The Siding Springs Observatory, with its superb Anglo-Australian Telescope (the largest optical telescope in Australia) is one of the gems of Australia. It came close to being destroyed by fire – apparently the visitors centre was destroyed. This was a stroke of luck, with the deputy commissioner of the RFS stating that
the most frightening fires I think we have had all summer
The Observatory, with its 12 large telescopes, is part of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the ANU, which of course lost the telescopes at Mount Stromlo Observatory in 2003 because of the Canberra fires.
The intensity of these fires was entirely due to the fuel load which the greens and their supporters in the NSW and ACT governments have ensured was increased rather than reduced over the past decade. Many of these advocates have studied at the ANU’s Fenner School of Environment and Society.
So blame for the destruction of one part of the ANU’s infrastructure can be sheeted home to another part of the university. But don’t expect the environmental extremists to acknowledge their errors. But it is for the rest of us to be more active in campaigning for better environmental policies – the greens’ policies do not protect the environment, they destroy the environment.
While there were clear excesses in past practices of land clearing, the pendulum has swung too far the other way exposing Australians, their property and wildlife to excessive risks of death and destruction from fire. It is time to return to a moderate form of land clearing and better land management that includes a significant reduction in fuel load, especially in national parks.