Risk Management – Bushfire Context

Risk Management – Bushfire Context

Risk management strategies are widely used by all people in the modern world and the hierarchy of controls has become standard practice.

As fires are becoming larger, the risks associated with firefighting operations are also increasing. Aviation is being used at huge cost (financially) and the recent accident involving an Aircrane firefighting helicopter is a reminder of the risks for both aviation and ground crews.

Thankfully, no one was seriously injured during this aviation incident.

Sorry Mr Mullins – what about FUEL?

Sorry Mr Mullins – what about FUEL?

It was disappointing to read the article by Greg Mullins that was published in the Sunday Telegraph on Sunday 20th Jan 2019.

Mr Mullins is a well respected and long serving Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW. That respect was attacked by many readers as they posted comments on social media after reading the article.

From a VFFA perspective, it was disappointing that Mr Mullins failed to address the issue of FUEL loads as he blamed climate change for the wildfire problems we are facing.

The VFFA has always stated that “regardless of where any individual sits in the climate change debate, there can be no doubt that large fuel loads result in larger fires”.

Ex-FRNSW Fire Chief Joins Climate Crazies

Ex-FRNSW Fire Chief Joins Climate Crazies

Greg Mullins’ dad told him about 1939 when “the sky seemed to be on fire every night”. John Mulligan lived through the Black Friday fires that burnt two million hectares of Victoria and killed 71 people. There were hundreds of fires in East Gippsland at that same time, but no major problems because the bush was kept clean by burning and grazing. John’s family weren’t worried, even when his uncle’s car repeatedly stopped because of vapour locks in the fuel lines with the extreme heat. John has formed the East Gippsland Wildfire Taskforce to try and restore sanity. If we get fires under the same weather conditions today, they’ll destroy everything from Bairnsdale to Sydney.

Land Management and Cool Burning

Land Management and Cool Burning

In this video, the VFFA President and Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate for Monaro, Mick Holton talks to Barry Aitchison about land management.

Mick says that the NSW Government has failed to provide appropriate land management. The costs of this failure are hard to calculate, they include huge expenditure on firefighting, increased insurance premiums and reactive rather than proactive expenditure to correct land management disasters such as weeds, feral animals, water yield problems.

Politics and Firefighting

Politics and Firefighting

I started as a mechanic, then turned to a firefighting career with NSW Fire Brigades (now Fire + Rescue NSW), switched to a full-time position with the Rural Fire Service and I now operate my own successful business.

This video focuses upon my interest in improving our land management.

The major parties don’t have a great track record in this area.

What will it take?

What will it take?

State governments and fire authorities are failing to act upon reports, royal commissions, inquiries, local knowledge and in particular, the knowledge of Indigenous Australians.

It is interesting that climate change is used as a diversionary tactic but the fact remains: more fuel equals hotter fires and these hot fires are destroying our environment, our homes, our way of life and placing the lives of people at risk.

Hot or Cool Burns (you choose)

Hot or Cool Burns (you choose)

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that hot fires must be avoided. We have to return to cool burning and other land management practices (including selected agricultural clearing and grazing) if we are going to sustain our environment and lifestyle into the future.

A FEDERAL Parliamentary inquiry will be held into Queensland’s bushfires as the State Government bluntly rejects calls from farmers, lobby groups and Prime Minister Scott Morrison for a judicial inquiry.

NSW has the same problems.

Failure – two stories on the failure of wildfire management, one distant and the other closer to home

Failure – two stories on the failure of wildfire management, one distant and the other closer to home

Media coverage of the California fires in Australia is sure to unnerve many in our community and prompts the question, why are the fire management agencies not explaining the differences in fire behaviour due to the vegetation involved? Or does the media coverage serve to strengthen the “leave early” policy?

There has been much criticism and mocking of US President Donald Trump for his comment about raking forest floors to remove the material which fuels fires, but the principle behind his comment is sound.

Hero in the sky?

Hero in the sky?

The VFFA says that the real heroes are the men and women on the fireground.

Unfortunately, the NSW Government and the NSW Rural Fire Service is relying upon aviation as our saviour when it comes to wildfire suppression.

The truth is that we cannot afford to continue along this path.

We must improve our land management practices, including cool (cultural or ecological) burning, to reduce the frequency and intensity of fires. This will eventually negate the need for large air tankers.