JoNova

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Fire seasons don’t run around the country lighting fires

Fires

The advertising wing for Big Government is out claiming that our cars cause extended fire seasons. Since they can’t claim that CO2 causes droughts or controls rainfall, there’s not much else they can claim.

But Fire-seasons don’t create bigger fires. The longest fire season in the world is possibly in Marble Bar but that’s not where the pyroconvective monster firestorms are.

If fuel loads were managed, longer fire seasons might allow for more small fires, but they wouldn’t be big bad ones. Plus, there’s the thing that a high fuel load without lightning or an arsonist, is just a forest.

At one point 42% of fires last summer in NSW were man-made. 9% were “natural.

Fire season extends by almost four months in parts of Australia

The fire season in parts of eastern Australia has lengthened by almost four months since the 1950s, with climate change a prominent driver in the trend, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

Karl Braganza, head of the bureau’s climate monitoring, told the first day of public hearings for the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements on Monday that the South Coast of NSW and eastern Victoria now see fire weather arriving three months earlier, occurring towards the end of winter rather than the end of spring.

Fires are not where the heat is, they’re where the fuel is

What you need to know about fires, rain and droughts

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Rating: 9.8/10 (69 votes cast)
Fire seasons don't run around the country lighting fires, 9.8 out of 10 based on 69 ratings

89 comments to Fire seasons don’t run around the country lighting fires

  • #
    Spetzer86

    I’m guessing not a lot can be said about this, but Canada did some looking into similar phenomenon about a decade ago:

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10576100802563214?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=uter20

    50

  • #
    TdeF

    Nothing to do with pyrophytic vegetation then, an Australian phenomenon exported around the world?

    So according to our world leading meteorologists the type of vegetation, the amount of vegetation, the location of vegetation and arson has nothing to do with it. Climate Change causes fires and an alleged 1C change in an average world temperature over 100 years is the entire problem. And a 50% increase in CO2 in 100 years has caused this without question. So we have to drive electric cars and not eat hamburgers. As Greta says, we should listen to the experts.

    However it seems unfair that Australia has to suffer these unprecedented fires when we are the only country which has met and exceeded the agreed reduction in CO2. You would think we would be exempted.

    We’ll just have to blow up more power stations until the fire season goes back to normal. And get everything made in China which doesn’t have bushfires.

    282

    • #
      TdeF

      And with all that rain our experts said would not happen and all the CO2 we generate so thoughtlessly, the trees and forests will return and it will all happen again. The widespread autumn drought the BOM predicted so confidently this year would have had real life saving advantages. So the unusual heavy rain is probably our fault again and we are truly sorry.

      272

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        “Do not pay attention to that little man behind the curtain!”

        -Wizard of Oz

        “Wizard of Oz”

        111

    • #

      they are actually saying that all those things are true which is why we have fire seasons in the first place. This is about the timing of the season not the existence of a combustible landscape and sources of ignition, which are not contested.

      017

      • #
        TdeF

        You could read the title to this thread again.

        92

        • #
          TdeF

          I fact I find it appalling that the Weather Bureau is asked to give evidence as if the weather was someone’s fault and the business of the commission.

          There is a clear implication by the Royal Commission that we humans, especially those in Australia, control the weather in Australia. That is ridiculous.

          Having flown over Australia a thousand times I am amazed that our near invisible presence could possibly influence anything like the weather. We scratch the surface. That’s all and the vast lands of Australia are untouched by man. It was 1988, 200 years after settlement before we had a sealed road around the country. And the CSIRO tried for 50 years to make it rain and failed. Australia’s vast lands and massive surrounding oceans are not in our control. Our CO2 contribution is nothing and disappears. The Royal Commission was not set up to investigate the weather.

          And as for the furphy that the climate is not the weather, what is it if not the weather?

          182

          • #
            TdeF

            However to be fair, 50,000 years of ab*rigines lighting fires did change the climate by destroying the cover, wiping out the megamarsupials and halving the national rainfall and eliminating most non pyrophytic vegetation, maximizing bushfires as endemic. We have done nothing of the sort. If anything, we have removed vast tracts of highly flammable gum filled trees and replaced them with edible grasses or fruit trees or non flammable trees like elms, oaks, plane trees, palms and tried to manage the water resources for year round agriculture and food for 26 million people. And now there are 10x as many ab*riginals and that’s our fault too apparently.

            152

        • #

          and? Jo’s title is about the causes supposedly being ignored or misunderstood by the RC and the recent announcements of extended fire seasons. Your comment

          Nothing to do with pyrophytic vegetation then, an Australian phenomenon exported around the world?

          was addressing Jo’s response to these and that is what I was commenting on. You both seem to be saying that the RC can’t chew gum and walk at the same time. Just because the fire season is extended due to the fuel being combustable for a longer period, does not mean that anyone is ignoring the ignition sources.

          014

          • #

            Gee Aye, since fuel loads are 100 x as important as the length of the fire season, perhaps you could point me at the 100 x news stories on fuel loads that the ABC do that I’ve missed?

            My point was that the length of the fire season is almost irrelevant. The RC needs to consider the most important factor before it wastes time being sidetracked onto “advertising” for climate-parasites.

            201

            • #
              AndyG55

              in years 3 and 4 before last year’s fires their was good rain in many of the bushfire regions, hence strong growth.

              In the 2 years prior to the fires, their was a very significant deficit of rainfall, hence all that strong growth became very dry, even dying off in places,

              Dry eucalyptus leaves are like incendiary devices when ignited!

              That was the reason for the ferocity of the fires.

              Nothing to do with “climate change”

              ALL to do with Australia’s “drought or not” WEATHER patterns.

              141

      • #
        el gordo

        ‘This is about the timing of the season …’

        Fair enough, in your estimation do you think the season is getting longer because of global warming?

        30

        • #

          Unlike other commenters here without all the data and computing power available to researchers, I find it hard to make that judgement.

          28

          • #
            TdeF

            Then it’s just waffle. And computers do not change that, just computerized waffle.

            83

          • #
            el gordo

            If we could look at bushfire seasons in the 19th century I’m convinced there were occasions when they were just as long as this one.

            ‘South Coast of NSW and eastern Victoria now see fire weather arriving three months earlier, occurring towards the end of winter rather than the end of spring.’

            So we have a place, I’ll look for a duplicate.

            10

            • #
              Bill In Oz

              In the 1980′s when I lived in East Gippsland a mate got all the BOM’s rainfall data for Bairnsdale going back about 100 years.
              And using his computer he analysed that data.
              The probability for all the months in a year being in drought or in flood was exactly the same.
              That weather pattern has NOT changed since the 1980′s.
              Droughts and floods are completely unpredictable.
              This weather pattern also applies to the South coast of NSW.

              And from that analysis of the region’s rainfall data, I think we can say that the BOM’s comments to this royal commission as arrant nonsense.

              92

          • #
            el gordo

            Its practically impossible to refute BoM’s claims, there were occasions during the 19th century when conditions were the same, but there is no indication that the bushfire season started earlier.

            The 1938-39 fire may have experienced similar conditions, long drought and searing heat.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_bushfires

            31

          • #
            el gordo

            Mr Leaf I looked back over the second half of the 19th century and found nothing to compare with the 2019-20 early start to the bushfire season. See here in September…

            https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/07/bushfires-rage-across-queensland-and-nsw-destroying-at-least-15-homes

            My conclusion, the large blocking high east of Queensland was the main cause of this horrendous season. Because of its anomalous behaviour I think it may be related to global cooling, aka climate change.

            30

      • #
        R.B.

        A quick search on Trove and 1933 had two large bushfires in mid April and late October in Gippsland. If 0.7°C warming since 1950 increased the bushfire season by 4 months, there should only be a few weeks that are bushfire free.

        I could go through thousands of lines of code to find a fault in their logic or accept this as enough to doubt their competence and make a cup of coffee instead.

        20

    • #
      William

      I predict that the work unprecedented will be used at unprecedented levels in this enquiry. During the drought and ensuing fires, the word was used continually and wrongly. Everytime something was reported as unprecendented, a quick online search found that it was not unprecedented.

      I am disgusted that our MSM and politicians are so accepting of the hysteria and so bone idle that they can’t be bothered to undertake basic research. As they say, those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. So once again, they will learn nothing from yet another enquiry and once there is sufficient regrowth, we will have yet another season of “unprecedented” fires

      190

  • #
    Travis T. Jones

    Anyone with an ouija board could predict bushfires happening in an Australian summer:

    Bushfire royal commission: ‘Black Summer’ played out exactly as scientists predicted it would

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/bushfire-royal-commission-hearing-updates/12282808

    >> But predicting record cold when you claim the world is on fire? Fail.

    “Record cold temperatures occurred this week across the tropics”

    Weekly weather from the Bureau of Meteorology: Sunday 24 May 2020

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=Dfpe4WPhNZQ&feature=emb_logo

    >> Or how about predicting floods in summer? Fail.

    Up to 500,000 drought-stressed cattle killed in Queensland floods

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/11/up-to-500000-drought-stressed-cattle-killed-in-queensland-floods

    >> Or how about scary permanent droughts that aren’t permanent?

    This drought may never break

    IT MAY be time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent, one of the nation’s most senior weather experts warned yesterday.

    https://www.smh.com.au/environment/this-drought-may-never-break-20080104-gdrvg6.html

    We don’t need another bushfire inquiry, but a clean out of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

    350

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      And a clean out of the Pyrmont Socialist Workers Collective aka “Aunty” Lenin…

      181

    • #
      PeterW

      Trav…

      As long as I’ve been a volunteer firie-somewhere around 40 years, now – EVERY new season has been greeted with predictions that “This could be the big one!”.

      If it is dry and grass does not grow in the western plains, “The Big One” will be in the mountains to the East. If it it wet, the grass grows and “The Big One” will be in the west…… It’s not hard to get a prediction right when you are making the same damned prediction for that many years. Stopped clocks and all that.

      60

  • #
    mike reed

    Yeh Yeh ..here we go again Muma Mia its all down to global warming aka climate change this meme will be the reason for last summers fires.So nothing other than
    this crap will come out of the Royal Commission.Its also very predictable and recommendations for control burning will also come out of this RC to eventually be tide up
    in Green tape.Eventualy fuel loads will build and history will repeat itself.Then it will be time for another RC.
    Cheers Mike Reed

    190

    • #
      Bill In Oz

      BOM certainly wants nothing but crap to come out of ths royal commission.
      And that reflects the BOM’s own ideological drive.
      The facts never matter to the BOM.
      They can always be homogenised into or out of existence.
      Yes the BOM needs a clean out.

      143

  • #
    Travis T. Jones

    Revised weather messaging aims to prevent repeat of 2019 mass cattle deaths in Qld monsoon

    Almost a year to the day after flooding in north-west Queensland killed more than 500,000 head of cattle, the monsoonal rain was forecast again.
    Key points:
    * North-west Queensland’s 2019 monsoon was one of the biggest on record, bringing a cold snap and widespread stock losses
    * Since then, the Bureau of Meteorology has been revising its warning system to better tailor it to graziers
    * The BOM is looking to weather events from 2019 to adapt its alerts

    Summer flooding is a regular event in the area and many graziers rely on it to sustain their businesses for the rest of the year.

    But the 2019 monsoon was one of the biggest and most unusual on record and if the cattle survived the raging torrents, they died from a cold snap that coincided with the rain.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-02/revised-weather-messaging-aims-to-prevent-mass-cattle-deaths/11917146

    Wait. What?

    From the bushfire commission:

    “Dr Helen Cleugh from the CSIRO told the commission [global warming] was interacting with, and exacerbating, previous weather systems in a way never seen before.

    “Perhaps put more simply,[global warming] means that the past is no longer a guide to future climate-related impacts and risks.”

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/bushfire-royal-commission-hearing-updates/12282808#hail

    >> So, the BoM wants to look back at previous global warming cold snap to predict future warming events, but CSIRO says previous events are not indicative the future events.

    Got it.

    180

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Its appears to be a form of ivory tower delusion….

      Notice too how hard the climate lie is being cranked up again….we get out of thd covud debacle, and get harrassed by climate lies.

      Ive started calling it out anongst my friends now. People listen….

      I suspect once the Elite realize the pandemic planned trauma didnt stop environment skeptics, they could start a war to silence dissent against the climate power grab trojan horse….its last gasp stuff though..and shows you how resolute skeptics are in pursuit of the truth.

      121

      • #
        Bill In Oz

        It’s ALL a ‘CONSPIRACY’ Steve.
        For me the interesting question is why your own psychology
        Drives you to the view that everything is a conspiracy.
        The scientific way is always to gather the information first
        And then work out what is happening.

        110

        • #
          Greg in NZ

          Bill, methinks Steve DID apply the ‘scientific method’ by a) gathering the information and b) working out what happened. Therefore, a + b does indeed equal the ‘c’ word.

          We had raging bush fires last summer too, around Nelson at the top of the South Island – a naturally dry & sunny region as it’s in the rain shadow of mountains to the south and west – all blamed on, dare I say it, a man-made catastrophic climate emergency.

          Thankfully the man, and a woman, were last week found guilty and jailed for starting those fires. Ah so, arson! Mental health issues were cited as an aggravating side-issue but, none-the-less, after 6 months of shouty headlines, ie. Man-Made Fires!, far too many sheep are now hard-wired into the belief that it’s ALL OUR FAULT. Ba’a'a’a…

          140

        • #
          OriginalSteve

          Greg is correct

          Also, in most cases people see what they want to see, which is why you get horrific things happen in the name of ideology all through history.

          However there comes a point whereby the evidence tracks in a specific direction, as unpopular as it may be.

          It is what it is.

          I’m a big fan of freedom of speech, even if its unpopular.

          *Gallic shrug*

          40

        • #
          jpm

          Bill
          I don’t believe it is a ‘CONSPIRACY’, but rather disperate groups with a common goal. There are certainly conspiracies here and there such as the climategate emails demonstrate so effectively. Money &/or power are the main objects for most of them. They are despicable.
          John

          40

    • #
      Geoff Croker

      Guv 101.

      Looking back at the budget you got last year does not guarantee the budget received next year. Climate Change being total fiction guarantys more in next year’s budget. Relying on facts does not mean a bigger budget.

      A fictional problem cannot be solved. It must be defined first by “looking into it”. This can take several hundred years or until a scarier fiction can be created.

      Government budgets are powered by an infinite improbability drive. The more improbable the modelled outcome the more money in the budget. The object of any government model is to increase the budget. If data does not support the model, the data is altered. If the people understand the model, the model is altered. Talking points are organised to redefine a model.

      As fire can only burn with fuel, it is important to increase fuel loads whilst showing, via a model, that fires are not caused by fuel loads.

      As fire is mostly lit by arsonists, it is important to reduce police numbers in the field catching arsonists whilst showing that police numbers (doing paperwork) have increased.

      As water is scarce over a drought, it is important to not build dams and trade water at higher prices with foreign finance whilst increasing environmental activism because of a lack of water. Eventually a crisis is created and a bigger budget is achieved.

      If all this sounds mad, well it may be. Creating madness can become a crisis and will eventually create a bigger budget to look into the madness.

      161

  • #
    Zigmaster

    Is saying fire season has arrived three months earlier since the 1950s meant as a proof that CO2 causes fires? What does the other 150 years of climate history before the 1950s prove. Picking cherries is something the BOM will always do to support their climate change narrative ( if they haven’t already altered the data with their magical adjustments).

    141

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    Recently we had an unprecedented few months of smoke over our region.

    It was the direct result of misguided administration of the environment over many decades.

    In the past year there have been serious fires in Greece, California and Australia with much heartache.

    All avoidable, but the powers that be had other priorities.

    Preventive maintenance must be done on an annual basis and there’s no other option.

    KK

    120

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    Id read somewhere the Club of Rome ( aka the self proclaimed elite tagged as fully delusional self appointed “masters of the universe” ) had hinted they wanted to keep a lid on global growth post pandemic, to “protect the planet” and for our “own good” of course….

    As such, the carefully timed reboot of the climate change narrative fully fits within that overall approach.

    Trauma Based Mind Control can be used when a population, sufgiciently traumatized ( e.g. by covid ) has a suggestion inserted ( fires = climate change ) and the suggestionnis retained when the trauma passes.

    The media is just churning our tsunamis of basically “war time” propaganda currently. The fires thing is an attempt to redirect the actual fires fact finding and twist it into an emotive case for implementing a fasc ist controllled economy where growth is strangled permanently.

    131

  • #
    MCMXLIII

    The fire season in parts of eastern Australia has lengthened by almost four months since the 1950s …

    The obvious recommendation to follow is to speed up the building of many more windmills.

    120

  • #
    Deplorable Lord Kek

    winter is june to august
    spring is sepember to november

    the fire season has always included august (and june in the north).

    https://volunteerfirefighters.org.au/bush-fire-control-australia-1961

    100

    • #
      Bill In Oz

      The royal commission needs to be presented with a paper copy of that 1961 text book on bush Ffire in Australia.

      The history of bush fires in Australia shows that the BOM knows nothing and has forgotten deliberately what it once knew.

      In part this is a result of it’s obsession with models and computers.
      The facts on the ground are ignored.

      123

      • #
        Dennis

        Is it true that the BoM sold their modelling software to the Department of Health?

        sarc.

        71

        • #
          Another Ian

          And that it is based on that “Barbecue Summer” software that they bought from UK Met?

          10

      • #
        Deplorable Lord Kek

        and the june-august fires occured with a regime of proper fire management.

        not the ‘lock up the carbon-sinks’ that now exists.

        60

  • #
    Serge Wright

    The unfortunate part about a Royal Commission is that it provides a platform for the loony left public servants to push thir loony left propaganda. We can expect that the outcome of the commission will contain illogical reasoning as to why our our stable 1% emissions are the cause of the problem and must be reduced rapidly to zero to stop future fires and there will be no mention of the other 99% of emissions including from countries such as China, or the fact that emissions increases from the developing world add a new Australia several times over each year.

    Back in the real-world, Jo “Aussie” Average will understand that the fires were really caused by years of neglect in allowing fuel loads to build up, mainly due to the halt in hazard reduction burning, driven by green activist groups who obviously wish for a world of zero hazard reduction dispersed by massive bushfires. The only good news side of this story will be an absence of any significant fires for over a decade as we now have a clean forest floor with no fuel to burn. If nothing else, this long absence of fires will kill the green myth that these fires are now the “new norm” and hopefully provide an insight to the real solution.

    170

    • #
      David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

      G’day Serge,
      In general I agree with you, except for: ” … an absence of any significant fires for over a decade as we now have a clean forest floor with no fuel to burn. ”
      It’s my understanding that these last fires burnt so hot that, at least in some places, leaves at the top of trees were scorched and have since fallen to the ground, producing a significant fuel load at ground level, to the extent that another fire is possible next season(!). And, even under a bare earth scenario the next big fire could come in just seven years.
      So hazard reduction needs to have started already, and proceed continuously to change National Parks from firebombs to fire barriers, supporting K K above.
      Cheers
      Dave B

      80

  • #
    Dennis

    I suspect that politicians and bureaucrats in general have chosen a new bushfire strategy.

    It’s called smokescreens and mirrors with whitewash.

    70

  • #
    RickWill

    Karl Braganza, head of the bureau’s climate monitoring, told the first day of public hearings for the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements on Monday that the South Coast of NSW and eastern Victoria now see fire weather arriving three months earlier, occurring towards the end of winter rather than the end of spring.

    This is not even relevant to the 2020 fires that caused the damage on the NSW South Coast and eastern Victoria. We have not yet had the 2020 spring. Karl needs to give relevant testimony not some irrelevant drivel.

    I drove through those locations in late spring 2019 and there were no fires. I did comment that there were a large number of prone houses nestled amongst heavy forest growth that were sitting ducks for a decent forest fire.

    110

  • #
    DD

    The “fire season” is now controlled by government bureaucracies in each state and natural law requires that those bureaucracies increase their budgets and staffing levels.

    And so the “fire season” will lengthen. Any other result is unthinkable!

    80

    • #
      AndyG55

      “those bureaucracies increase their budgets and staffing levels.”

      Increase in bureaucrats, mainly !

      01

  • #
    thingadonta

    Large areas of formerly periodically logged and periodically thinned state forest land in Australia was transferred to the national park estate in the 1980s-2000s. In NSW I was part of this process within the Upper and Lower NE Regional Forest Assessments (RFAs), the Southern and Eden RFAs, the Brigalow RFA, the Goulburn CRA (Comprehensive Regional Asessment), and the Nandewar RFA. Bushfires will inevitably increase in these areas as a result of this, even without any climate change.

    A few curious points about this process. Some of these forested areas were specifically and originally left and sited very close to townships as timber supply reserves, way back in the 1800s. They never imagined these would one day not be allowed for any timber extraction, which would turn them into tinder boxes to then burn down the adjacent towns and farms.

    Also, no allowance was made in new conservation areas close to townships regarding increased fire risk. The only thing that really mattered was conservation, meaning towns and farms were no longer even able to manage and clear these areas anymore, heightening fire risk further. It would have been relatively simple to create buffers around towns and farms which wouldn’t have meant more than a few percent of the land transferred to conservation status.

    Also, the BOM does not integrate into their modelling these large changes in land use. They don’t even have access to some of this kind of land use information. Our department, as part of the now Department of Primary Industries often had to inform modelling from other departments that they were missing essential data. Sometimes these departments do their own modelling without even being aware that other data exists, which needs to be integrated into their models. Social and economic impact reports can get done without half of the necessary economically relevant data.

    Another problem that sometimes occurs is you get consultant academics to do the modelling who are even worse, they are sometimes wilfully ignorant of other datasets and don’t even want to know about it. Their level of understanding does not extend out of their narrow area of expertise and yet they sometimes want to bully governments into accepting their particular policies.

    Until the BOM integrates these large changes in forest tenure and changes to periodic logging and thinning, their models are only going to give inaccurate and one -sided conclusions regarding changes to long term bushfire risk and behaviour.

    140

  • #
    Bruce of Newcastle

    The fires this season were also a carbon copy (oops, did I say that?) of the ones in 1898 during the Federation Drought, when pCO2 was about 300 ppmV. There were 3 el Ninos during that drought, and 3 also between 2015 and 2019.

    Sparked by heat and desiccation, bushfires burned their way across
    large areas of the colonies, killing unknown thousands of pastoral animals
    and causing immense damage to public infrastructure and to private
    property including houses, farm buildings, crops and fences. In some
    places there was significant loss of human life. During the first two
    months of 1898 there seems seldom to have been a day when there was not
    a fire in the eastern colonies, especially Victoria. Much of Gippsland
    (eastern Victoria) was devastated, with the smoke so thick that daylight
    turned to dark, and offshore coastal shipping was forced to slow. Smoke
    from the Victorian fires even created a haze over Sydney.

    - Garden, 2010, “The Federation Drought of 1895-1903, El Niño and Society in Australia”, p274.

    I’d include a link to the Garden citation, as I did previously, but for some odd reason the link no longer works. Weird how that happens.

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    • #
      RickWill

      I note that in the Federation drought that pastoral animals, private and public property and human lives were lost. In 2020 there were similar losses but there were also 1.25 billion wild animals lost; widely reported as such. It is that figure that makes the 2020 fires of global importance. The nursing of burnt/injured wild animals captures hearts and minds globally.

      I figure there were probably more wild animals injured and killed in the Federation fires than the 2019/20 fires. The change over a century is that modern lifestyles have disconnected most people from the land. These creatures are no longer regarded for their food potential. Fires in Australia were once used as a means of flushing out food from forests.

      Typically native forests regenerate quickly:
      https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2020/03/13/australia-rott-6_custom-3ad6b64843442d1493c7141294692f95427ecad1-s1300-c85.jpg
      There was a recent interview of a woman in eastern Victoria talking about kids going back to school and rebuilding after the bushfires. The background shot had fuzzy tress like this image. Give these forests 10 years and they will be back to being fire hazards. By then all the recommendations of the 2020 bushfire royal commission will be dim memories with the report lost in computer memory until the next fire storm.

      I expect the recommendations of the royal commission will focus on separation of built structure from forests, greater fire resilience of structures and increased funding for fuel reduction.

      It will be interesting to see if forest productivity gets a mention. That is one contribution that can be sheeted home to increased atmospheric CO2. It is one legitimate factory for increasing funds for managing forest fuel loads.

      80

      • #
        Bill In Oz

        Rick I also know a bloke in East Gippsland who was burned out in January because the bush came up to his back door.
        The bush was on the coop’s private land and could have been cool burned but he chose in 30 years not to do that.
        And now having collected insurance he is starting to rebuild on the same site with same bush just 10 meters away.
        I suspect that the only way to discourage this is for insurance companies to refuse to insure such sites.

        91

    • #
      davefromweewaa

      Yeah but Bruce.
      Unprecedented doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before. It means if you know what’s good for you, you won’t dissent. These blokes saw 1984 and Animal Farm not as cautionary tales but how to guides.

      50

    • #
      el gordo

      Thanks Bruce, I’ll look for more anecdotal evidence.

      00

  • #
    Furiously curious

    People build houses in a bomb factory, where the bombs can get bigger every year. Who’d have thought there could be a problem? The factory also has a line of flame throwers available. Eucalypt forests wouldn’t be there, if there hadn’t been 10 000 years of fires, allowing them to invade. It’s hardly a recent problem.

    140

  • #
    liberator

    I read they want the Royal Commission done and dusted by the end of August so they can apply and enact their findings before the start of this years fire season.

    If the findings are that the cause is all the result of climate change, just what are they going to apply to Australia to prevent a recurrence of this “unprecedented” bushfire?

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      GlenAustralia

      Q: Just what are they going to apply?

      A: AGENDA 2030 – the UN NWO – in particular “rewilding” and moving people back into cities … hence why the rebuilding of those towns that were burnt to the ground hasn’t started yet.

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      • #
        OriginalSteve

        Nice to see someone else has picked up the rewilding theme…..New Orleans suffered the same fate.

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  • #
    Maptram

    Perhaps they could examine how many areas that burn in consecutive years. If there are few it’s probably because there is no fuel the second year, the fuel all got burnt the year before

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    • #
      TedM

      If it’s grassland then you can burn it in successive years, if it’s forest, or woodland without a ground layer of grasses then not likely for three or four years. There is an enormous quantity of data on this matter in Western Australian fire research literature. No doubt the anti burners will try and move the goalposts, change the focus of the inquiry or try and swamp it with university generated models to prevent this data from coming to light.

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  • #
    Deplorable Lord Kek

    the public will have no opportunity to rebut submissions made over the course of the hearings:

    General public submissions closed on Tuesday 28 April 2020.

    https://naturaldisaster.royalcommission.gov.au/submissions

    The first phase of public hearings will commence on Monday, 25 May 2020 at 10.00 am

    https://naturaldisaster.royalcommission.gov.au/hearings

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    • #
      Deplorable Lord Kek

      Here’s why:

      The Commissioners are required to provide a final report by 31 August 2020.

      20

  • #
    Tides of Mudgee

    If it’s at all possible that there could be a silver lining to the hellish bushfires that we had last season, as I heard suggested this morning, that as it was reported all over the world that Australia was “on fire” with maps showing fire right across the continent (inaccurately) and as a consequence overseas visitors were cancelling holidays to Australia left, right and centre. Travel companies then were desperately advertising that it was still safe to travel here. Could this then be another reason for our low spread of Coronavirus because we had fewer overseas visitors here than we would normally? Certainly seems possible. ToM

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  • #
    Dennis

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

    Bushfires to worsen with climate change: Home Affairs Department

    27/05/2020|1min

    The Department of Home Affairs says Australian bushfires will become more severe due to climate change. Officials will front a Senate Inquiry into the country’s ‘Black Summer’ today to discuss preparation and planning. Experts will warn future seasons will begin earlier, last longer and have worsening impacts on communities. The ‘Black Summer’ fires killed 33 people, destroyed more than 3000 homes and razed almost 13 million hectares. Image: News Corp Australia

    SKY NEWS

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  • #
    Tmatsci

    As others have remarked, “There are no fires without fuel”. This is well understood in the firefighting community and forms part of the introduction to firefighting in BF-2003 Bush Firefighter Manual P4 V1.1, NSW Government. It is also necessary to ignite the fuel i.e. raise the fuel’s temperature to beyond its ignition point before a sustainable fire can be formed. For dry wood (paper or cellulose) this is about 290oC. So a temperature of even 50oC is insufficient to ignite typical fuel in the Australian bush. It seems that the majority of fires are started by humans and the remainder are from natural causes such as dry lightening.

    It is certain that the bushfires of 2019-2020 were very intense but not unprecedented. In a previous post (Off the charts: Bushfires may be 20 times more intense than the largest fires that humans can control) it was stated that beyond 5-7 MW/m the fires progress to crown fires and become uncontrollable i.e. it is not possible to put them out by dumping water on them. Further to that RickWill commented that
    “The intensity is in MW/m. It applies to the fire front. So if you have a 5000m long fire front and 70MW/m then that front will be producing energy at 350GW; roughly ten times the maximum power output in the NEM electrical power grid.
    If the front is moving at 10m/s then it needs a fuel load of 7MJ/sq.m to achieve the power output. Dry wood has an energy content of up to 20MJ/kg. So it requires less than 1kg/sq.m to achieve a 70MW/m fire front moving at 10m/s.
    The faster a fire front moves, the more fuel it has available. That is why they become uncontrollable. The radiant heat rapidly dries any fuel ahead of the front so the front accelerates as the intensity increases.”
    So let us look at vegetation growth and attempt to determine how quickly dangerous fuel loads can accumulate. The NSW Department of Primary Industry runs courses for graziers on feed growth rates so that farmers can determine stocking rates and look after their livestock. Here is an extract from the NSW DPI Prograze book for the Southern Highlands

    Daily Growth Rates of Vegetation: kg Dry Matter/day/hectare
    Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Tonnes kgs
    Dry Matter/ Dry Matter/
    ` hectare m^2
    Grass Clover + Fertiliser 7 5 7 15 13 8 7 12 32 45 20 10 181 5.51 0.551
    Microleana ETC + Fertiliser 15 14 10 8 7 5 5 6 15 30 24 18 157 4.78 0.478
    Native Grasses no fertiliser 10 6 3 3 2 1 1 1 7 15 21 13 83 2.52 0.252
    Perennial Grass + clover + fertiliser 10 80 20 26 20 12 10 15 45 75 55 20 388 11.80 1.180

    The Southern Highlands is a low rainfall area so greater growth could be expected in wetter areas.

    Of interest for forested areas is the average “litterfall” i.e. the total amount of dry vegetation that falls from the forest canopy to the floor of the forest. This must be modified to account for the proportion of this which is eaten by animals and decays to estimate the accumulation of combustible matter on an annual basis. A study by Dr Margaret Lowman (Litterfall and Leaf Decay in Three Australian Rainforest Formations: Journal of Ecology (1988), 76, pp461-465) answers this question. According to her the mean annual litterfall measured over 5 years varied from 6.2 to 10 tonnes dry matter/hectare/year depending on the forest type and its location. The paper also estimates the proportion of various leaves, fruit and wood in the litterfall as well as their rates of predation and decay. From this it is possible to estimate the annual accumulation of dry combustible matter in a forest without fire. Here is the summary

    Cool Temperate Forests Litterfall t/Ha/year Understorey
    Leaf % Wood % Fruit Grass Total
    % 53 30 17 100
    Fraction tonne 3.29 1.86 1.05 0.25 6.20
    Predation % 25% 0% 50% 50%
    Remaining tonne 2.46 1.86 0.53 0.13
    Annual Decay % 40% 5% 50% 0%
    Accumulation 1.48 1 .77 0.26 0.13 3.63 tonne/Ha/year

    In this table it is assumed that the predation of wood is essentially zero and that 25% of the fallen leaves and 50% of the fruit are rapidly eaten. Following predation, decay of the remining matter is slower but takes away 5% of the wood, 40% of the leaf matter and 50% of the fruit. Predation and decay amounts come from Dr Lowman. It is also assumed that understorey grass and other vegetation continue to grow and the production rate is assumed to be at the lowest annual rate of the data in the previous table because of shading within the forest. It is also assumed that the grass is eaten before it can rot and although this is a simplification in reality understorey grass makes only a minor contribution to the leaf litter accumulation. From the table it will be seen that the accumulation of leaf litter can be estimated at around 3.6 tonnes/ha/year or 0.36 kg/m2/year. If we assume the maximum observed litterfall of 10 tonne/Ha/year then the accumulation rate rises to 5.8 tonne/Ha/year or 0.58 kg/m2/year.

    It is clear that where there is no fire to reduce the fuel loads an accumulation of 1 kg/m2/year will be reached within 3 or 4 years and intense fires of the magnitude experienced recently can be expected. Assuming a more realistic level of 2 kg/m2 limit of critical leaf litter for the intensity of fires, then 4 to 8 years is all that is needed to reach dangerous fuel levels. Our practice of limiting access to native forests particularly of grazing animals and eliminating hazard burns is therefore guaranteeing that we will continue to experience bushfires of the magnitude of the 2019-2020 fires. Of course these are unlikely to occur in the locations of the latest fires because the fuel loads have been substantially reduced

    It is worth noting that it will be difficult to reduce the fuel loads in unburnt areas without precipitating fires of the intensity of this last season. It will be important to ensure that the fuels are quite wet and proceed with caution when attempting this.

    (Sorry about the tables just spent 1/2 hour reformatting them to have them unformat themselves)

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    • #
      AndyG55

      Yes, it would be nice if someone built a “tables” app into whatever software Jo uses. :-)

      And some chairs, maybe ;-P

      10

    • #
      TedM

      “Cool Temperate Forests Litterfall t/Ha/year Understorey” Tmatsci, do you have information as to the tree species. At a fuel accumulation rate of 3.63t/ha I am assuming it is wet schlerophyll forest.

      I am only familiar with SW WA forests, with fuel accumulation in Jarrah forest being about 1t/ha/annum, maybe a little lower. Wet schleropyl much higher, up to 6.5t/ha/annum in red tingle forest, with karri forest falling somewhere in between At least that is from memory so is not infallible.

      Also needs to be noted that fuel accumulation is not linear over time with total fuel level flattening off after 20+ years, particularly in the dry SW WA schleropyl forest. Fuel level in red tingle/karri forest has been documented as still incrementally increasing at 72 years post fire.

      Another point that needs to be made is the change in fuel structure that takes place over time with an increase of elevated and suspended fuel which increases the flame height and potential for spot fires to occur at longer distances ahead of the fire front. Most people see the occurrence of a bush fire as an event. That is an over simplification, it is part of a process.

      20

  • #
    Tmatsci

    As others have remarked, “There are no fires without fuel”. This is well understood in the firefighting community and forms part of the introduction to firefighting in BF-2003 Bush Firefighter Manual P4 V1.1, NSW Government. It is also necessary to ignite the fuel i.e. raise the fuel’s temperature to beyond its ignition point before a sustainable fire can be formed. For dry wood (paper or cellulose) this is about 290oC. So a temperature of even 50oC is insufficient to ignite typical fuel in the Australian bush. It seems that the majority of fires are started by humans and the remainder are from natural causes such as dry lightening.

    It is certain that the bushfires of 2019-2020 were very intense but not unprecedented. In a previous post (Off the charts: Bushfires may be 20 times more intense than the largest fires that humans can control) it was stated that beyond 5-7 MW/m the fires progress to crown fires and become uncontrollable i.e. it is not possible to put them out by dumping water on them. Further to that RickWill commented that
    “The intensity is in MW/m. It applies to the fire front. So if you have a 5000m long fire front and 70MW/m then that front will be producing energy at 350GW; roughly ten times the maximum power output in the NEM electrical power grid.
    If the front is moving at 10m/s then it needs a fuel load of 7MJ/sq.m to achieve the power output. Dry wood has an energy content of up to 20MJ/kg. So it requires less than 1kg/sq.m to achieve a 70MW/m fire front moving at 10m/s.
    The faster a fire front moves, the more fuel it has available. That is why they become uncontrollable. The radiant heat rapidly dries any fuel ahead of the front so the front accelerates as the intensity increases.”
    So let us look at vegetation growth and attempt to determine how quickly dangerous fuel loads can accumulate. The NSW Department of Primary Industry runs courses for graziers on feed growth rates so that farmers can determine stocking rates and look after their livestock. Here is an extract from the NSW DPI Prograze book for the Southern Highlands

    Daily Growth Rates of Vegetation: kg Dry Matter/day/hectare
    Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Tonnes kgs
    Dry Matter/ Dry Matter/
    ` hectare m^2
    Grass Clover + Fertiliser 7 5 7 15 13 8 7 12 32 45 20 10 181 5.51 0.551
    Microleana ETC + Fertiliser 15 14 10 8 7 5 5 6 15 30 24 18 157 4.78 0.478
    Native Grasses no fertiliser 10 6 3 3 2 1 1 1 7 15 21 13 83 2.52 0.252
    Perennial Grass + clover + fertiliser 10 80 20 26 20 12 10 15 45 75 55 20 388 11.80 1.180

    The Southern Highlands is a low rainfall area so greater growth could be expected in wetter areas.

    Of interest for forested areas is the average “litterfall” i.e. the total amount of dry vegetation that falls from the forest canopy to the floor of the forest. This must be modified to account for the proportion of this which is eaten by animals and decays to estimate the accumulation of combustible matter on an annual basis. A study by Dr Margaret Lowman (Litterfall and Leaf Decay in Three Australian Rainforest Formations: Journal of Ecology (1988), 76, pp461-465) answers this question. According to her the mean annual litterfall measured over 5 years varied from 6.2 to 10 tonnes dry matter/hectare/year depending on the forest type and its location. The paper also estimates the proportion of various leaves, fruit and wood in the litterfall as well as their rates of predation and decay. From this it is possible to estimate the annual accumulation of dry combustible matter in a forest without fire. Here is the summary

    Cool Temperate Forests Litterfall t/Ha/year Understorey
    Leaf % Wood % Fruit Grass Total
    % 53 30 17 100
    Fraction tonne 3.29 1.86 1.05 0.25 6.20
    Predation % 25% 0% 50% 50%
    Remaining tonne 2.46 1.86 0.53 0.13
    Annual Decay % 40% 5% 50% 0%
    Accumulation 1.48 1 .77 0.26 0.13 3.63 tonne/Ha/year

    In this table it is assumed that the predation of wood is essentially zero and that 25% of the fallen leaves and 50% of the fruit are rapidly eaten. Following predation, decay of the remining matter is slower but takes away 5% of the wood, 40% of the leaf matter and 50% of the fruit. Predation and decay amounts come from Dr Lowman. It is also assumed that understorey grass and other vegetation continue to grow and the production rate is assumed to be at the lowest annual rate of the data in the previous table because of shading within the forest. It is also assumed that the grass is eaten before it can rot and although this is a simplification in reality understorey grass makes only a minor contribution to the leaf litter accumulation. From the table it will be seen that the accumulation of leaf litter can be estimated at around 3.6 tonnes/ha/year or 0.36 kg/m2/year. If we assume the maximum observed litterfall of 10 tonne/Ha/year then the accumulation rate rises to 5.8 tonne/Ha/year or 0.58 kg/m2/year.

    It is clear that where there is no fire to reduce the fuel loads an accumulation of 1 kg/m2/year will be reached within 3 or 4 years and intense fires of the magnitude experienced recently can be expected. Assuming a more realistic level of 2 kg/m2 limit of critical leaf litter for the intensity of fires, then 4 to 8 years is all that is needed to reach dangerous fuel levels. Our practice of limiting access to native forests particularly of grazing animals and eliminating hazard burns is therefore guaranteeing that we will continue to experience bushfires of the magnitude of the 2019-2020 fires. Of course these are unlikely to occur in the locations of the latest fires because the fuel loads have been substantially reduced

    It is worth noting that it will be difficult to reduce the fuel loads in unburnt areas without precipitating fires of the intensity of this last season. It will be important to ensure that the fuels are quite wet and proceed with caution when attempting this.

    (Sorry about the tables just spent 1/2 hour reformatting them to have them unformat themselves)

    [sorry the spam filter picked this up. I have no reason to explain that.]ED

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  • #
    AndyG55

    Slightly OT….. 4pm AEST 27/5

    In NSW, COAL is currently providing 95% of the grid electricity.. Wind 0%

    In SA, GAS is providing 76% of grid electricity.

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    • #
      Dennis

      I am still amused after reading a comment on the Bolt blog and link to RenewEconomy website regarding “spinning machines” now being installed to stabilise the SA grid.

      Installed after demolition of power station spinning generator machines were decommissioned.

      LOL

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      • #
        Serp

        Blind zealotry is glad of the self-inflicted injury as it serves to underline the wickedness of carbon’s puissance.

        10

  • #
    Peter Hawthorne

    Here is another link for your list jo

    Bushfire Control in Australia 1961 – which clearly documents the seasons including the usual and extended seasons as they were known 60 years ago

    https://volunteerfirefighters.org.au/bush-fire-control-australia-1961

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Fire seasons don’t run around the country causing fires.

    Come now Jo, of course they do. Why do yo think it’s called fire season? Why do you think most fires happen during fire season? What sets those fires? And I’ve always wondered, is there some magic fie fairy that comes out when it’ss hot and dry or is it the fact that it’s fire season?

    I live in a fire prone area, as fire prone as any in Austraia. And those damned fires always come around during fire season, never at any other time. Point proved.

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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      No matter what you believe, my bad joke or Jo’s better argument, it’s the very devil to live with.

      00

  • #
    Paul

    I worked in Batemans Bay from December 1979 to January 1985. During that period we had some mild fire seasons and 2 bad ones. The worst was a 13 months fire season due to drought. During that period of time I attended over 100 bush fires and we had all up in excess of 200 bush fires. So a fire season starting at the end of winter is not new. Most fires were either escaped rural burnings or deliberate emissions. Less than 10% we from lightning strikes.The BOM expert is an expert in models not reality.

    20