“Hotter temperatures, reduced rainfall in key seasons and worse fire weather, are all consistent with what is projected with climate change, particularly under a high-emission scenario,” said Michael Grose from the CSIRO.
David Bowman from the University of Tasmania said. “If there was something simple that could be done, it would be done.”
Indigenous Australians managed the land without bulldozers, large aircraft and huge budgets.
In terms of bush firefighting, a wise man once said “The only fires that humans can put out are the ones doing some good”.
An interesting letter from a former employee of the Department of Conservation and Land Management in WA (now Department of Parks and Wildlife).
His story concerns a fire in the nature reserve at Mount Manypeaks, located about thirty kilometres east of Albany on the WA south coast. This is considered one of the State’s most important reserves, being home to the Noisy Scrub-bird (Atrichornis clamosus), one of our most endangered species. The Noisy Scrub-bird (NSB) was for many years considered extinct, but then a small remnant population was located at Two People’s Bay nature reserve in the 1960s. From here, birds have been successfully translocated to several suitable locations, including Mt Manypeaks, and this in time became the principal population of the species. Since they were originally rediscovered within bushland that had been long-unburnt, wildlife scientists concluded that the bird (which is ground-dwelling) would only survive if fire was permanently excluded from its habitat.
Fire exclusion thus became the policy for all reserves in which the noisy scrub-bird occurred.
A retired general manager of the former Department of Conservation and Land Management has questioned the effectiveness of water bombers in fighting large-scale fires such as those in Western Australia this bushfire season.
People are looking for a technological fix to what is basically a problem of land management.
The most fundamental tool of the bushfire manager is not the fire tanker, the bulldozer, or even the water bomber. It is the match. The only way to minimise fire intensity and damage is by reducing the amount of fuel before a fire starts. Military people refer to this approach as the pre-emptive strike … we call it fuel reduction.
If press releases and photo ops could put out fires, no bush town would ever again need to fear the flames of summer. The sad and simple fact, however, is that they achieve little at enormous cost. Is it any wonder empire-building bureaucrats love them so?
I am perplexed when I read about the ever increasing NSW RFS budget and the way that the government uses the good name of the Volunteer fire fighters to justify its grab for cash.
They claim that they need more money for hazard reduction and we learned in the press this week (21st Jan 2016), that they are not meeting those targets.
They are not even close…