Burning the bush to prevent catastrophic fires is something that rural fire services all over the country have been doing for decades. But Aboriginal Australians have been doing it for tens of thousands of years—and their “cool burns” are making a welcome comeback.
Emergency services have had a bad run with a lineup of Emergency Service Ministers that have failed miserably.
The following SES Commissioner resignations are a poor reflection upon our governments administration of emergency service agencies.
Emergency service workers are waiting to see who will become the next Emergency Services Minister.
A recent article in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph paints a despondent picture: horrible bushfires are “the new normal” because of climate change.
The fire season, we learn, now extends to nearly 10 months of the year, and bushfires have become so intense that they cannot be stopped before immense damage is done.
According to recently retired NSW fire commissioner Greg Mullins (now a member of the Climate Council): “The price of inaction [on climate change] will increasingly be paid in lives lost and communities shattered”.
The recent fires in Victoria were driven by big fuel loads, not by the weather.
The fire danger index was a surprising low 16-20, but the high fuel loads resulted in predicted rates of spread of 0.5 kph and flame heights up to 10m.
In comparison, the fire danger index on Black Saturday 2009 reached around 130 -180. The FFDI is a measure of the speed, flame height and spotting distance.
Let’s have a think about this for a while:
Point 1. They ripped the guts out of our National Parks in a restructure. Towns like Bombala lost jobs as a result and we all lost good people who helped manage our National Parks.
Point 2. If we continue to buy up land for National Parks, we need to ensure that we have the resources to manage such land. Recurring budget is required.
Point 3. The firefighter in me suggests that they will allow the fuel to build without appropriate fuel management. If or when fire impacts upon that area, the koalas will be injured or killed in the process.
A typical example is what happened at Tathra.
Point 4. We are under resourced and we don’t manage our Parks very well. We don’t seem to understand the concept of COOL burning and Indigenous land management. We often acknowledge Indigenous culture at meetings and events, but words are cheap…
Perhaps we should consider handing some of our National Parks back to Indigenous control.
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.