Coordination at last: fire bosses burn off political hazard

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50 Responses to Coordination at last: fire bosses burn off political hazard

  1. Roberto

    The hymn sheet has obviously been sent around.

  2. stackja

    Greens feeling the heat?
    Time to douse the flames?

  3. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The last big bushfire through here was ten years ago. The fuel load is now back to what it was before the fire. Any attempt at reduction burning produces numerous protests from the suburbs about asthmatic children, and elderly relatives to affected by the smoke to do anything….

  4. Bronson

    These are the uniformed fire fighters not the land managers. None of the uniforms have any land management responsibility and in most cases limited if any land management experience. They under take little planned burning as a whole. It is the land managers in the form of various national parks and forestry departments what ever they are called from state to state that are responsible for and carry out the planned burning on public land in their states. No wonder they are saying planned burning is not the panacea because they do bugger all.

  5. Lee

    Any attempt at reduction burning produces numerous protests from the suburbs about asthmatic children, and elderly relatives to affected by the smoke to do anything….

    Would they prefer out of control bushfires instead?

    It never ceases to amaze me the number of people with turds for brains.

  6. John A

    Of course planned burning is not the panacea.

    There is also forest harvesting and re-afforestation (because young trees capture more CO2); permitting landowners to do their own clearing; establishing fire access roads and creating substantial fire breaks.

    All part of an overall fuel reduction and land management strategy.

    Fire engineers can’t be expected to know or handle all of that.

  7. You will note that the same people will want more fire bombers, etc which will require a supporting organisation that will increase the size of the overall organisation and thus the importance/power of these ‘chiefs’. The ultimate aim is to grow their organisation, self-importance and positions of power.

  8. Snirtus

    I wonder who’s job need fires for its very existance.
    I wonder if we reduced the fuel load and reduced the response time so that fires were put out when they are small, what might happen? Less money for white shirts?
    Ex group Captain who was castigated for putting out a fire before calling the RFS.

  9. Siltstone

    Bronson is absolutely correct. The various State National Parks Services manage the land inside parks and are responsible for fire management planning. They are the ones who have deliberately decreased the proportion of land subject to hazard reduction burning (ostensibly for the benefit of “biodiversity”).

  10. jupes

    And let’s not forget the former fire chiefs. The front page of the West Australian today has the former fire boss hitting out at:

    political flat-earthers who continue to deny that a major factor is climate change.

    We need a cleaning out of every single government agency. It’s that bad.

  11. establishing fire access roads and creating substantial fire breaks.

    In areas like far east gippsland, a km or two wide every 60km would be handy.

    And burn or be burned.

    And restart logging East Gippsland. In the past, the logger’s heavy equipment has stopped or ameliorated more than one fire.

  12. Archivist

    The most effective “fuel reduction”strategy is not burning, but clearing and grazing.

    If you’re going to set fire to a forest every few years, why bother keeping it as a forest? Why go through the charade of pretending it’s some kind of natural wildlife sanctuary?

    The “more burnoffs” crowd are buying into the narrative that we actually need these sprawling mega-forests, and that it’s totally fine, and not dangerous at all, to have them next to human settlements and high-value primary industry assets.

  13. Peter

    It is a cop out, where the people responsible for this are absolving themselves of guilt. Which I think really needs to be determined by others. There is no doubt that the hazard reduction has been significantly reduced over the last 20 years, fire breaks have been left untended, gates locked, fire trails abandoned, logging prevented. So they are all pretending none of that mattered and it is because the climate has increased by 1 or 1.5 degress.

  14. candy

    If these experienced chiefs and commissioners believe climate change is the cause then they really should explain what they expect should be done, to do their job better. So if they feel stopping coal mining is the answer, a carbon tax, banning air conditions and reducing plane travel – which are the policies of climate change believers – they should advise government on such.

    One gets really tired of highly placed people blaming climate change, and yet will not contemplate any policy but completely shy away at the thought of it – too weird. I think it’s nonsense and the bush would burn even if coal mining is stopped tomorrow. But you have to respect their beliefs as people very highly positioned in their field, and the public should be made aware of what they see as “acting now”.

  15. DaveR

    It is going to be interesting to hear what each of these state fire chiefs say in court when they are facing the same accusations in the wave of litigation to come. After all, if by failing to burn off to an identified minimum level contributed to state forests and national parks becoming unsafe during the annual summer fire season, then they are partially responsible.

  16. RobK

    From the first link posted:
    “I would anticipate that next year’s burning program will be significantly impeded by the weather conditions we will face and so we’ll have to look to other means, such as mechanical fuel reduction, in order to keep communities safe.”
    There is an internal inconsistency here. We can’t burn much this season cos climate change, and last season cos climate change (in each case drought is the more credible cause, added to the high fuel accumulation due to consistent short falls in programs). Next year we will make some fire breaks. A bit late.
    In our area, we have buffer burns as well as hazard reduction burns.
    Buffer burns are areas between two fire breaks a couple of hundred meters apart and go around the edge and straight through the middle of a 500sq km piece. Smaller breaks divide that into a dozen pieces that are burnt on a rotation so each piece is burnt about every 12 years, a cool mosaic burn. Lightning does some of the work. This regime was abandoned for almost a decade and we ran into more trouble when it did burn. The department has resumed their effort, not to the previous standard but i sleep a lot easier. It is costly and hard work especially when there’s a lot of catching up to do. How dare they turn their back on it.

  17. notafan

    Well said

    Archivist.

    Big untouched Australian forest.

    Big fire.

    That simple.

    Nothing biodiverse about it.

  18. Kneel

    “…establishing fire access roads…”

    How many of these have not just been neglected, but actively blocked? Over the last 15 years or so, I’ve seen plenty of fire trails blocked off by mounds of dirt to prevent 4WD’s from damaging our “pristine wilderness”. The trail itself doesn’t take long to revert back to trees and bushes/scrub. No access means no fighting fires while they can still be managed and while they’re well away from people and assets.

  19. RobK

    A compounding issue is that multiple large fires soon neutralise available equipment. No matter how much equipment you have. Locals can respond quickly and safely if the place is setup properly and the community is involved. The modern centralised approach is problematic because response time is longer and protocols are relatively complicated compared to what they used to be

  20. Clam Chowdah

    If they can say that conditions will be similar next year and so they will have to instead use “mechanical fuel reduction” then the question is WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU DO THAT IN 2019?

  21. Archivist

    establishing fire access roads and creating substantial fire breaks.

    Yes. But the best ‘fire access roads’ are, well, roads, by which I mean your typical public-access roads; not the weird little goat tracks commonly known as “fire trails”. Roads also act as fire breaks, so they are a two-fer.

    The best way to get more roads constructed through our forests – actual roads, not just ‘fire trails’ – is to encourage more economic and social activities in the forests.

  22. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Fairly major bushfire, forty years ago. Houses lost.

    At the end of it all, there was a public meeting to discuss what had been done, and what could be improved on. One of the speakers had a short fuse, easily lit, and did not suffer fools gladly. His conclusions were blunt. “Cut back the trees from your house – trees growing over the house is a disaster waiting to happen. Do regular block cleanups. Have proper firebreaks. You can’t fight a bushfire with a garden hose – spend the money and install a proper firefighting pump” and other sound common sense.

    After he concluded, one of the local greenies rose to speak. “Trees growing over the house is part of the hills lifestyle, and all of us are mortgaged to the hilt. We can’t afford firefighting pumps.”

    “Get used to having your house burnt down every few years then.” was the terse answer.

  23. Leo G

    Of course planned burning is not the panacea.
    There is also forest harvesting and re-afforestation (because young trees capture more CO2); permitting landowners to do their own clearing; establishing fire access roads and creating substantial fire breaks.
    All part of an overall fuel reduction and land management strategy.

    Yes.
    “Planned” burning on a massive scale is untenable. It would create the kind of atmospheric brown cloud phenomena which have become common in parts of Asia, with concomitent effects on morbidity.
    Hazard reduction burning should be a small component of extensive land management and risk-reduction strategies.

  24. Mother Lode

    Homes razed, lives destroyed, towns wiped off the map, and that turd in Victoria dismisses the anger of the electorate, who have watched the dismantling of proven forest management methods for politically opportunistic reasons and now witnessed the predictable results, as an emotional load of rubbish.

    In his single-minded dereliction of duty he laid the groundwork for this disaster and mocks the people who know better.

    What a political tool. Probably doesn’t appreciate that his political lords will throw him under a bus without a thought.

    As for the NSW muppet – if you had stopped listening to 20 year old advisors who use Twitter and Facebook as proxies for the real world you might have learned back-burning does not make you an enemy, denying us our bush land and then letting it burn does.

  25. Squirrel

    Last night’s Inside The News with Chris Smith had an excellent interview which gave a first hand account of the bureaucratic delays and game-playing faced by rural landholders in NSW who want to take reasonable, sensible steps to reduce bushfire risk – it sounded like what you would expect from officials answering to a Labor/Green government, not a LNP government which has had plenty of time to kick bureaucratic backsides.

    The ultimate excuse, of course, is that climate change reduces the “window of opportunity” for hazard reduction burns but last night’s interview wasn’t about burns, it was about reducing vegetation by other means – which would be an option in many cases, if governments and their officials stopped making excuses.

  26. dover_beach

    I like the cut of archivist’s jib. We should be building roads,and trails for all manner of vehicles. We should open up state forests and national parks to logging, hunting, grazing, and other commercial and recreational activities. They can be managed in order to retain amenity for just these purposes. Parts can be allowed to run wild for a period but only to be reused at some future stage. Say 20 or 30 years. But we should have no truck with this idea of wilderness.

  27. Roger

    The best way to get more roads constructed through our forests – actual roads, not just ‘fire trails’ – is to encourage more economic and social activities in the forests.

    But…but…what about the “pristine” post-1788, post-indigenous burning regime, eucalyptus choked, ground fuel rampant landscape?

  28. Rob MW

    Of course they would show this sort of loyalty, and blathering idiocy, to their paymaster, after all, they would not want to help put their employer in legal jeopardy by admitting that their boss could have taken an action to avoid loss of life and property but failed to do so.

    Unfortunately for these babbling idiots, their unpaid volunteer foot-soldiers can also now see with clarity that these public officials will not have their backs if and when it conflicts with the propaganda insisted upon by their paymaster’s.

  29. Rob MW

    Yes.
    “Planned” burning on a massive scale is untenable.

    So it must be better to have unplanned burning on a massive scale to be tenable ? FFS.

  30. How many of these have not just been neglected, but actively blocked?

    How many? Absolutely heaps. I’ve been traveling the Victorian High Country for over 40 years and in the last 10 or so years tracks have been increasingly closed because the park service doesn’t have the resources to maintain them, so it’s easier to close them to all traffic.

    Once closed, they never reopen and easy access to many areas become a huge problem in the fire season. Like with the removal of the cattle from the High Country, the unintended consequences are never fully assessed. These people don’t even have 20/20 hindsight, they are completely blind to what they do in the name of preserving the environment.

  31. Archivist

    Mega forests create mega fires.

    The number one priority is breaking up the half-dozen mega-forests in NSW and Victoria.

  32. Porter

    You have to remember these guys are protecting their patches. No Fires, no RFS.

  33. Tel

    We only got into this problem because the various “chiefs” (who are really just public servants) are all unsuitable for the job. First step should be sack the lot of them.

    Keep the actual volunteers, who know what they are doing, find some better “chiefs” to replace these.

    Also, replace everyone at the top level of the National Sparks and Wildfires Service … those guys obviously can’t do the job … replace the Land and Environment Court with a new bunch … probably a few others.

  34. iamok

    I know MANY vol firefighters and I can tell you lots of them are pissed big time at the lack of integrity of their managers (I can’t use the term “leaders”). As said above, and with alleged climate science consensus, it is merely consensus with the paymaster and the potential for more personal gravitas. I know some of these senior jokers and I am disgusted but strangely not at all surprised.

  35. In ten years time there will be good regrowth. And another fire. If not then, definitely in 20 years.
    In ten years time we are also supposed to have 50% electric vehicles on the road.
    Just imagine an evacuation from the east coast like just happened at New Year with half the cars electric. I have spoken with more than one person this week who spent nine hours at a crawl through smoke leaving the beaches. None of them will be purchasing an electric vehicle.

  36. Aussie

    My FIL had over 50 years volunteer fire brigade experience including 10 years at the “Group Officer” level in Vic.
    One of his last activities was a helicopter flight across the NE region to gain an insight as to the fire status, and have an input into management strategy to minimise further risk and limit the spread.
    In brief he outlined, fire breaks that needed critical maintenance so back burning could commence, 2 days work, along with active lighting on protected slopes previously burnt 5 years earlier.
    They thanked him for his time and input but were not in a position to act on any of it.
    Why?
    “If I did that it would be more than my job is worth” was the top mans response.
    My FIL read them the riot act and wrote a letter to all and sundry outlining the meeting outlining what would happen as a result.
    Sadly his forecast came to fruition and the fools who ignored him kept their jobs.
    Yells volumes till this day.

  37. jupes

    We only got into this problem because the various “chiefs” (who are really just public servants) are all unsuitable for the job. First step should be sack the lot of them.

    Very true.

  38. Another Ian

    R.V. Jones “Most Secret War” P 32

    “He warned us that if another war broke out there would be a disastrous period for six months while those who had reached high positions on inadequate abilities in peacetime would have to be replaced”

  39. Crossie

    Would they prefer out of control bushfires instead?

    Apparently. Greens don’t live in the real world and they find it hard to imagine any consequences of their own actions,

  40. PB

    If Climate-Change is indeed all that the little Gretas and Betas say it is, then doesn’t that broaden the case for aggressive forest management?

  41. Crossie

    The most effective “fuel reduction”strategy is not burning, but clearing and grazing.

    If you’re going to set fire to a forest every few years, why bother keeping it as a forest? Why go through the charade of pretending it’s some kind of natural wildlife sanctuary?

    As you say, allowing ignorant greens to set environmental policy not only causes horrendous fires with chocking pollution but exterminates all wildlife in their path.

    The road to hell is paved with green intentions.

  42. Crossie

    PB
    #3286512, posted on January 8, 2020 at 10:24 pm
    If Climate-Change is indeed all that the little Gretas and Betas say it is, then doesn’t that broaden the case for aggressive forest management?

    To arrive at this conclusion requires people who can think, the youth of today have been taught not to think but to parrot fashionable tropes.

  43. RobK

    PB,
    If Climate-Change is indeed all that the little Gretas and Betas say it is, then doesn’t that broaden the case for aggressive forest management?
    Exactly. Climate change is a poor excuse. Reinforces the lomborg argument for adaptation, if nothing else. It’s not as if the forest upper management didn’t know the drought was happening, foresters would have told them.

  44. Amused

    It never ceases to amaze me the number of people with turds for brains.

    Not sure where you thought Labor and Greens voters came from! 😀

  45. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From Squirrel at 7:17 pm:

    “…
    The ultimate excuse, of course, is that climate change reduces the “window of opportunity” for hazard reduction burns but last night’s interview wasn’t about burns, it was about reducing vegetation by other means – which would be an option in many cases, if governments and their officials stopped making excuses.”

    These palookas are lying through their teeth in unison, as we see from Roberto at 4:37 pm:

    “The hymn sheet has obviously been sent around.”

    Each fire “season” on the “fire ground” near the “fire front” (they have even invented their own dialect) is in reality “budget enhancement season” and, if they are well enough organised, they’ll get everything they want to puff their li’l chests out, and their pay packets.

    Daughter No 1 has been in the shadow of the “Ruined Castle” fire south of Katoomba for weeks now, so I have had good reason to follow events carefully, and the time to watch this imbroglio unfold little by little.

    These Big Men also trot out the worst lie – that their priorities are, in order, people, property and environment. Their egos dominate, they hear the Minister say “You have responsibility for …” but they hear “You have authority for …” and off they go to throw their weight around and make the case for their annual performance bonus. If the fires ever, accidentally, come under better control then they lose substantial power and influence.

    This is clearly part of a concerted campaign.

    Early on I saw some firemens union making a play for wages for all fireperson-theys thingos, on the night before two volunteer firemen died near Camden NSW. They are angling for a big dollop of extra income if they can gain access to the thousands of volunteer firemen.

    The Council of Elders – 23 former fire chiefs – have been at it since the beginning, initially demanding 30 odd aircraft. See “I put it to you that fire fighting planes are the equivalent of wind turbines. Feel good totems of no actual use” in a useful piece in Quadrant entitled “The bushfire industrial complex”.

    It would be naive to believe that a fair proportion of these blokes do not have useful relationships with the hardware suppliers as employees or representatives, for introduction fees, as consultants setting strategies for them and so on.

    “Last night’s Inside The News with Chris Smith had an excellent interview which gave a first hand account of the bureaucratic delays and game-playing … it sounded like what you would expect from officials answering to a Labor/Green government, not a LNP government which has had plenty of time to kick bureaucratic backsides.”

    In an age long past a departmental head or minister would issue the order “This is government policy and practice, you as departmental manager are expected to implement and support it unequivocally and, if you do not, start planning to not be a part of next year’s plan.”

    The LNP governments are populated by the self interested traitors who deserted Tony Abbott and enthusiastically welcomed Lord Turnbull of Goldman Sachs electorate. When they found he had even less integrity than the worst of them, they panicked again. They are carpet strollers and overweight middle aged wymminses with no talent and no experience and no understanding how to “kick backsides”.

    I know little of Scott Morrison but that is of no consequence – he is there temporarily until a more useless colleague gets all ambitious. His capitulation over having a deserved holiday¹ and his mimicking of that Rudd sheila and Albasleazy’s behaviour, being a slave for the TV news cameras, spoke volumes.

    The public service at State and Federal level is firmly in control. If you live anywhere near the bush move out or insure yourself up to the hilt because it will be on again within the next few years.

    ¹ I do wonder what the tart from Eden demands of him in this regard. Greta Stojanovic running the Wharfside Cafe

    “told Sky News the sentiment on the ground towards Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the government was “very negative”.

    “People are horrified everywhere with how Scott Morrison has approached this … it’s not lost on the community,” “

    Eden received the RAN’s biggest ship on Monday full of food supplies, and 300 or 400 troops. Our Greta must have still been suffering her own appalling humanitarian crisis because she said nothing to the media about “thank you”.

    A more recent report had her exhausted from helping tourists at her cafe so she closed down on Monday for a rest. Should Morrison do what she demands or what she does?

  46. Porter

    Sacre blecch: France discovers award-winning author is p*dophile by, er, reading his books

    Unfortunately this is not a satire.
    https://hotair.com/archives/ed-morrissey/2020/01/07/sacre-bleu-france-discovers-award-winning-author-p*dophile-er-reading-books/

    Substitute for the *

  47. Porter

    Aussie is that a story that should be sent to sympathetic media with any copies of said letters?

  48. Pingback: 9 January 20 – Dark Brightness

  49. Destroyer D69

    “Climate Change””, “” Global Warming””. The modern version of “Gods Will””as the reason for any current disaster.????

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