan for the rebuilt Yarloop.

    130

    • #

      Yes JPAK, good preparation. Another thought a pool is a good source of water. I had one in the Hills district of Sydney holding about 70,000 gals. The Rural Fire brigade like to know about pools and have pumps to either use directly to fight fire near houses or fill the tanks on their vehicles. Unfortunately, with one of the major bushfires near my home when many houses were lost the new pump on the firetruck did not work and the vehicle with all its passengers went back to base leaving us to do what we could.

      20

      • #
        J PAK

        Kurrajong, NSW has a large municipal water tower sited on a high point so all houses can have access to water even when the power is down.
        In W.Au I notice that after both the 1961 and 2016 fires, brick chimneys “survived”. Logic says that in a hot and fire prone climate, double brick is a reasonable investment. Light weight timber framed houses with tin rooves start looking expensive if you have to rebuild them every 55 years.

        10

  • #
    Ursus Augustus

    Another example of what is indeed a man made circumstance, in this case “white” man made due to lack of prudent burning, being interpreted as manifesting as ‘global wrming’ rather than a local phenomenon.

    The archetype of this is the UHI signal polluting the land thermometer record and then being disproportionaltely extrapolated in its effect.

    Man made distortion of the sea based record (which used temperatures to manage fuel input into steam boilers and diesel engines, cooling system effectiveness being greatly dominated by sea-system temperature differential) is also reasonably attributable to a downward bias going back in time, the modern buoy and automatic instruments being much more accurate.

    60

  • #
    MarkMcD

    In 9183 and 2009 (Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday) fuel loads were high in Victoria due to green influences on cold burn programs.

    It seems difficult to get greenie types to understand the minor inconvenience to Quolls and Numbats etc is a price worth paying when compared to the sterilisation of life that occurs when fire starts feeding itself with oxygen & racing across the country at 100 km/h.

    In these hot fires the ground gets sterilised down 15 cm or more due to the intense heat. Corpses are everywhere. Controlld burns over winter move slow enough all the wildlife can move out of the way.

    It should be a high priority in Australia (and probably California etc.) to ensure our dollars are spent on protection of life and property instead of ‘green projects’ to assuage the city folk guilt.

    71

    • #
      Dennis

      The Greens vote nationally is less than 15 per cent and ranges as low as 8 per cent. But they are cunning and clever and they have infiltrated local government and to a lesser extent state governments and, due to their alliance with Labor and the Unions, they have far greater influence than they should have based on their electoral support.

      Add the costs of extreme greenism to taxpayers.

      To quote Tony Abbott who said: “I will not stand for socialism masquerading as environmentalism”.

      111

      • #
        Dennis

        I should have added that the union movement receives substantial funding by way of government grants (federal and state) when Labor Governments are in office. Grants applied for by unions for all kinds of stated purposes. Grants that according to former Treasury senior executive, Dr.Des Moore who wrote a book about his experiences during the Hawke & Keating Labor years, is “money laundering” of taxpayer’s monies, grants returned to the ALP as donations for party political purposes, directly or indirectly via union election campaign advertising.

        Please note that the extreme Greens receive union donations too.

        50

        • #
          TdeF

          As I have written before, only about 8 Labor members of the House of Representatives have been elected outright. All others are dependent on Green preferences. This was not the case with Liberals or Nationals. It explains why Labor are desperate to please the Greens and even the M*slim vote and any extremist group. Collectively they all deliver political power, which is why every Victorian family is paying $500 to not build a funded and desperately needed road link under a cemetery to take 40,000 cars a day off our inner city roads. What is amazing is that the Liberals are now under Malcolm trying to please the Greens and the ABC and fringe groups, even though they won by a landslide. The mistake in removing Tony Abbott and chasing the fringe vote is that the two sides stand for nothing themselves. It is all about the swinging voters, not a mandate of any kind. So windmills and solar cells and disastrous bushfires for everyone, just to please the inner city Green fantasists living on imported lentils and iPhones and riding Chinese bicycles.

          130

  • #
    Doug Cotton

    I believe country towns should be built entirely within a surrounding circular (or square) road that could be used by through traffic, rather like a huge roundabout. On the outside of this road the firebreak would extend for a certain distance with cleared land used only for grazing, not crops. Wherever possible they should be built in valleys with creeks or rivers passing through them, and there should be a large central playing field area, perhaps with a public swimming complex in the centre of it.

    20

    • #
      Annie

      Lining the perimeters with deciduous trrees might not be a bad idea too. Even if they are damaged thay can trap blown embers without burning badly. The oak trees in Marysville were damaged but largely survived the devastation. Why are they and plane and other leafy, slow/non-burning trees and shrubs not used more around human settlements? On second thoughts, don’t tell me…political correctness run rampant in accordance with Greenie/Lefty ideals.

      12

  • #
    el gordo

    Fire Stick Critic

    ‘The fire stick farming model, which suggests that Aborigines changed the frequency and nature of fires in order to manipulate animal and plant resources, is now widely accepted in Australian phehistory.

    ‘A re-examination of the biological evidence suggests that Aboriginal use of fire had little impact on the environment and that the patterns of distribution of plants and animals which obtained 200 years ago would have been essentially the same whether or not Aborigines had previously been living here.

    ‘It is further suggested that ‘fire stick farming’, had it been attempted, would in fact have been counter productive economically because of the adverse effects it would have had upon small species of animals. Aborigines observed and made use of an existing natural fire regime in Australia, they did not attempt to develop a new one.’

    D R Horton 2010

    11

    • #
      Dennis

      Horton is wrong, there are many accounts of land management including the use of controlled burning by early settlers and other evidence gathered since the white man colonised the indigenous people’s lands. Too many modern Australians were indoctrinated by white history claims that are now being exposed as politically based spin. Few new settlers wanted to admit that the Aboriginals were intelligent and resourceful people who had survived at least 50,000 years of at times dramatic changes including long periods of drought.

      I was discussing bushfires with a farmer from far Western New South Wales recently and he told me about his grandfather saving a large mob of Sheep when one of the worst known fires passed through the district in the late 1800s. The Sheep were driven to an ancient Aboriginal camp site, a rocky area with a permanent water hole and a small cave where the walls were used to sharpen tools. I have been there to see the campsite. The Sheep survived because the area is on a clay pan with little vegetation and therefore fire resistant. The grandfather was cranky despite saving his Sheep because he left his best Kangaroo hide whip on a fence post while opening a gate.

      Obviously the Aboriginal people chose that campsite with local knowledge too.

      70

      • #
        el gordo

        That’s a terrific story and adds weight to the accepted theory that the original inhabitants became part of the land, adapting to each environment as they traveled south over thousands of years.

        10

  • #
    pat

    our MSM has often touted the ***Carnegie wave energy project at Garden Island, WA, but I just noticed this:

    18 Dec: Hydroworld: Michael Harris: Assets from wave energy developer Aquamarine Energy on sale
    Intellectual property assets from wave energy developer Aquamarine Power are now on sale, following the company’s fall into administration earlier this year…
    The Edinburgh-based technology developer said it has already invested more than US$134 million into developing the Oyster units through collaborations with ***Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd. and Bosch Rexroth, and testing at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)…
    http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2015/12/assets-from-wave-energy-developer-aquamarine-energy-on-sale.html

    meanwhile, some websites were claiming this week that Carnegie was supplying electricity to Australians! sounds somewhat premature!

    Reddit/Waking Times etc: “Australia First to Receive Electricity Using Zero-emission Wave Energy Generators”

    Oct 2015: ABC: World-first wave power microgrid to be trialled in WA
    By Emily Piesse
    A WA energy company is about to trial the world’s first renewable microgrid power station using wave energy as one of its sources.
    Perth-based Carnegie Wave Energy will build the pilot project on Garden Island, using wave and solar energy to supply power to the Defence Department and a desalination plant.
    Chief executive Michael Ottaviano said the technology could be used to provide power to regional townships near the coast, as well as island communities…
    Western Power is partnering with Carnegie and will provide technical expertise on the project.
    The microgrid, which will cost up to $10 million to build, will produce about five megawatts of energy, a significant portion of the Defence Department’s electricity use on Garden Island…
    Carnegie will undertake a detailed design phase before construction begins next year.
    The microgrid is due to be completed by the end of 2016.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-29/world-first-wave-power-microgrid-to-be-trialled-in-wa/6896994

    Carnegie has allegedly spent well over $100 million to date in WA, plus CleanTechnica wrote on 2 Nov 2015 in a piece headlined “Carnegie To Create World’s First Wave-Integrated Renewable Energy Microgrid”:

    “Detailed design of the project is targeted for completion in mid-2016. It will be developed with the support of the Australian Department of Defence – who occupy a base on Garden Island – and and will be funded through a combination of equity, debt and grant funding, including a five-year, $20 million loan facility from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and an $11 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency…”

    is this money well spent?

    20

  • #
    pat

    PDF: 23 pages: 11 Jan: Thomson Reuters: Carbon Market Monitor: America to the rescue
    Review of global markets in 2015 and outlook for 2016-2018
    1.America to the rescue
    GLOBAL VOLUMES SHRINK IN 2015, BUT BOOM IN NORTH AMERICAN TRADING LIFTS TURNOVER…
    2.Europe
    In 2015, the EU’s carbon market saw a 29 percent rise in the average EUA price of (??) compared to the previous year, continuing the upwards trend from 2014. Traded volume on the other hand dropped by 29 percent. The interplay of these developments caused
    the overall market value to shrink 8 percent year-on-year to €37 billion…
    In the secondary market, exchange-based transactions were down by 32 percent to 3.9 Gt in 2015, while the volume of over-thecounter (OTC) transactions dropped by 37 percent compared to the previous year (see Table 2.1)…
    7.CDM
    SUDDEN DEMAND FROM AUSTRALIA
    In the autumn of 2015 Australian landfills suddenly showed interest in CERs. Back in 2013 they collected millions of dollars from customers in view of a transfer to the Australian government as part of the Australian Carbon Pricing Mechanism. When the mechanism was dismantled in 2014 they were left with money that could not easily be given back to each individual customer, the government therefore decided that the landfill owners should use this money on climate activities or buy international climate credits.
    http://trmcs-documents.s3.amazonaws.com/3501ec8eae589bfbef9cc1729a7312f0_20160111104949_Carbon%20Market%20Review%202016_1.5.pdf

    ***China often makes abrupt changes to policies even after rules and guidelines have been published! unlike the EU?

    11 Jan: ReutersCarbonPulse: Stian Reklev: China unlikely to launch national ETS on time -analysts
    China is unlikely to meet its goal of launching its national carbon market next year as a lengthy legislative process and regulatory uncertainties are expected to cause delays, analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said…
    The law is being drafted by the NDRC but several other bodies, including the Ministry of Finance and the China Securities Commission, will chime in before the law goes to the legislative office of the State Council, China’s cabinet.
    The analysts also pointed out that ***China often makes abrupt changes to policies even after rules and guidelines have been published, and they said any such moves in relation to the carbon market might hamper the implementation of China’s national ETS.
    Issues concerning reliable data for all the emitters have yet to be resolved, raising questions over the allocation process, they added…
    The report also warned that a number of CCER projects might be left stranded as the government has not made any consideration as to whether offset projects are implemented in ETS or non-ETS sectors.
    Point Carbon said 369 registered and planned projects have the potential to generate nearly 48 million CCERs annually, but that many of those are in ETS sectors and might run into problems depending on how China addresses the double-counting issue…
    http://carbon-pulse.com/14085/

    00

  • #
    Rocky

    Fuel Load – Get A T Shirt with “FUEL LOAD” on it and see how many greenies start !

    20

  • #
    pat

    oh no – wind & solar sales might not pan out!

    11 Jan: ClimateChangeNews: Alex Pashley: Brazil climate plan on standby as Rousseff totters
    Brasilia is too preoccupied with economic crisis and attempts to impeach the president to push the low carbon agenda
    Brazil was a key broker of 2015’s landmark global warming accord in Paris.
    Meanwhile at home, political convulsions and the worst economic slump in 25 years are stopping the major carbon polluter from getting to work on its pledges…
    At the same time, it chokes off funds for low carbon investment and raises pressure to scale back environmental regulations seen as cumbersome for business like soy and beef producers…
    Brazil’s target to eliminate illegal tree-cutting in the Amazon and restore forests the size of Pennsylvania by 2030 is under threat…
    ***Scaling up renewable power is also central to Brazil’s commitments. A major roll-out of wind and solar power are planned to meet a target for non-hydro renewable sources to provide 23% of power supply by 2030.
    Falling investor confidence and a weakened currency (the real was the worst performing in 2015 among major currencies, losing a third of its value against the dollar) could disrupt the plans…
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/01/11/brazil-crisis-puts-climate-plan-on-ice-analysts/

    10

  • #
    Terry Edmett

    Great article and so true – the ever increasing layers of bureaucracy stifle any intelligent thinking on the topic.
    In 1974 a fire came straight for my house on the afternoon sea breeze and we only have rainwater tanks, no scheme water. So I lit up along the fire break so it burned slowly into the wind then went up wind and started another row of fire on the vacant land and so on – when the main fire arrived there was no fuel so it went out and the house survived. These days I would doubtless be fined heavily for doing so.

    Where I come from on the Eastern border of what is now Zimbabwe there was no water so the 50 mile fire fronts that came through from Mozambique could only be fought by fire. We saw pictures of people trapped in a car in recent fires in Australia and sadly not surviving but we were told in Africa that if on a road and a fire was imminent then it was advisable to light up a fire on the downwind side of the road about 30+ meters in length and drive on to the burned area even if losing a tyre from embers in the process. With no fuel around the main fire would not be as much of a problem.

    Now of course I am not allowed to ‘burn off’ without ‘running water’ and lots of permits and people in attendance while Councils listen to ‘greenies’ who decry burning as it will “Destroy the Environment” which is exactly what actually happens in a hot burn from the massive fuel load on the ground that arises from their policies.

    The Roleystone fire in 2011 started around mid day and by 3.30 or so had gone down the Brookton Valley on a howling Easterly wind and had crossed into Kelmscott but was then put out after losing 70+ houses – my friend lost his business office as well as his house and new car – at 6.30 that evening the police came round and ordered me to leave the house so I spent the next two days sleeping on the floor at a friend’s house with my Siamese cat in a harness on a lead. I had to go via back roads to Roleystone to ask why I was not allowed to return home as the police still had the roads blocked. The fire officers seemed surprised and got on the phone so I was allowed back shortly after. Clearly no coordination or communication, only bureaucratic authoritarianism and the assumption that the public are all of sub zero IQ. Sad.

    Terry
    W.A.

    110

    • #

      A very interesting perspective Terry. Thanks!

      40

    • #
      J PAK

      Thanks for your African perspective.
      Sadly, we are breeding people to be lemmings in Au. Few people would consider driving into a grass-fire front and out the other side onto black ground. In the fire brigades this is often done in open grassland as the air on the black side is usually relatively clear of smoke and is cooler. It’s easier to drive a 13 ton Isuzu over ground that is devoid of grass-cover because you can see tree-stumps and rabbit burrows and its safer for the crew.

      The current W.Au fires are a different matter altogether. Basically, we cannot fight the fires and even burning back into them is not possible in such hot, dry, windy conditions.

      Like you, we now have all sorts of middle-class twits inventing Monty Pythonesque ideas surrounding the fire issue.

      30

  • #
    pat

    Obama a hypocrite? you won’t hear that on “their ABC”:

    10 Jan: WSJ: Keystone No, Kenya Pipeline Yes
    The U.S. says it wants to help finance an oil pipeline in Africa
    It may not come up in the litigation, but someone should point out that the same Obama Administration that rejected Keystone seems to have no problem supporting a new oil pipeline project in Africa.
    That was the story last week out of Kenya, where U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec told Kenya’s energy minister that Washington would help Nairobi raise $18 billion to finance its PowerAfrica project…
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/keystone-no-kenya-pipeline-yes-1452466626

    7 Jan: OilPrice: Andy Tully: Washington To Help Kenya Raise $18 Billion For Oil Pipeline
    The U.S. government says it will help Kenya get the financing it needs to build an $18 billion pipeline from the oil fields in the country’s northwest to its southeastern Indian Ocean coast to help it become a net exporter of oil.
    The pipeline would stretch nearly 500 miles from Lokichar in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley to the coastal town of Lamu, and would be an almost impossibly expensive project for the East African nation. Yet there is enough oil there to make the plan worthwhile…
    In order to get the project moving, U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec met Tuesday with Kenya’s energy secretary, Alfred Keter, telling him that Washington would help Nairobi find the $18 billion it will need to build a pipeline that would move its oil to the coast and, from there, to foreign customers. The initiative is known as PowerAfrika…
    Keter said he hoped the U.S. commitment to financing the pipeline would end Tullow’s reluctance to begin drilling in an oil-rich area and help the Kenyan government keep its promise to modernize the country.
    http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Washington-To-Help-Kenya-Raise-18-Billion-For-Oil-Pipeline.html

    10

  • #
    Dean

    Its all in the name.

    Instead of calling large wooded areas forests, we should name them almost-fossil fuels. And possible release a plan showing the extraction of these fuels in 100 years or so.

    Next step is to show how regular burning ensures these future fossil fuels will never be available and the green blob will be joyful fuel reduction burning advocates.

    40

  • #
    Leanne

    I remember Roger Underwood from childhood days in Pemberton. He foresaw exactly what was going to happen here in the various regions of the South West of WA due to changes in prescribed burning and such and sadly, its come to pass. How frustrating for Roger. Its a pity his continual warnings were not heeded. “Flaming Idiocy” is a great article (as are all his articles).

    20

  • #
    Turtle of WA

    On a lighter note, and sorry for going off thread for this comic relief, I’m happy to inform everyone that the warmies are now tattooing themselves for future identification. This is a good move.

    40

    • #
      Dennis

      The Eco Cruxafix?

      10

    • #
      Yonniestone

      “Well she’s gettin a tattoo yeah she’s gettin ink done, she asked for a thirteen but they drew a thirty one, friends say she’s trying too hard and she’s not quite hip, but in her own mind she’s the dopest trip!”

      h/t lyrics to The Offspring, Pretty Fly (for a white guy)

      20

    • #
      Annie

      Thanks for one laugh today! She’d better make the most of it while she still knows everything, ;)

      10

      • #
        Turtle of WA

        She says she didn’t know those numbers before she got to Paris, and didn’t want to forget them. She tattooed herself with “355<". The less than belongs before the number. This is what belief is all about, 'knowing' without finding out. And being innumerate.

        20

    • #
      Turtle of WA

      H/t Tim Blair.

      00

  • #
    Robber

    The final report of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commssion.
    Prescribed burning is one of the main tools for fire management on public land. It cannot prevent bushfire, but it decreases fuel loads and so reduces the spread and intensity of bushfires. By reducing the spread and intensity of bushfires, it also helps protect flora and fauna. Ironically, maintaining pristine forests untouched by fuel reduction can predispose those forests to greater destruction in the event of a bushfire.

    About 7.7 million hectares of public land in Victoria is managed by DSE. This area includes national parks, state forests and reserves, of which a large portion is forested and prone to bushfire. DSE burns only 1.7 per cent (or 130,000 hectares) of this public land each year. This is well below the amount experts and previous inquiries have suggested is needed to reduce bushfire and environmental risks in the long term.
    Among 67 recommendations:
    The State introduce a comprehensive approach to evacuation, so that this option is planned, considered and implemented when it is likely to offer a higher level of protection than other contingency options. The approach should:
    • encourage individuals—especially vulnerable people—to relocate early
    • include consideration of plans for assisted evacuation of vulnerable people
    • recommend ‘emergency evacuation’.

    The State fund and commit to implementing a long-term program of prescribed burning based on an annual rolling target of 5 per cent minimum of public land.

    The State:
    • amend the Victoria Planning Provisions to require that, when assessing a permit to remove native vegetation around an existing dwelling, the responsible authority and the Department of Sustainability and Environment, as referral authority, take into account fire hazard and give weight to fire protection purposes
    • develop guidelines for determining the maximum level of native vegetation removal for bushfire risk mitigation, beyond which level the application would be rejected.

    Will we ever learn?

    30

    • #
      David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

      G’day Robber,
      If burning only provides 7 years’ protection, then you’d need to burn, on average, 15% each year to maintain that level. I suggest that to achieve that you’d actually have to target at least 20% each year to allow for unsuitable weather at otherwise usable times.
      The reports I recall give apologetic explanations of why low targets have not been met. And give areas burnt in hectares, which give large enough numbers to sound impressive, without describing the effectiveness of the operation.
      Cheers,
      Dave B

      20

  • #
    pat

    12 Jan: The West: WA rejected NSW water plane
    by Geoffrey Thomas and Natalie Richard
    Yesterday, DFES Commissioner Wayne Gregson admitted that NSW fire authorities offered two water bombers, a DC-10 and a much smaller C-130, to help with firefighting efforts in the South West but they were turned down.
    The DC-10 tanker can carry 43,000 litres of water, more than six times the largest asset in DFES’ fleet, the Sikorsky S64 helicopter.
    Mr Gregson said the aircraft could only have operated from Busselton, Pearce or Perth airports and that DFES did not believe they would have made a difference in fighting the huge blaze.
    “If they left from Busselton, they have to have a reduced load, which means they’re not as effective,” he said.
    “If they left from Pearce, it means you’ve got a 21/2-(hour) turnaround time…
    Aviation officials in Sydney dispute this, saying the turnaround time is much faster.
    Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis referred questions fromThe West Australian on the DC-10 decision to DFES…
    Aviation consultant and former airline chief Michael Macaulay said the DC-10 would have made a big difference.
    “It’s a no-brainer and the Government has been advised in the past of the obvious need for a large super tanker as used in other States and throughout the world, but they have chosen to ignore the issue,” he said…
    https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/30548323/wa-rejected-nsw-water-plane/

    20

  • #
    pat

    MSM loving this. absolves the politicians, financial sector!

    12 Jan: DNA India: PTI: Climate change inflicts $1.5 trillion loss on the middle class between 1980 and 2014
    Swiss financial services major UBS has said the climate change inflicted a whopping $1.5 trillion loss on the middle-class across the globe between 1980 and 2014, and another $32 billion in the first six months of 2015 which was the hottest year on record.
    “Consumption patterns of those living in cities which are most at risk for climate change significantly….A whopping $1.5 trillion of wealth of the middle class has been lost to climate change across the globe between 1980 and 2014,” UBS said in a report released from Zurich on Monday.
    The losses are high for a vast majority living in cities, especially in South Asia, which is home to the largest number of global middle class, as most people there are not insured against natural calamities, the report noted…
    http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-climate-change-inflicts-15-trillion-loss-on-the-middle-class-between-1980-and-2014-2164576

    20

  • #
    pat

    whatever…

    11 Jan: WaPo: Chris Mooney: The surprising way that huge icebergs slow down climate change
    New research, however, suggests that while global warming is probably leading to more gigantic icebergs breaking off of Antarctica (and more icebergs in general), there could be a silver lining. A fascinating and unexpected process occurs as these city- or small-country-sized masses travel across the ocean, one that spurs the growth of tiny marine organisms and actually stores carbon in the deep sea, blunting the strength of global warming — a little bit, anyway…
    “It is a negative feedback, it is going to take carbon out of my system, it is going to slow down the rate at which carbon dioxide is increasing,” says Grant Bigg of the University of Sheffield in the UK, a co-author of the new study just out in Nature Geoscience. Bigg conducted the work with two university colleagues…
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/01/11/the-surprising-way-that-huge-icebergs-slow-down-climate-change-a-little/

    20

  • #
    pat

    12 Jan: The West: Daniel Emerson: Fuel loads plan placed on poll backburner
    The State Government has put off enacting sweeping changes to WA’s emergency services legislation to reduce Statewide fuel loads until after the next election.
    Sources yesterday confirmed that amalgamated legislation replacing three separate Acts dating back as far as 1942 would not go to Cabinet before March 2017…
    The model proposed significant changes, including binding State and local governments to the same fuel reduction obligations as private landowners and beefing up DFES power to insist the work be carried out.
    Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said the amalgamation process was very complicated and consultation was continuing.
    He played down the safety implications of the legislation.
    “At the end of the day it is legislative housekeeping which would make absolutely no difference whatsoever to the ability of DFES and other agencies to fight a bushfire,” he said…
    Former DFES superintendent Merv Austic said the department had applied for funding to employ 42 bushfire mitigation officers to carry out “tenure blind” risk assessments and prescribed burning plans after Mr Keelty’s reports but was granted cash to hire just seven…
    https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/30545701/fuel-loads-plan-is-placed-fuel-loads-plan-placed-on-poll-backburner/

    12 Jan: The West: Daniel Emeerson: WA needs bushfire answers
    WA now appears to be a place where massive bushfires destroy entire communities and kill people. It wasn’t always so.
    Is the answer climate change, with fewer drenching rains each year creating a tinderbox undergrowth?
    Is it that efforts to make all landowners, including the Crown, responsible for reducing fuel loads are not proceeding fast enough?…
    https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/30548268/emerson-comment-wa-neeeds-bushfire-answers/

    20

  • #
    pat

    a revolving door story, online at many renewables websites for up to 19 hours, but not being reported as yet by the MSM!

    11 Jan: WindPowerMonthly: RenewableUK names DECC director as new CEO
    Hugh McNeal will take up his new position in April, taking over from Maria McCaffery, who has been in charge since 2006…
    McNeal has been a civil servant in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) since April 2010.
    He served as chief executive for renewable energy deployment at Decc between 2010 and 2014 and was acting director-general of markets and infrastructure for five months between October 2014 and February 2015, when he was appointed director of change.
    McNeal has also served in the UK government’s deparment of business, innovation and skills as deputy director of low carbon business from 2008 to 2010…
    Undoubtedly, McNeal’s government-insider knowledge, contacts and political know-how will be invaluable to the trade body to lobby for renewable energy in the UK…
    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1378857/renewableuk-names-decc-director-new-ceo

    20

  • #
    pat

    don’t know why this didn’t show up in searches on Alongi until today.
    nowhere is “climate science”, “climate scientist” or “climate change” mentioned, but quite a bit of detail worth reading:

    10 Jan: Guardian: Joshua Robertson: Scientist on Great Barrier Reef research body alleged to have fabricated expenses
    Daniel Alongi accused of scamming more than half a million dollars by claiming non-existent purchases and analysis over seven years
    The supervisor, who considered these discounts “reason enough” to waive the institute’s regular purchasing procedures amid “generally slim research funds”, allegedly blew the whistle after noticing last year that her signature approving some of his claims appeared to be forged…
    It also alleged that an extract of Alongi’s work computer showed he had created a fake invoice, receipt and credit card account reflecting a non-existent transaction with US chemical giant DuPont.
    The AFP told the court in its submission that 45 of the 89 authorisations for expenses attributed to Alongi’s supervisor Britta Shaffelke “appear to be forgeries”…
    Both DuPont and Pace, another US company that Alongi claimed to have placed orders with, denied any knowledge of “the transactions described in the purchase receipts attributed to them”, the AFP alleged.
    The submission by the AFP contains no allegations about Alongi’s motive but notes he has told Aims that he is “undertaking mental health assessments”….
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/11/scientist-on-great-barrier-reef-research-body-alleged-to-have-fabricated-expenses

    20

  • #
    Sunray

    Thank you Jo, perhaps it is about time that a Royal Commission could be held into the criminal neglect, forced upon society by the treacherous, secret agenda driven, totalitarian Greens.

    21

  • #
    el gordo

    This story is a year old, but gives a rough idea of where NSW is heading and presumably the other states would follow if it proves successful.

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-state-election-2015/nsw-state-election-2015-native-vegetation-to-get-the-chop-as-baird-rolls-backs-protections-conservationists-say-20150325-1m7bsu.html

    00

  • #
    toorightmate

    Structures in forests are sometimes destroyed by fire.
    Structures on river flood plains are sometimes flooded.
    Structures in earthquake zones are sometimes destroyed.

    Why on earth do these thing just happen?

    00

  • #
    Greg K

    When the first European settlers arrived in Australia the settlers remarked on the open parklands in both areas, grass with scattered trees not thick forests. The displacement of aborigines and consequent change in land management to a European approach led to the development/re-establishment of forests and a higher danger of intense fires.

    To quote a certain James Cook from 1770 ….” the woods are free from underwood of every kind..” or Sydney Parkinson, Joseph Bank’s draughtsman..”the trees, quite free from underwood, appeared like plantations in a gentlemen’s park”.

    Areas of what are now scrub heath close to the coast in the SW of West Australia used to be grassland.

    There was thick forest, but not where people lived.

    We have quickly forgotten a land management system that evolved over more than 50,000 years and replaced it with a system more suitable for European forests and which does not work.

    20

  • #
    Jarrah Jack

    The comment ‘The ecological implications of prescribed burning, however, remain contentious’ must be questioned. This is a line that the greens and antiburning people have been spouting for years. When asked to provide scientific evidence to support this claim, there is always no response. The detailed research by WA Forests Dept and its successors, over a 80 plus year period have found no evidence of biodiversity loss. In fact WA Parks and Wildlife, in conjuction with Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre released a detailed report recently specifying that – “The possible negative impacts on biodiversity of regular fuel reduction burning are a frequent issue of concern raised by those opposed to the practice. DEC has recently released the results of a major research project studying the effect of a range of fire intervals on biodiversity in jarrah forest and adjacent shrublands that conclusively shows that there is no detrimental effect”. (The work is reported in Fire Note 64, published by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre. The full report can be viewed at http://www.bushfirecrc.com.).
    Grant (NZ) was correct when he said ‘Just clearing round your own dwelling is still not a guarantee”. Too many people living in highly vulnerable bush sites are lulled into a false sense of security by maintaining a 20m Building Protection Zone, and building to AS 3959 standards. If there are hundreds of metres of bush with high fuel loads outside the BPZ, a fire will pass through the BPZ and house without slowing.
    Until local governments begin to enforce proper strategic hazard reduction programmes across the lands under their control, more towns like Yarloop and properties will be destroyed. Why havent the lessons of previous major fires been learnt. How many more inquiries and royal commissions do we need before proper management begins.
    The big question is – what were the ground fuel ages in the areas around and within Yarloop just prior to the recent fire? If no burning was practiced as it should have been , why not, and who was responsible?

    10

  • #
    Jarrah Jack

    Tom Harley needs to find the true facts before throwing stones at people like “Brett Cummins” as he calls him. I doubt Tom has ever been involved in fire and doesnt understand the work that these people do, often over scores of years.
    Brett was exonerated from the Merredin incident in an independent review, as was not directly involved in the Margaret River burn. This fire started as a burn several weeks before but constant showers prevented it being burnt out as it should have been. Check the rainfall figures for that area. Sitting back in his armchair Tom wouldnt understand how weather impacts on these burns. When pockets started to run, staff had to make a decision – try and burn it out quickly, or let it develop and let it run to the boundaries. The local authority he speaks of handed back the reserve to DPaW because it was 30 years old and they didnt know what to do with it. That was the problem and why the fire spread so quickly. The local authority was warned in writing that if they didnt do a significant amount of work at Gnarabup it would be wiped out in a fire, but they did almost nothing.As a result it nearly was.
    [SNIP at Jack's request] Get the facts Tom. How many large bush burns have you and critics actually done?
    It is amazing that anyone would get involved with burning with the lack of support they receive. Of all the burns they do only a small amount escape, and mainly because weather changes so rapidly at times. If no burning is done, fuel will continue to accumulate and major conflagrations will continue to occur. He says that 5% is too small and area being burnt – who is going to do them?

    10

  • #

    [...] on the fires that ate Dwellingup (WA) in 1961. Pictures from Jo Nova. Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogle +1RedditStumbleUpon This entry was posted in Ethics and [...]

    00

  • #

    In BC people are smartening up to realize that fire break open areas around towns and rural residences are a very good idea. (Even keeping shrubbery cleaned out and keeping roof gutters free of conifer needles helps a lot – in Barrier BC I saw intact houses besides the remains of burned ones. But eco-politicians require permits to clear brush from the edge of the property.)

    Otherwise, I’d be interested in fire fighting philosophy (some studies found that hitting fires early and hard was key, BC failed to do that last summer in some cases and did not have enough equipment contracted for standby), and how much aircraft helped.

    (Companies like Erickson Air Crane and Coulson have been putting a few aircraft in AU each season, the S64 heavy helicopter and Hercules/C130 airplane for example. In BC the big dump of the Martin Mars seaplane has been used in past decades but AU is a long ferry flight for it and it needs water to scoop from close by the fire. In the US< CalFire and USFS have been using the very big dump of “Tanker 10”, its operator has at least three of them now. The advantage of aircraft is getting there fast and dumping into terrain difficult for ground crews.)

    00