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.

What California’s Fire Follies Can Teach Us

What California’s Fire Follies Can Teach Us

As is normal these days, the blame game is already being waged in the wake of the most recent 2018 Californian bushfires. On the one hand are the doomsdayers who claim the fires are a result of climate change. At the other end of the spectrum are those blaming “environmental terrorists” for preventing effective pre-fire management, such as forest thinning and fuel-reduction burning.

Farmers told its not too late to prepare for fire season

This podcast was published on the 2GB network on the 9th November 2018.
Drought this year is expected to deliver catastrophic bushfire conditions.
Just out from the start of Summer, rural property owners are being reminded it’s not too late to start preparing.
Rural reporter Eddie Summerfield caught up with New South Wales Farmers Conservation Committee member Mitchell Clapham.
WARNING: Fire service bureaucrats are warned that this podcast may contain simple and common sense solutions.

Yankees Gap Fire – Half a century of regress in land and fire management

Yankees Gap Fire – Half a century of regress in land and fire management

By Vic Jurskis (Feature Photo and Video Link: You Tube – Helmreich Joinery)

In autumn 1968, CSIRO and New South Wales Bushfire Council carried out only the second aerial hazard reduction burn in NSW, in Vacant Crown Land that is now National Park and Wilderness. Danny Christopher, the Fire Control Officer reckoned that the burn saved Bega in spring that year. Other parts of the state had a devastating fire season. Fourteen people died, 156 homes and buildings were lost and a million hectares were incinerated. Later on, wildfires in the rough country between Bemboka and Brogo in 1986 and 1988 were contained by backburning from the network of fire trails constructed by the Bush Fire Council.

Another wildfire started in this area on 15thAugust 2018. Just as well it happened when it did. After 30 days of fire control operations using ground crews and water-bombing helicopters, under mostly favourable conditions, crews were evacuated in anticipation of extreme winds on Saturday 15thSeptember. A house, several sheds and possibly some livestock were lost. Conditions eased with a southwesterly change. On Sunday a Rural Fire Service airtanker commenced bombing operations with fire retardant from its base in Sydney.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Are modern firefighting agencies inciting fear as a method of risk management rather than applying appropriate risk control measures? 

Fear is a powerful tool, it sells newspapers, keeps the television ratings alive, gives our radio stations some great material to talk about and it helps to drive campaigns to increase public spending on reactive and expensive firefighting strategies that we simply cannot afford.

Image if we could return to a situation where our local firefighters looked after their own patch without the red tape associated with hazard reduction. Image how nice it would be if our land management practices were returned to a commonsense and balanced approach that our Indigenous Australians, farmers and graziers have used in the past.

Instead of cooking the guts out of the country, we could see improved forest health and reduced risk to our native animals and the bush that we love so much.

Instead, we see another story that warns us of a bleak bushfire outlook. There is no mention of the massive fuel loads that are the root cause of this problem.

The elephant in the room is fuel.

The Hidden Cost of Bushfires – by Roger Underwood

The Hidden Cost of Bushfires – by Roger Underwood

As I pursue my passion for bushfire safety I am frequently confronted by people who live in bushfire-prone residential situations but who make no preparations for fire. When I ask why, they say that they are not worried. “If a fire comes, I will simply evacuate” they say, “and if the house burns, I have insurance and will just rebuild”. This philosophy is usually based on the fear that preparing for bushfires (especially fuel reduction in bushland) means “destroying the environment”.
Several things have not been thought-through…