As former State Fire Chiefs call for a summit on bushfires, expert and scientist David Packham explains that it has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with fuel-loads.

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24 thoughts on “Scientist David Packham on what’s really causing the bushfires

  • January 3, 2020 at 11:19 pm
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    I have a small 60 acre property in central Vic and the local CFA told me I could not do any hazard reduction burning and they had no resources to supervise a burn. I will re-apply this winter when cooler heads might prevail. I have two fire pumps and a 1,000 ltr tank mounted on a pallet, plus a backpack, clothes and shovel. I was told not to do anything and a permit would not be approved. slashing and bulldozing are my only resources apart from poison and ploughing. All have draw backs, all are harmfull one way or the other, most are too expensive. Very frustrated small holding farmer wanting to reduce fuel loads.

  • January 4, 2020 at 10:47 am
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    Very interesting. I hope the govt takes notice. We have to get some sanity back into this debate.

  • January 4, 2020 at 6:06 pm
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    We all need to talk respectfully- we share the same intention safe home – we don’t have time to waste arguing & blaming- it’s so complex , the stakes are so high, Fire fighters are putting their lives at risk, They must never be sent to defend the indefensible .
    We need a plan & shared commitment to manage risk , fear & angst . we’re all in this together Let’s ask good questions , explore options , make decisions , We all have response -ability , no one has all the answers.
    Stay curious, be kind, listen & learn.
    bplanhttps://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/australias-angry-summer-this-is-what-climate-change-looks-like/

  • January 5, 2020 at 10:47 am
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    No long winded drawn out inquiry that will in the end achieve nothing is necessary. Anyone with the slightest shred of common sense knows that stupid laws that lock up private and community land must be binned, fire trails put back in and burning off massively increased.
    PS. Only the most stupid of all continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.

  • January 5, 2020 at 11:21 am
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    Follow the bushfire management of Kakadu. The rangers there know what they are doing.

  • January 5, 2020 at 9:47 pm
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    Hazard reduction is not the correct paradigm to reduce the intensity and extent of wild fires.

    We need to learn from Indigenous Australians in the areas in which we now live as to how and when they burned ie season, mosaic patterns, reasons for burns. We could increase the productivity of our bushland AND keep our native animals, livestock and properties in good health IF we use firestick farming and not just some Stupid White Man’s (SWM) “reduction of the fuel load”.

    It has taken 250 years to understand the intelligence and appreciate the knowledge gained from 65,000 years of the world’s longest living culture’s survival on this island. We should not be too simplistic in burning ‘when we can get the approval’.

    Our ecological safety should be based on proper, long term strategies of maintaining healthy bushland and animal habitats, not just burning the bush in a Christian, land ‘management’ style of SWM dominating Nature.

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  • January 6, 2020 at 12:00 pm
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    My wife and I drove from Torquay to Woolongong last October over 8 days. We left Sydney on November 1st. We have been horrified at the extent of these fires, saddened that such grief has come to this beautiful coast, but impressed by the fight back. I have suggested to family and friends that they should repeat our holiday as tourists to help get these community’s back on their feet. We send our love and respect to all the thousands of good people hurt and involved in fighting this tragedy. From here we can only hope that future management learns from past mistakes. From where we sit in safety it’s easy to comment, and perhaps presumptuous, but surely rational thinking about controlled burn offs has to be part of the solution.

  • January 6, 2020 at 9:53 pm
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    This should be sent to the litigation lawyers. Only if the government bureaucrats are threatened with financial consequences will any authority take any notice
    Stan O’Loughlin. Metung resident

  • January 7, 2020 at 5:13 am
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    Sounds like foolish U.S. laws that prevent the burning of fallen dead wood in national parks and forests.
    I received a citation at my tent site , because I had some dead branches in my fire ring for the evening campfire.
    They were picked up on the short walk to the bathroom. Better to let nature burn down complete forests rather than harvest fuel tinder, right??
    Wait something wrong here.

  • January 7, 2020 at 12:39 pm
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    It’s not one problem or the other. Both climate change and fuel load are major problems and both need to be addressed.

    Part of the problem is cutting funding to RFS so they can’t work with farmers to do burn offs. Another part of the problem is drought and a longer fire season means fewer days where burn offs can be carried out safely.

  • January 7, 2020 at 7:28 pm
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    It would be interesting to ask David Packham why he thinks areas like Qld’s Yapoon and Tassie’s Cradle Mountain are burning. They are not adapted to fire and were not burnt by the local indig population, but now they ignite. Why? Could it be that there is more than one cause here? More fuel burning needed AND something else?

  • January 8, 2020 at 9:28 am
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    Part of the problem is cutting funding to RFS so they can’t work with farmers to do burn offs. Another part of the problem is drought and a longer fire season means fewer days where burn offs can be carried out safely.

    This attitude IS one of the big problems.
    IF we can safely do a back burn in front of a massive fire front then we can burn any day of the week, any time of the year except those days with strong gusty winds and even they you can mitigate for the winds but the burn will be very small & slow.

    The “burning season” is stupid with a capital S so we burn in winter so the soil remains uncovered or even worse winter grasses that brown off & create a fire hazard become the dominant ground cover.

    As for climate change
    You can attribute the hot day to climate change
    You can attribute the extended high danger fire season to climate change
    You can not blame the severity & intensity of the current fires on climate change they are solely due to reduced hazard reduction burns & neglected fire trails.

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  • January 9, 2020 at 5:03 pm
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    In NSW it is a combination of the government slashing the numbers of experienced National Park rangers that in the good times would burn off excess fuel plus the restrictions on RFS being able to burn off with farmers. Money withdrawn from both services.
    The combination of Indian Ocean Dipole and El Nina/La Nina as well as the one degree increase in ocean temperature has produced the incredible heat waves we are receiving thus drying out even rain forests in QLD. The one degree increase HAS occurred, is accentuating these systems and is caused by climate change. Any first year uni student studying chemistry and biology will understand the relationship between C12/C13 in CO2 and its change due to fossil fuel burning but then most of we science types have given up talking to people who listen to shock jocks (and shooters party).

  • January 10, 2020 at 12:15 pm
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    Put fire out early we have the equipment and they won’t get so big soon as a fire starts and gets reported a quick response with aircraft large helicopters will stop it if you look at aerial video fires in 1992 when they first started where left to long to burn

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