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Skeptics win on fires: ABC quietly flips — suddenly it’s fire management not climate change to blame

This is how the paradigm changes. The old activism is quietly dropped down the memory hole…

Buried in a save-the-koala story on ABC News tonight is an ABC journalist saying for the first time that it is “current fire management practices” that are the problem. Rani Hayman didn’t say fuel load, but she might as well have. The reference to “indigenous fire practices” makes it obvious that the ABC means more hazard reduction burns (not that they can say so). She also didn’t say “climate change” — write it in your diary. On November 14th, the same ABC journalist was only interviewing the posterboys who blamed “climate change” for the fires. 

UPDATE: Holy smoke — the Sydney Morning Herald also appear to have flipped hours earlier in the morning and in a much stronger and more direct way. Regular SMH reader Dave B sends in the link and says “wow… here’s a huge surprise”. Finally a spot of real journalism. Was this story the last nail in the ABC fuel-load denial?

Prescribed burning ‘key to controlling fires’.  

By Tim Barlass, Sydney Morning Herald

Expert says blazes have burnt where hazard-reduction took place two years ago. “

Tim Barlass, SMH:   A forestry expert has condemned bushfire prevention strategies in an open letter to the Prime Minister and premiers, saying it is entirely within their power to put an end to the situation by prescribed burning. Vic Jurskis, a fellow of the Institute of Foresters of Australia, the body representing more than 1200 forestry professionals, says Australians are being told that “fires are uncontrollable in extreme weather and there’s nothing we can possibly do”. He said the “simple solution” of preventative or prescribed burns to reduce fuel levels of leaves, dead twigs and other vegetation emerged from a House of Representatives inquiry after the 2003 Canberra fires, which destroyed 488 houses.

Mr Jurskis said: “The fires that burnt Canberra in 2003 jumped over miles and miles of bare paddocks. The problem is if you have three-dimensional, continuous fuel and extreme conditions, you can generate ember showers that travel tens of kilometres ahead of the front.

“A fire break is going to do nothing at all. You have to manage the whole landscape.”

“It is bogged down by green [environmental] and red tape which makes getting approval for a prescribed burn a very slow and complex process.

“They have introduced a system that makes it virtually impossible to manage the bush in a sustainable way. I am just one of thousands of volunteers out there who are frustrated.”


Skeptics have been mocking the ABC and Greens and Fairfax news for years:

Jo Nova 2013: ABC plan to stop bushfires with windmills and buckets of your cash

ABC Fire Management Plan

2013: ABC Fire Management Plan according to Jo Nova

Also in 2013:  Fuel Loads Not Climate Change Are Making Bushfires More Severe

Suddenly on the ABC, the reason for the unprecedented fire situation is described as the way we manage our forests. The moment that marks the flip is when she uses the magical groupthink terms — saying “most agreed” – as if it was never contentious, and as if the ABC hadn’t been blaming climate change for years and wheeling out lame excuses for why we can’t do hazard reduction.  Tonight we heard without fanfare that we need to use indigenous fire practices.  The ABC reporter interviewed an aboriginal and a koala expert. She didn’t interview the old fire experts (mostly old white men) like the SMH did.  They ignore people who’ve said this for years (apart from indigenous elders), nor did Hayman mention that climate skeptics were right, and years ahead of the ABC science unit.

It looks like the ABC are figuring out they were wrong.  Shame they don’t have the honesty to say so.

The primetime news item below is no-news for skeptics — what’s interesting is the way the big shift is disguised, and the old agenda morphs to a new-old one.  It’s easy for the ABC to swap climate change activism for being an indigenous cheer-squad. But if there is no honesty, there’s also no search for answer they really need to figure out. Why were the best funded journalists in the country, and the flag waving fans for all-things-indigenous also the last ones to figure out what fire specialists and even unpaid bloggers have been saying for years.

Did the best-funded academics in Australia let down the most incompetent reporters in the country?

(Probably, but only after the best-paid journalists in the country rewarded the most incompetent academics… it’s a chicken-eats-egg thing.)

The politically correct octopus strangles investigative journalism just like it does to everything else. The most strangled and useless journalists are the publicly funded ones. At least the SMH finally gets the whole message. It doesn’t matter if we do little bit of hazard reduction here and there, if we let twenty years of fuel build up anywhere, nothing will stop the conflagration once it starts.

If the ABC were serving the nation they would have interviewed Roger Underwood and the team at the BushFireFront decades ago. They could’ve interviewed the great Bill Gammage who wrote the book on indigenous fire management.

How many houses and lives would have been saved if the ABC had done the job it was supposed to do years ago, but has just barely started?

Sell the ABC and save the Koalas.



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