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|Posted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:59 am Post subject: Sydney bush fires climate change is the cause?
|Volunteer Fire Fighters Association
It is high time bureaucrats and politicians stopped blaming climate change for a bushfire crisis that is very much of their own making and is putting lives at risk
https://volunteerfirefighters.org.au/it-is-high-time-bureaucrats-and-p oliticians-stopped-blaming-climate-change-for-a-bushfire-crisis-that-i s-very-much-of-their-own-making-and-is-putting-lives-at-risk
By Alan Jones, 18th November 2019
The ABC were at it again last week, fawning over 23 former fire and emergency leaders who commented, outside their area of expertise, about an alleged relationship between bushfires and climate change.
It is worth asking how the non-expert views of such people are even newsworthy.
But the propaganda in relation to climate change, from the classroom to the university to politicians and to most of the media, has to give cause for concern.
As The Australian newspaper editorialised at the weekend, “It is time for a dose of icy water. Climate change did not cause the fires.
Drought and even deadlier blazes have been part of Australian life for more than a century … even if Australians eliminated all of the nation’s greenhouse gases, about 1.3 per cent of the global total, and pandered to extremists who want meat consumption, grazing and flying reduced markedly, nothing, virtually nothing, would be achieved …”
Well, let’s deal first with the “deadlier” blazes.
Firey’s are constrained in executing their duties by Greenies and green policies – Artwork: Terry Pontikos
Dramatic language has been used to suggest that the devastation of last week is “unprecedented”, “apocalyptic”, “catastrophic”, and the result of the “worst bushfire conditions ever”.
So what is to be made of the Black Saturday fire in Victoria in 2009 which burned 450,000 hectares of land, killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2000 homes? Or the Ash Wednesday fire in Victoria and South Australia in 1983, which burned 520,000 hectares, destroyed 2400 homes and killed 75 people? Or the Tasmanian Black Tuesday fires in 1967, which burned more than 260,000 hectares, destroyed something like 1400 homes and killed 62 people? Or, back in 1939, the Black Friday fire, which burned almost two million hectares, destroyed more than 700 homes and resulted in 71 fatalities?
Dramatic language has been used to suggest that the devastation of last week is “unprecedented”, “apocalyptic”, “catastrophic”, and the result of the
“worst bushfire conditions ever” – Picture: AAP/Jeremy Piper
Adding Fuel to the Fire
No one is denying the gravity of what people and firefighters have been through now, but it is no use gilding the lily here.
You can’t have a fire without fuel.
Two factors above all else come into play here.
In NSW, when Bob Carr was the minister, and later premier, he ratified moves to have fire trails abandoned.
Carr’s moves prevented access to those fire trails by the Rural Fire Service, under the pretext he was keeping four 4WDs and campers out.
The government (and how many problems that we face today are created by government?) put locked gates on these national parks and planted big rocks at the entry to the fire trails.
Understandably, the fire trails are now overgrown with regrowth forest, impenetrable to everybody except native and feral animals.
The fire trails are now overgrown with regrowth forest, impenetrable to everybody except native and feral animals – Picture: AAP/Jeremy Piper
Yet it was these fire trails that enabled the fire fighters to get to the heart of a fire.
They could then create back burning and land clearing.
Fire fighters could mobilise earth-moving equipment and successfully put the fire out.
In those days, water bombing wasn’t in vogue.
It wasn’t necessary and, anyway, it was too expensive. The fire trails were “fit for purpose”.
Today, the fire fighters know they are hopelessly limited by where they can gain access to the fires. They have to rely on very expensive water bombing strategies.
The greenies, of course, endorse this strategy.
Except that they, disturbingly, prefer the use of freshwater, which we don’t have, over salt water in putting out bushfires.
And that is allegedly to “protect” the environment.
The Black Saturday fire in Victoria in 2009 which burned 450,000 hectares of land, killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2000 homes.
As one of my listeners said: “This sounds like fiction but it is not. What is all this ‘protect the environment’ hypocrisy? When have we seen any Greens MP, Zali Steggall, Adam Bandt, Sarah Hanson-Young and their leader, Richard Di Natale, line up alongside Tony Abbott to fight the fires?”
Then-senator John Williams said in 2013, “The problem in our national parks is that we have these savage fires with huge amounts of fuel per hectare; we are killing the trees, we’re killing the animals, we’re killing the koalas and anything else that lives in these areas and we call it conservation …”
You and I would call it destruction.
I repeat, you cannot have a fire without fuel.
Re-Learn to Burn
When you think there are seven million hectares of national parks in NSW alone, 200 of them in Sydney, and yet hazard reduction burns have occurred on less than 1 per cent of fire-prone land, then we are staring at a potential inferno.
This has nothing to do with climate change.
Dr Paul Read, co-director of Australia’s National Centre for Research in Bushfire and Arson, puts the number of bushfires in Australia per year at, on average, “62,000 and increasing”.
Of those, 13 per cent are started deliberately and 37 per cent are suspicious. That means 31,000 Australian bushfires are either the product of arson or suspected arson, every year. That means that up to 85 bushfires begin every day because someone leaves their home and decides to start one.
The Ash Wednesday fire in Victoria and South Australia in 1983, burned 520,000 hectares, destroyed 2400 homes and killed 75 people.
Thousands of men and women are risking their lives fighting fires and many have been deliberately lit.
The guts of the problem is again government.
Local governments are being blamed for all of this, but they have no power to even lift a fallen tree or remove a broken branch.
If they want to back-burn or reduce the fuel on the forest floor, they must get permission from state government and jump through endless hoops.
That is, if local government want to reduce the fire hazard.
Indigenous Australians knew how to deal with fire. We have learnt nothing from them. The problem is simple. There is too much fuel on the floor and we cannot get at it.
Arguing that we need more water bombers, and we will have to buy them from overseas, is attacking the symptom, not the disease.
The current strategies have us facing potentially appalling consequences and have nothing to do with protecting the environment.
We need an independent body, removed from all government, with a simple brief to secure hazard reduction.
I saw a pathetic defence of government policy last week when Environment Minister Matt Kean said the government had exceeded its own “five-year rolling target for hazard reduction”.
And “that target says that over five years, on average, we will do hazard reduction of 135,000 hectares”.
NSW Rural Fire Service crews monitor the burn of a containment line around a property at Colo Heights, north west of Sydney on November 16 – Picture: AAP/Dan Himbrechts
National parks in New South Wales cover more than seven million hectares so at the rate of 135,000 hectares a year, you are looking at more than 51 years to complete the hazard reduction in all of them. That is somewhere south of useless.
With all the odds against them, massive build-up of fuel on the floor, dry weather, frightening winds, arsonists and governments pandering to the Greens, our fire services and volunteers are veritable heroes and should be recognised as such.
And so are the employers who fund the volunteers while they do their work.
In the midst of all of this, it is easy to forget the good stories.
One concerns Paul Sefsky, near Urunga on the mid-north coast.
He expected to lose his home. He fled when the evacuation order came through. Firefighters managed to save his home. When he returned home, he found a handwritten note from the firefighters who had saved it. It said: “It was a pleasure to save your house. Sorry that we could not save your sheds. PS. We owe you some milk.”
This is moving and inspirational. We owe such firefighters better management of the risk than is currently the case.
Listen to the Alan Jones Breakfast Program on 2GB weekdays from 5.30am to 9am.
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43 thoughts on “It is high time bureaucrats and politicians stopped blaming climate change for a bushfire crisis that is very much of their own making and is putting lives at risk”
December 18, 2019 at 12:51 pm
How true. Currently we have not only the worst but also the most criminally liable Governments in Australias history.
December 21, 2019 at 12:29 am
Nothing has changed sice 1969 when I lived in Nth Springwood in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. During these fires which raged we lost 44- homes burned to the ground, nearly 340 of them lost in a chaotic 1 day period when the fire jumped our position, at the ‘blowhole’, plus the highway, plus the railway, and landed 50 metres past our captain on the other side and took off down Safafras Gully, travelling 17 miles in just under 2 hours. We were asked for our recommendations, so this type of fire could never happen again, we gave them total details. A Deputy Captain of the Nth Springwood VFS – Mr Phil Koperberg became the Chief Fire Officer, and still NOTHING was done by Politicians to practically legislate to reduce risks! My crew lost count of the number of times we put our truck and ourselves between the fire and homes, the number of times our truck was surrounded by fire and we nearly didn’t make it out. We fought fires for 31/2 weeks straight, we supplied all our own equipment in those days, and yet, politicians could not make strategic decisions, which could and would have saved homes and lives, in future years. Fires are NOT CAUSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE, they are caused by lack of GUTS to make the CORRECT DECISIONS to reduce fuel load on the floor of the forests. The eucalypt leafs are highly imflamable, so match forest floor excess product, with high winds and you have the perfect equation for 120ft walls of flame, moving very fast, jumping 200-300 metres through the canopie.
I am 74years of age, I was a young, married man with 2 children under 2 years when those fires hit and I have never forgotten images of out of control fire and just our tanker and 7-8 guys trying to keep the heat and flames away from homes in our area.
Every politician and green tree hugger should be forced to spend active time as a volunteer fire fighter, because they don’t understand a single thing about the subject which they pontificate so eloqunetly about!
December 21, 2019 at 10:39 am
I agree 100%. No human being can do ANYTHING about the climate , NATURE has control of the climate as it has for billions of year’s and will continue to keep alternating between hot and cold for the next few billion years.
December 21, 2019 at 6:36 pm
I fully agree, you cannot have a fire without fuel. Our communities and RFS need to be empowered to “Re-Learn to Burn”.
December 21, 2019 at 8:59 pm
Seriously how do we the people sack the government, the greens should be locked up for everyone’s benefit.
Stop sending money overseas, pull out of the UN. Stop the fracking in this country that will protect our water.
And for god’s sake can we get some leader that’s not corrupt , to much greed running this country.
December 21, 2019 at 9:42 pm
It’s been a disaster going to happen for many years. Locked up National parks,farmers can’t clear , huge fuel loads through no burning in winter,but worst blocking fire trails where fire fighters had a chance to stop a fire in its early stages.
December 22, 2019 at 5:16 am
All the climate change balony is being trotted out to divert attention from the real failure of government to “manage” all the land they have stolen from Australians. All this productive land stolen so that bureaucrats can travel to COP conferences and swan around. – biggest government corruption scandal in Australia by far. The high court has already ruled, on these type of land seizures. They can be fought.
December 22, 2019 at 7:04 am
Thank you, Alan Jones, for writing common sense, and stating what ordinary folk are thinking, but lack by and large both your eloquence and audience to articulate.
I would add that there is little grass in paddocks, so largely the fires are not grass fires, they are occurring in timber, which officials are loathe to let farmers cut, even when it is just woody weed.
Or else it is occurring in Parks, where, despite the previous catastrophe’s inadequate burning off still occurs.
December 22, 2019 at 7:12 am
And don’t forget Mother Nature lightening strikes. I grew up on a farm every year we would burn off in the winter generally when it was a still no wind day. We called our own shots. We never ever had any problems. The bush floor was clean, and a abundance of nature wildlife. Only other properties that where not maintained had problems. It use to anger my dad if he saw a property with overgrowth and rubbish everywhere, he would say to me” classic example of a bushfire “ don’t get me started the greens are surely responsible for all this. We would not be in this situation if the fire trails where clear and overgrowth was managed yearly in the national parks
December 22, 2019 at 7:39 am
I’m a Lismore City Councillor and farmer, I spent four years on the area bushfire committee, like you I’m over what I can only describe as stupidity surrounding the management of rural areas in relation to bushfire. I would be prepared to put a motion to Council condemning the NSW Government’s failure to manage rural NSW in relation to the bushfire danger. If this occurred across regional NSW Councils then just maybe these people might listen to reason and change their destructive policies.
December 22, 2019 at 8:56 am
Alan a great story and so true. I’m over this climate change bs, it is non existent. Our firies have been really let down by government’s state and federal for not allowing back burning and closing off the national parks, it certainly hasn’t stopped the arsonists just hindered the firies, now 2 dead and many in hospital, how many we probably won’t find out. These firies are exhausted and this is when accidents start to happen sadly they need more international help from all those countries we throw the cheque book at, not just the few groups from NZ, USA and Canada. We thank these guys immensely for their help but I have read posts where firies would come in a heartbeat but are being stopped because of lack of funds, why doesn’t the government step in and bring these firies out because ours can’t keep going. Thank you Alan for your good work.
December 22, 2019 at 9:10 am
Very interesting reading I suspect the problem is money, all these things cost, keeping fire trails clear , conducting hazard Reduction Burns (not back burns) etc. If you look at the cost of trying to control these fires so far this year and spent this money on preventative measures I am sure we would be in front.
It is the state governments responsibility for their own states, but fires do not respect boundries and the states share resources in times of need. So I think it is something the federal government should be financing.
December 22, 2019 at 9:54 am
The views of many fire chiefs are of no worth yet the views of an ex-teacher of English and current radio presenter are gospel truths? How did so much expertise get to reside in one man?
December 22, 2019 at 10:41 am
I believe there is an agenda..
December 22, 2019 at 10:42 am
I agree with this article but would like to add that now, with the huge fuel load in areas that will be subject to controlled burns, which themselves can become hit fires, we need a three pronged attack.
We need to thin, graze and then burn these areas. Not politically correct but the only practical solution.
December 22, 2019 at 11:26 am
The greens are a pack of morons they put a stop to everything that is good for our Country.Our resources our underground but we are unable to extract.next we we run out of gas , it’s there but we can’t get it cause the greens won’t allow us to fracture.Fires same can’t illiminate the dangers as in causes back burning is areas is voodoo not touch U may kill a tree.FFS wot does a bunch fire do you idiots
December 22, 2019 at 11:41 am
so the 23 ex fire chiefs are ”unqualified” or not experts in the field of fire fighting ?
Black Saturday fires .7th February / Ash Wednesday fires started 16 February /Black Tuesday fire started 7th February / Black Saturday fires of 1937/8 peaking in January 1938 . none of these catastrophic fires began in October or early November.
Current government regulations and policies control when back burning is permitted and i have no idea when the ”Greenies’ were in power to implement the regulations stated in this article , the current government has the power to remove rocks and re open fire trails but would rather rip down stadiums and rebuild them in Sydney and blame Labor and Greens for anything that goes wrong in the state / country . as does the so called current media . yes we do live in dangerous times .
December 22, 2019 at 11:51 am
Yes!! Go get ’em guys. Go in swinging, the bloody rot has to stop.
December 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm
Alan;well said,you have vividly pointed out the truth;shewing the evil Greens[woke,socialist extinction rebellion filth]their face to the Australien people.Australia thanks you Alan for exposing this madness and alerting us to the often mindedness idiosy of people in charge of Beautiful Australia.
December 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm
After working over 35 years in the bush (timber industry), I couldn’t agree more in the written article. Governments, in power, or Opposition, or fence sitters, should be ashamed of themselves, and be called to answer.
December 22, 2019 at 2:10 pm
Let’s stop pointing fingers and work together on strategies to prevent these fires happening again. Talk to the people on the ground, they at least have a clue as to what happens! Fuel reduction is imperative!
December 22, 2019 at 2:13 pm
I grew up in the bush on a dairy farm and as a boy I remember the local CFA every year would come along and control burn from our boundary fence back out to the road this made a great fire break if in the event a bush fire did happen. They did this in sections so the wild life had the opportunity escape. Worked perfectly we were never in fear of a major bush fire. Move over you greens and give back the power to the local farmers and local CFA to manage there own area.
December 22, 2019 at 2:39 pm
l agree the Volunteers are heroes and the Greens are at fault!!!
December 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm
The intensity of the bushfires we are experiencing can be laid fairly and squarely at the feet of successive State and Federal governments! They have permitted, nay encouraged, our national forests to become storehouses of underbrush and dead timber………holocausts just awaiting that errant lighting strike or deliberate action by an idiot! In the midst of a drought we are not permitting the use of salt water to help douse the fires…….salt was used for years to de-ice our roads….the land recovered as it always does. I could go on and on about government ineptitude and pandering to non scientific squawking from the ‘green’ contingent……how many of them belong to our rural fire brigades? How many of them actually understand our ‘brown’ land to the extent that our rural Aborigines do? Future generations will not forget today’s politicians and will do so for all the wrong reasons……Shame on you all!!,!
December 22, 2019 at 3:23 pm
how true its back on the greeies never let this happen ever again, new lessons have learned this should never happen again our RFS do the best job that our local government will let them do , this should never be the case our local government must let our RFS people do the work needed to prevent this horrific fire storm and with the RFS doing the work that is needed they are a very profesional crowd they know what needs to be done
December 22, 2019 at 5:09 pm
2GB & Affiliated radio stations are full of right wing shock jocks. Jones. Hadley etc. Remind me again where the Greens are in power in any Commonwealth, State, Local government seats !!! Apart from some inner city seats , where their power is minimal. 11,000 independent scientists cannot all be wrong re climate change.
December 22, 2019 at 5:15 pm
This needs amending right now , tear up the current laws and go back to what we all use to see in forests , trails , but I don’t think it will happen , common sense will be stifled by political mateships ( votes )
December 22, 2019 at 5:30 pm
Being a former QFRS Senior Officer (Inspector Urban/Rural) and still a RFS volunteer I am in a position to attest to bushfire control to be firmly in the affirmative for structured hazard reduction operations.
Programed patchwork fuel reduction burns are proven activities to both reduce heavy vegetation fuel loadings and preserve wildlife.
Aboriginal cool burns were conducted around water sources to encourage wildlife to attend and eat fresh vegetation following rain and heavy dew.
Only fair dinkum burning activities will alleviate future threats from bushfire.
December 22, 2019 at 5:37 pm
climate change is a fact, why a news reporter is acting like he carries the sway of facts is a joke.
December 22, 2019 at 5:38 pm
Well written and so true.
December 22, 2019 at 5:53 pm
OMG! This post is 💯 correct ❗️
Why can’t people see this❓💔
December 22, 2019 at 6:01 pm
Whilst not the Australian way, if all of those courageous volunteer fire fighters walked away and refused to put their lives at risk the politicians and nanny brigade would have to rethink, and perhaps, just perhaps not be so blinded by their own ego.
December 22, 2019 at 6:36 pm
Perhaps we even need to look at whether the government policies are developed in order to facilitate the Agenda 20 (now 30 ) policy of depopulation and centralised planning. Draining rivers for large scale agriculture in desert areas and underground artesian water basins and allowing fracking everywhere so that all available water is used by extraction industries rather than being reserved for farming is a strategy of such insanity that it has to be part of someone’s deliberate agenda. With no water nothing survives . Allowing our land to be regularly sprayed with aluminium, barium and strontium filled chemtrails can only be explained in terms of a deliberate policy to destroy. The chemtrails chemicals are fire accelerants. Why do we allow that to happen? Ignorant on the part of the majority. Deliberate destruction by the few. We can’t rely on the politicians to fix the problem. They’re causing the problem. Attributing the blame for climate extremes on CO2 levels means that all our attention and energy is focused on something we cannot realistically change and takes focus away from things that will make a difference such as water retention schemes, backburning, maintaining fire trails and restoring bush land and planting trees.
December 22, 2019 at 9:31 pm
This whole page is full of misinformation. Fair dinkum people.
Website CoordinatorPost author
December 23, 2019 at 5:04 pm
Well said Greg, let’s make that happen. The Shires Association / Local Government NSW has expressed concerns on the management of our Rural Fire Service in the past. Perhaps now is a good time to revisit. We got more burning done before the State took over.
December 23, 2019 at 7:38 pm
When whites first settled in Sydney, much of it was clear open spaces because the indigenous peoples carried out burns. Wherever needed the original land holders burned sections of the bush. Add to this the mountain folk of the Snowies learned from the First Nations people where the tracks up the mountains and across the mountains were and with it water holes, springs, rivers. They too had the wise habit of regular burning of some areas. This was done without total destruction of the environment. Drovers followed where the Aborigines went knowing they would find water for their stock. In the years that followed, summer saw the trek each year up to the Leases where stockmen spent time tending the herds. A good many were indigenous people and they taught the settlers how to burn sections prior to descending the mountains before the first snows. Then the Greenies pushed for a halt to all this. The undergrowth is thick and primed to burn and at times has done so.
Drovers all over NSW used to cook on open fires and would gather dead wood for camp fires and also carry some into areas of no trees. Now regulation after regulation. The camp fires are frowned upon as the timber housed insects for wild animals. Remember the drover’s routes followed where the original race travelled. They used fire wood. Some areas they burned. The environment was in total balance.
Tiny villages too in the bush are prohibited from picking up fallen timber to heat their homes and the villages also followed where the koori went. So dead wood lines many roads and stock routes. We make some stupid political decisions and it is high time we started listening to elderly First Nations folk and old timers who learned from them how to use the land wisely.
Irrigation and diverting water has its own issues too. The old fire trails should be redone where possible and heaven forbid, let trail riders on horses help keep them open and encourage them to destroy weeds on the track.
December 27, 2019 at 9:32 am
The Greens might be one contributing factor to lack of controlled burning, but I’m pretty sure the main factor is the drought, which has limited our opportunities to burn. And the drought is caused by …. climate change? I’m not sure. I am fairly certain that we’ve doomed future generations to a lifetime of summers like this one, because of our selfish inaction on climate change.
The main article is just stupid. Jones starts out by saying the former fire chiefs aren’t qualified to talk about climate change, then presents his opinions on climate change as fact. Hypocrisy much?
Then the one that really bugs me – that old chestnut about how Australia only produces 1.3% of global emissions. It’s not about the emissions that we produce, it’s about the impact we have on global politics. Australia is one of the three countries which blocked progress at the most recent climate change summit, along with the US and Brazil. Disgraceful. How about I use an analogy – Australia has 7 million acres of bushland to protect and I can only protect 0.00000000000000013% of them by joining the RFS, so there’d be no point to me doing that so I’ll just sit at home and turn the telly on. No, that’d be unaustralian….or would it?
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December 28, 2019 at 7:42 am
Clearly the Drought and heatwaves through winter prevented burning. You can’t burn off when the fire could get out of control.
The shift in seasons and increased intensity of natural disasters made these fires what they are. This is text book climate change and Alan is pointing the finger at everyone but himself.
He and others like him around the world actively campaigned to prevent action on climate change and this is the result.
There’s blood on his hands. Again.
This article is just more of his anti science propaganda.
Take it down.
Website CoordinatorPost author
December 28, 2019 at 8:15 am
Many farmers and firefighters with ‘bush skills’ say that dry conditions actually broaden the burning window of opportunity because you can burn throughout winter.
Thanks for your comment, we all need to keep an open mind on these issues.
Website CoordinatorPost author
December 28, 2019 at 8:17 am
Many farmers and firefighters with ‘bush skills’ say that dry conditions actually broaden the burning window of opportunity because you can burn throughout winter.
December 30, 2019 at 8:21 am
Ive been saying this for years and this goes for compamies and governments alike, Quote” yes you may be a govenor or be the boss but you have people around you that know and understand more about the issues than you do so listen to them, you will find they will be more willing and loyal as a result and things will be done/managed in an efficiant and effective way” if a government regardless of where in the world they are did this they would be voted in and remain in, I cant understand why they have to be so bad at matters.
Also, if asked a question then give a straight answer, why tell us the winner of the derby in 1996 when the question was totally different?
Find me a government that is straight and listens to good honest pratical people and tells it how it is and they have my vote.
December 30, 2019 at 9:51 am
The leading experts in the risk management of bushfires in Australia put the current situation down to a lack of funding. Management has become more difficult due to increased settlement adding complexity to planned burning and “shrinking safe weather windows”. (These experts are at Wollongong and Tasmania universities.)
They say there is more pre-burning than ever but it is not enough and far more money needs to be put into management.
Alan Jones writes well but he does need to say who the sources of his information are specifically so his facts can be checked. Then I’d be happy to agree with him, since it would be great if the solution to these fires was as simple as stopping greens from stopping hazard reduction. Problem solved.
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