Miranda Devine

March 5, 2019

Melissa Price, the new federal Environment Minister, has done untold political damage to a government already divided over climate action by spouting idiotic green propaganda about Victoria’s bushfires.

On Tuesday, she linked the fires to climate change, claiming there is “no doubt” of its impact on Australia.

“There’s no doubt that there’s many people who have suffered over this summer. We talk about the Victorian bushfires … There’s no doubt that climate change is having an impact on us. There’s no denying that.”

Sorry, minister, it wasn’t climate change that caused the latest bushfires which have so far destroyed nine homes in Victoria, and it wasn’t climate change that killed almost 200 people in the Black Saturday fires ten years ago.

The real culprit is green ideology which opposes the necessary hazard reduction of fuel loads in national parks and which prevents landholders from clearing vegetation around their homes.

Jinks Creek Winery was destroyed after a bushfire engulfed the Bunyip state forest. Picture: Stuart McEvoy / The Australian

The ongoing poor management of national parks and state forests in Victoria and green obstruction of fire mitigation strategies has led to dangerously high fuel loads over the past decade.

That means that when fires do inevitably break out they are so intense that they are devilishly difficult for firefighters to contain. As a federal parliamentary inquiry heard in 2003, if you quadruple the ground fuel, you get a 13-fold increase in the heat generated by a fire.

Locals know the truth. Andrew Clarke, owner of Jinks Creek Winery, which has been destroyed by a fire which raged out of the Bunyip State Forest, “begged” for fuel reduction burns to protect his property.

“I’ve been begging them [Forest Fire Management Victoria] for 20 years to burn off the state forest at the back of our place and still to this day it hasn’t happened,” he told the ABC’s Country Hour.

Clarke said a planned burn-off was called off because of concerns about nesting birds.

So how did that work out for the birds?

Hundreds of emergency workers have worked across Victoria throughout the week to bring fires under control. Picture: AAP / David Crosling

Just three weeks ago, Victoria’s former chief fire officer Ewan Waller warned that state forest fuel loads were reaching deadly, Black Saturday levels. No one paid any attention.

But you can bet Premier Daniel Andrews will hide behind the climate change furphy.

Parroting green lies suits politicians because then they can avoid blame for their own culpability.

The Black Saturday Bushfire Royal Commission criticised the Victorian government for its failure to reduce fuel loads in state forests. It recommended more than doubling the amount of hazard reduction burns.

Instead, in the last three years, alone, the Andrews government has slashed the amount of public land being hazard reduced by almost two thirds.

It’s a crime.

The wonder is that the Morrison government is helping him with his alibi.

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6 thoughts on “Green ideology, not climate change, makes bushfires worse

  • March 10, 2019 at 9:26 am
    Permalink

    The Hon Melissa Price
    Federal Minister for the Environment
    Canberra, ACT

    Dear Minister

    I noted your comment in the media that the recent Victorian bushfires are the “result of climate change”.

    It is regrettable that you should make this statement, because not only is it incorrect, it excuses the Victorian government and parks bureaucracy for serious mismanagement. People who know about bushfires have been saying for the last 5 years that Victoria is headed for another Black Saturday, and not because the world’s mean annual temperature has gone up a degree or two. It is, above all, due to inattention to escalating fuel levels in the bush.

    A further problem in blaming climate change is that this does not provide a short-term answer for an existing threat.

    I draw your attention to the attached article, published recently at Quadrant On Line. This dismisses the claim that current bushfires are the result of climate change and points out the futility of trying to fix the bushfire problem by fixing the climate.

    Coming from Western Australia you are in a perfect position to provide leadership in the matter of bushfire management. We are the leading jurisdiction in Australia, and are the envy of bushfire experts around the country. The least helpful thing you can do is to adopt the “greenie” line on bushfires. This has never worked and can never work. On the contrary, as Environment Minister you should be promoting:

    1. The key importance of effective bushfire management in combatting environmental damage such as incineration of wildlife, soil erosion, loss of landscape beauty, destruction of heritage and recreation facilities;

    2. The need to address the bushfire threat now, not wait 30 years for the climate to be fixed.

    3. The cost/benefit of fuel reduction burning as a means of minimising bushfire damage at optimum cost to the community;

    4. The critical need to reduce the risk of death and injury from fires, especially to firefighters; and

    5. The need to implement the findings of bushfire inquiries, including the Black Saturday Royal Commission, and the House of Representatives and the Senate Inquiries into bushfires, all of which put the case for more pre-emptive management (including fuels management) rather than relying on suppression. If you have not studied the report of the Senate Inquiry you need urgently to do so, as it was a comprehensive and intelligent work.

    I would welcome an invitation to discuss these issues with you. I am prepared to travel to Merredin to meet you in your electoral office. If this is not suitable, perhaps you would like to talk to Chris Back, a former Senator with a profound understanding of bushfire issues.

    In the meantime, I implore you to withdraw your comments blaming the recent bushfires on climate change. They are unhelpful to Australian firefighters and disrespectful to Australian bushfire scientists and managers … the very people who are putting their lives on the line to protect the Australian environment and communities.

    Yours sincerely

    Roger Underwood AM
    Chairman, The Bushfire Front of WA Inc

  • September 17, 2019 at 10:55 am
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    I read this article with interest as new bushfires are currently ravaging NSW and QLD. The predictable propaganda coming from left-leaning politicians is of course that “we” collectively caused the bushfires by driving our kids to school and flying in planes to enjoy holidays or conduct business. This of course is utter tripe. These bushfires have nothing to do with climate getting warmer or drier due to climate change. In fact CO2 in the atmosphere has far more benefits to forests than dangers.

    CO2 causes vegetation to grow bigger and more healthy. It causes the forest undergrowth to grow thicker, and makes the forests more resistant to drought. All of which is excellent for the environment and for the fauna which relies on a healthy forest to thrive. And that’s fine if nobody needs to live in the middle of the forest, because it makes them more dangerous.

    That is why an effective forest management plan is essential for mitigating the danger of bushfires. But of course the Greens and other left-leaning politicians hate the idea of trees being burned, and so they have legislated against managed burn-offs, which would reduce the danger around houses and small towns.

    The best way to fight fires is to fight them before they start! And managed burn-offs are THE most effective way to do that.

    Fortunately for the forest, the extra CO2 in the atmosphere will mean that they recover from fires much more quickly. Not so for humans killed or homes burned through mis-management.

  • November 9, 2019 at 3:57 pm
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    We all know that it is the Green’s and Climate Leftards refusing to build the Dam’s and refusing to back burn that has allowed the current fires to burn. They are finally starting to charge people caught lighting fires, maybe, they should have a good look at the Greenies and Climate idiots and charge them, for loss of life, livestock property etc. It might just make them wake up to the truth

  • November 9, 2019 at 11:54 pm
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    I totally agree with the letter written by Roger Underwood AM
    Chairman, The Bushfire Front of WA Inc, which clearly stated that climate change does not increase the risk if bush fires. It is about time your started listening to experts rather that climate alarmist. You will find that if you keep on taking advise from greenies that you will lose the next election and certainly your seat in parliament. There are a lot more people wanting fuel reduction burning to stop these horrific fires, than those who oppose them. Please listen to your experts that is why you employ them.

  • November 13, 2019 at 9:24 am
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    First, I do believe climate change is exacerbating forest and brush fires. In the past, vegetation that was fed by seasonal rains, did not dry out to the extent it currently does, before the next seasonal rainfall. Nowadays, vegetation grows and little rain follows during the “rainy” season to quell any potential fires.

    At the same time, brush must always be cleared around homes and in areas where excessive brush overgrowth can lead to disastrous consequences. I am not fully understanding the government’s rules and regulations in Australia concerning limitations on brush clearing. In the USA, especially in the state of California and most other western states, it is imperative that brush be cleared seasonally. As far as forests are concerned, there was a time that fires were allowed to burn thus keeping overgrowth to a minimum. That practice ceased years ago due to people moving into Eden and thus not wanting their homes and castles burned to the ground. Obviously, the governments now have to protect these settlements in the forest. Wildlife, at least to my knowledge, has not factored into what is subject to controlled burns or not in the USA. On the other hand, logging is prohibited in nesting areas of the spotted owl. “President” Trump has asked for raking the forest (an insane idea by anyone’s standards!).

    When politics, emotions, and science are thrown into the mix, seldom has a solution been arrived at that satisfies everyone.

  • November 16, 2019 at 6:32 am
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    Michael
    Agreed, Mr Trump’s idea of raking the forest is crazy at best.
    Having said that, the principle behind his ‘raking’ idea might be a land management concept.
    Indigenous Australians used cool burning as a kind of ‘Trump rake’ to manage the land, they may not be too impressed with the comparison but I’m sure that will forgive me (I’m on their side).
    Cool burning is low intensity with low or zero scorch to trees.
    Lightening strikes can achieve this type of fuel management in a natural way but will become too hot because of human intervention in the past.
    Cool burns that leave organic material behind and don’t kill every living thing are way more desirable than a wildfire that totally annihilates everything.
    I thank you for your comment.
    Regards
    Mick Holton

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