Australia’s Alien Environment Fuels Firestorms

Firefighters tackle a grass fire in New South Wales, Australia, on January 7. Image via National Geographic

A recent report from friends who suffered terrible losses of buildings, fences, pasture and cattle in the Coonabarabran fire commenced with the ominous and oft-repeated message: “a raging fire came out of the National Park straight for us”.

There is only one way to limit fire damage – reduce the fuel available.

Fuel load can be reduced in three ways – by grazing animals, by planned small “cool” fires, or by mechanical reduction with slashers, mulchers or dozers.

Australia’s grassland landscape was created and managed by generations of Aborigines who were masters at using man’s most useful tool – fire. Every explorer from Abel Tasman (1642) and Captain Cook (1770) onwards noted the smoke in the sky and the burnt trees whenever they landed. This burning created the open grassland landscapes that dominated pre-European Australia. Aborigines lit fires continually, so their small patchwork fires caused no permanent damage to the environment and created and maintained the healthy grasslands on which many animals and Aborigines depended.

Misguided tree lovers and green politicians have locked the gates on ever-increasing areas of land for trees, parks, heritage, wilderness, habitat, weekend retreats, carbon sequestration etc. Never before on this ancient continent has anyone tried to ban land use or limit bush fires on certain land. The short-sighted policy of surrounding their massive land-banks with fences, locked gates and fire bans has created a new alien environment in Australia. They have created tinder boxes where the growth of woody weeds and the accumulation of dead vegetation in eucalypt re-growth create the perfect environment for fierce fires. Once ignited by lightning, carelessness or arson, the inevitable fire-storms incinerate the park trees and wildlife, and then invade the unfortunate neighbouring properties.

Many of today’s locked-up areas were created to sequester carbon to fulfil Kyoto obligations. Who pays the carbon tax on the carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere by wild fires?

The green bureaucracies and politicians are clearly mis-managing their huge land-bank. Aborigines and graziers did a far better job. There should be a moratorium on locking up any more land and a return to sustainable management for existing land holdings.

Viv Forbes,
Rosewood Qld Australia
forbes@carbon-sense.com

I am happy for my email address to be published.

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194 thoughts on “Australia’s Alien Environment Fuels Firestorms

  1. This is simple, intelligent, very workable and is in conformity with nature. Therefore it has virtually zero chance of being adopted by a government. There is no power or profit potential.

  2. I feel sorry for Australia. A once vibrant nation is succumbing to the Carbon Madness.

    Industry leaving, wild fires burning.

    Pretty soon it will be only a hollow shell.

  3. Well, it’s just like the alien environment of Kalifornia. Wet years grow the vegetation and dry years burn it off. Houses are not located in the clear lands, rather more likely where the vegetation is thickest. The entire USA is about like that.
    Trees should be along to 100 ft off the highways to block the wind and act as a natural snow fence also. Not to mention sopping up pollutants. Then we’ll have less tragic traffic accidents and pileups. But everyone wants to see the scenery. No common sense.

  4. As an Aussie who has lived in the bush for years – without a house, without electricity on tap, without piped water and without sewage – I know what “real” bush living means. As an Aussie who currently lives on the edge of a small country town, and is about to move back into the bush and off the grid (no electricity, gen-set needed) to be back “in amongst the gum trees”, I totally agree with what’s said here. Some years ago it was the law to put in fire breaks. If you couldn’t slash it, you burnt it in a controlled manner. Now it’s the opposite – you’re not allowed to touch anything.

    We currently have the worst government Australia has ever seen and I can’t wait for November when we can vote the B**** out!

  5. Good sense as always, Viv.
    When will they ever learn.
    I think the urban chattering classes in Aus. are even worse than the UK ruling elite – maybe not.

  6. And the same increasing CO2 levels which are boosting farm productivity across the world are also increasing the growth rates of burnable bushland and grassland.

  7. As a retired fire fighter and fire officer who had to deal with wiildfires in South Africa which has similar vegetation, plus the euchalypts imported in the 19th Century to ‘stabilise’ dune fields, I can say that the above article hits the nail on the head squarely. I have visited Australia a number of times, twice during the bushfire seasons (last in 2000 when I spent Christmas and Boxing Day doing what I could to help the NSW Rural Service teams) and the real problem is the ‘Green’ bans on clearing scrub and reducing the fire load.

    Unfortunately it will take a fire running out of control into a large town and destroying it and several hundred lives for the Greens and their allies to get kicked into touch and these stupid, bigoted and frankly dangerous policies to be reversed. In the meantime, you can expect to see the current scenes being repeated roughly every five years.

  8. Worth noting that Australian Aboriginal people, in the main, detest Envrionmentalists and Greeens because of their urge to prohibit traditional activities such as hunting and fishing.
    Also worth noting that the only reason there’s anything burning at all in some parts is that we’ve had a couple of wet seasons…it’s true, you just can’t please a Greenie!

  9. The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay.
    They cant stop fires by legislating, nature won’t be signing up to protocols

  10. There is only one way to limit fire damage – reduce the fuel available.

    No it isn’t. The other and best way is too keep people and property away from combustible material (and visa versa).

    Here in Western Australia, we have the largest bushfires in Australia and they generally don’t make the Perth newspapers, for the simple reason they burn through areas where no one lives, and there is no property to burn except for a few minesites, and the miners, not being there for the scenery, make sure all brush around buildings is cleared.

    I recall from the Victorian fires a couple of years ago. In one town, only one house didn’t burn. The owner had cut back all the brush and trees around his house, and had been fined by the council for doing so.

    It may sound harsh, but the best solution is to prohibit anyone from getting bushfire insurance or government help after a fire. If you want to live in a bushfire risk area, don’t expect tax-payers to subsidize your lifestyle.

    Otherwise, I agree with you.

  11. We are here to help you, we are from your government.
    The voluntarily nonproductive, know better than the producers, how production shall proceed.
    From the actions of the greenies and UN-IPCC inspired acts of economic suicide on the part of our bureaucracies, I suspect these groups cost us more than they are worth.
    What value are the trappings of civilization, if they defy common sense and cost you your life and property?
    On the bright side, one should remind the nature lovers of history, last time the weather turned cold, the witches got to be the scapegoats. Human nature seems to cycle too.

  12. @Phillip Bradley–

    I find it odd that while you argue sequestration is a viable method of preventing fatalities and structures burning, the two exampes you give FEATURE PEOPLE REDUCING THE FUEL LOAD IN THE VICINITY OF THEIR STRUCTURES.

    Furthermore, you seem to ignore the fact that small fires are less destructive than large infernos- what trees there are survive a small, cool fire, and wildlife has a chance to escape from a localized, slow-moving fire that’s not being driven by the heat and convection-induced wind of a large conflagration.

    Not to mention small fires are easier to tend and control so they don’t burn into towns.

  13. Eucalyptus oil is highly flammable. Eucalyptus trees emit so much in hot weather that the vapour can clearly be seen in the atmosphere and creates the famous “blue hills” that once everyone in Australia knew about – the vapour causes diffraction in the air.

    In the right conditions of heat and low humidity eucalypt tree forests literally explode into uncontrollable firestorms with the fire “topping” through the tree canopy and the undergrowth burning behind a raging fire front.

    People who live in that environment might as well throw accelerant around their homes – the effect is the same.

    The economic disaster of these fires is the result of living in inappropriate dangerous areas and nothing to do with “manmade climate change”.

    We have had hot weather and raging fires long before there was any thought of “manmade climate change”.

  14. “Aborigines lit fires continually, so their small patchwork fires caused no permanent damage to the environment and created and maintained the healthy grasslands on which many animals and Aborigines depended.”

    That’s up for debate. Lighting a fire and collecting the escaping food at the other end is more likely what it’s all about. Doing this indiscriminately for 40,000 years or so helps vegetation evolve to survive this.

    Notably, the VAST proportion of Australia is covered mostly by grassland and desert anyway. It’s only the wet areas where forests can survive.

    Green policies are destroying this country. Firewood isn’t allowed to be collected anymore – we have to wait for a major bushfire to burn it all up for us instead.

  15. Carbon madness is a good way to put it. The article is good; it was needed to throw some light on the faulty policies that spawn these catastrophic fires. We see how the government is in the business of sowing firestorms and then blaming CO2. What a racket.

  16. Philip Bradley says:
    January 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    No it isn’t. The other and best way is too keep people and property away from combustible material (and visa versa).
    ————————————————————————————————————
    That is fine in Western Australia, which has less people than Chicago and more land area than Alaska and Texas added together. It is easy to have people not live where the untended National Parks are. In places like Tasmania and Victoria, there is no such luxury. There over twice as many people in Victoria in a fraction of the land area.

    Intelligent management of fuel is the only safe way to manage the bush fire threat, and that includes firebreaks along roads and around dwellings.

  17. I’m glad this has been mentioned. I read a very informative article on the subject after the deadly Australian fires a few years ago. It made perfect sense. So this time around, I was wondering why they haven’t managed the ‘fuel’ problem in the intervening years.

  18. Philip Bradley says:
    January 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm
    “There is only one way to limit fire damage – reduce the fuel available.

    No it isn’t. The other and best way is too keep people and property away from combustible material (and visa versa).
    […]
    and the miners, not being there for the scenery, make sure all brush around buildings is cleared.

    You noticed that it only took you a few sentences to contradict yourself, right?

  19. @A.D.Everard: We currently have the worst government Australia has ever seen and I can’t wait for November when we can vote the B**** out!

    Please don’t make the mistake we did in the USA. The idiocies perpetuated by our government are too numerous to remember. So they get lost in the political debate. The government’s own mistakes become a smoke screen hiding the size and number of problems.

    Where did we get the idea that candidates cannot use notes in debates, speeches or interviews and must rely on memory? Romney should have carried around a scuffed, worn corner, dog-eared red 1″ 3-ring binder over-filled with pages cataloging of US government idiocies, corruptive influences, and failed promises. He wouldn’t even have to open it in public, it’s presence would be intimidating. It might be unconventional, but that red note-book could have become iconic of the state of the nation.

    In any event, A.D., don’t rely upon memory. Take inventory. Take names. Don’t let most of it be lost in the fog of political war.

  20. Some Australian Greens probably think the fire victims got what they deserved for settling in the wild. Or at least some think that any damage to humans from fire must be tolerated, because it is an intolerable insult to Gaia to try to master and tame it with firelanes, etc. It must be left wild and free.

  21. If we Aussies do not get rid of the Green Menace pretty damn soon the rest of you can reasonably start to refer to the country as Imbecilia.

  22. Viv Forbes is completely correct in his excellent article, The recent fires were nearly all caused by areas of National Parks which had been turned into hazard refuges by the Greens, or by the action of lunatic pyromaniacs who deliberately lit fires to see the effect, or by villains who torched stolen cars in remote areas. The problem was further exacerbated by the inert Federal government who thinks the environment is best managed by total neglect. The Aborigines and the land-owners and graziers knew much better, but now have to bear the brunt of Federal stupidity in creating un-managed new ‘National Parks’ for Eco-nuts to frolic in. Eco-madness has penetrated everywhere and those who try to reduce hazards on their property are frequently prosecuted and persecuted by Local Councils and Authorities for being ‘anti-envirnmental’.
    These Eco-nuts live in a parallel universe where CO2 causes catastrophic Global Warming and untended bushland poses ‘no hazard’ to right-thinking Green citizens.

  23. I think it is about time for Australia to move government headquarters and ALL their bureaucracies into those locked-up wilderness areas and toss away the key. Then let nature take it’s course. Oh, and don’t forget to move all the lobbyists and greenies too.

  24. ” … Victorian fires a couple of years ago …”
    Resulted in a new Standard for buildings in bushfire-prone areas (AS3959:2009) being introduced, albeit in haste. Primary classifications of risk were expanded to six, and better quantified. The levels are based on heat flux exposure and range from Low to Flame zone – <12.5kW/m2 to > 40 kW/m2. “Low” has no construction requirements. For “Flame zone” there are no construction requirements specified. There is an area between where there is scope for cost-effective mitigation.

    Looking forward to getting my copy of “The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia” by Bill Gammage.

  25. Same here in the US. We went from no burn rules with forest management to just no burn rules, then we get let it burn rules.. and get…. massive forest fires in Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Montana.. ect.. The forests were healthier when we had a healthy lumber industry but we were told that plastic bags will have less environmental effect then our old sturdy paper bags and that (my fav) trees were not a renewable resource. Meanwhile the wildlife this was supposed to save is still dying off to the point where the gov feels the necessity to help some more. At some point maybe they could figure out that it was their ‘help’ that got us to this point in the first place… just sayin.

  26. The American Indians also caused fires, and for similar reasons. Deer and other game animals can’t eat mature trees. Their prime habitat is at the interface between forest and meadow, where there are lots of shrubs, shoots, saplings, etc. To create this environment, Indians would burn forests.

  27. A long time ago being green meant that you were genuinely in favour of protecting the environment. Unfortunately, ‘being green’ has morphed into being an unscrupulous industry milking the gullible with twisted logic, or unsubstantiated scare stories, with Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth leading the charge. It is difficult to tell the difference between the fund raising strategies of these activist organisations and those of the nutcase religious cults that infest America’s Bible Belt.

    As to the bush fires, poorly thought out greenie policies, designed by professional environmental activists, inevitably end up proving the great truth of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

  28. Philip Bradley said:
    Here in Western Australia, we have the largest bushfires in Australia and they generally don’t make the Perth newspapers, for the simple reason they burn through areas where no one lives, and there is no property to burn except for a few minesites, and the miners, not being there for the scenery, make sure all brush around buildings is cleared.

    That’s because WA is huge and empty of people except in the south west, and Perth has also had its share of bad bushfires with lives and property destroyed in the recent past. Your ideas would not work in the south east in Victoria, NSW or for that matter south west WA, because of the population densities and the preference of people to live in leafy suburbs at the interface with the bush.
    Philip Bradley also said:
    It may sound harsh, but the best solution is to prohibit anyone from getting bushfire insurance or government help after a fire. If you want to live in a bushfire risk area, don’t expect tax-payers to subsidize your lifestyle.

    I find this comment particularly offensive and misleading. I live in a bushfire area and was burned out in the 2009 bushfires. I did not expect any support from Taxpayers (and did not get any) and for the record, the biggest contribution to the welfare of those affected came from the ordinary people of Australia who dug deep and donated to the bushfire fund. I was fully insured and am close to finishing rebuilding (this time a much more fire resistant house). You cannot impose such controls on insurance in a free market, unless you want a communist state as well.

    Ken Mival – Hazeldene Victoria

  29. Philip Bradley says:
    January 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    There is only one way to limit fire damage – reduce the fuel available.

    No it isn’t. The other and best way is too keep people and property away from combustible material (and visa versa)….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    And that is the EXACT PLAN. SEE MAP Humans get to live in the green areas. What you can’t see the green areas? Well it is those tiny little dots. The rest is for wild life or limited use.

    Here is a close-up of California and Nevada

    Those of you in Australia should look and see if there is a plan similar to this for your country. It is called UN Biodiversity Treaty and The Wildlands Project in the USA and it goes hand in hand with Agenda 21. and the Presidents Council on Sustainable Development.

    It is actually a return to feudalism with no real ownership of land or businesses and no travel for the serfs. The only difference is you get to choose which mega-corporation you want to work for as long as it is in the town you are stuck in. (Remember no travel allowed) Each town is served by the Food Shed surrounding it (Remember transport is restricted) so the number of persons each city can carry is strictly limited. (Government to control reproduction and immigration)

    I really wish this was just a wild conspiracy theory but it is shaping up to be all too real. Bills introduced in the USA to bring this about here. Info on Agenda 21 implementation in USA here

    Wall Street Journal – California Declares War on Suburbia Planners want to herd millions into densely packed urban corridors. It won’t save the planet but will make traffic even worse
    Metropolitan area governments are adopting plans that would require most new housing to be built at 20 or more to the acre, which is at least five times the traditional quarter acre per house. State and regional planners also seek to radically restructure urban areas, forcing much of the new hyperdensity development into narrowly confined corridors….

    When you understand the actual overall plan then the ban on fire starts to make sense. They WANT people to give up and abandon their land. Soon expect the government to refuse to allow rebuilding in the areas that have been burnt out.

  30. over 50 years fighting fires I have never seen a greenie joining a fire brigade in Australia . they spend all there time trying to stop us carrying out hazard reductions right across Australia

  31. “Aborigines lit fires continually, so their small patchwork fires caused no permanent damage to the environment and created and maintained the healthy grasslands on which many animals and Aborigines depended.”

    Actually there is debate on this subject about the effect on Australian fauna before and after Aborigines arrival. “The role of the Aboriginal people in causing the extinction of fauna before European settlement has been much debated”. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/43654/Australia/45008/Animal-life

  32. Dr T G Watkins says:
    January 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Good sense as always, Viv.
    When will they ever learn.
    I think the urban chattering classes in Aus. are even worse than the UK ruling elite – maybe not.

    =====
    Goodness – if they can even be mentioned in the same breath as our ‘useful idiots’ and ‘bon-pensants’ (not all called Slingo of the Met) – then Australia, too, has problems.
    Oh, and look out for the formation and reinforcement of a client-electorate.
    Our unlamented Premier, Brown – ‘The Traitor who Trashed a Trillion’ some call him – did that.

    Might the delightful, fragrant Julia try the same, bribing with other people’s money?

  33. Common sense as usual from Viv Forbes but I must agree with Olaf ( Olaf Koenders says:
    January 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm)
    Aboriginals didn’t ‘manage’ the bush, in fact they pretty much didn’t manage anything.
    What they did was use fire to catch ready cooked food (lizards etc) and have smouldering logs ever present so that they can easily light new fires every morning. Who the heck wants to rub two sticks together every time one needs to build a fire?
    This action changed the Australian landscape for ever and not for the better. Only fire hardy vegetation survived this onslaught and the continent dried out just that bit more.

    Far too much romanticizing of a people who pretty much still lived in the stone age as late as the 19th century.

  34. Echo Alpha says:
    January 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm
    @Phillip Bradley–

    I find it odd that while you argue sequestration is a viable method of preventing fatalities and structures burning, the two exampes you give FEATURE PEOPLE REDUCING THE FUEL LOAD IN THE VICINITY OF THEIR STRUCTURES.

    I wasn’t arguing sequestration. I was arguing separation, or not at your own risk.

    In large part, the problem is the media which portrays heroic Aussies battling act of God bushfires or worse, fires set by evil arsonists.

    If the media portrayed these people as morons who built houses in the middle of woods that are guaranteed to burn on a regular basis, without taking adequate precautions, then perhaps people would view this more realistically.

    Truthseeker says:
    January 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    No one in Australia is forced to live in a house in close proximity to trees and brush. They live there because they chose to. It has become so common, we even have a word for it in Australia, ‘treechange’.

  35. I think it is easy to overlook the importance that small grazing herbivores played in reducing the fuel load. I’m talking your poteroos and betongs and stuff. At the time of white settlement they were prolific but were wiped out by the introduction of cats and foxes. Fires lit by aborigines were small beer because of an already reduce fuel load.

  36. While agreeing with the need to reduce fuel from near property, this is only allowed to be done in the cooler months. In parts of the NSW South Coast grow ‘Spotted gums’ [Corymbia maculata, (syn. Eucalyptus maculata)], which start to shed leaves and bark as the weather warms – November – and are still doing so. Clean up one day and there is a noticeable layer a few days later. Beside roads and on other public land no one cleans up, so the fuel level grows during the summer. Other trees do the same to lesser extent and the dryer the season the more is shed.

  37. I might also point out that some (not all) of the bush fires in Australia are man made as yet another person was arrested over the weekend for deliberately lighting a fire. As someone who lives on the west coast it is also a regular observation that when the summer school holidays finish, the number of bush fires reduces and that’s not because of rain.
    The last three property destroying fires in Western Australia all had a man made cause, though they were not deliberately lit.

  38. Gail Combs says:
    January 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Very depressing. A new disaster I have to learn about. Nothing to do but face it head on. Thanks.

  39. Look, I know it’s supposed to be about fire, and Our Green Betters have excelled themselves in this field. They have once again evolved policies to maximise waste, expense and destruction. It’s what they do.

    But if we are looking for their masterpiece, I’d like to vote for those low-flush toilets, especially the really feeble ones you’re likely to encounter in new million dollar homes in the city. Firstly, you pay more for your new Green cistern, and, of course, you’re paying more for water. (Among other things, there’s a rusting de-sal plant somewhere on the coast that needs some costly care.) Secondly, you have to flush many, many times, wasting water to make that last pea go through. Lastly, because that last pea insists on floating, you have to fish it out.

    Now what could be better, from a Green point of view, than the cost, waste and humiliation of such a toilet? You even get some medieval sanitation to go with your medieval wind power.

    Perhaps Our Green Betters could link their fire and water policies by restricting fire-fighting techniques to hand passing of buckets. You know, for all my flippancy, i wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them haven’t thought of that.

    And no cheating with big buckets!

  40. “Aborigines lit fires continually, so their small patchwork fires caused no permanent damage to the environment and created and maintained the healthy grasslands on which many animals and Aborigines depended.”

    Is there such a thing as a fire that causes permanent damage to the environment? I can’t think of one. Sure, they look like hell right after, but in a couple of years you can’t even tell it happened.

  41. mosomoso says:
    January 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm
    …Perhaps Our Green Betters could link their fire and water policies by restricting fire-fighting techniques to hand passing of buckets. You know, for all my flippancy, i wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them haven’t thought of that….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    ERRrrrr, if I recall correctly they did exactly that in the USA by grounding the firefighting (water carrying) planes in the USA.

    Western wildfires – horrific, devastating … and unnecessary

    New fire-fighting technology could help put them out. Why isn’t it being used?
    …Duly impressed, I called the company to ask what role it was playing in fighting the Colorado blazes and why its technology apparently was not working. The answer shocked me. It had not been asked to help!

    Despite all the news stories about FireIce, its certification by the USFS, and frequent communications between GelTech and federal, state and local officials – no one had contacted the company….
    [and a comment]
    daveburton says:
    July 24, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Old firefighting technology would help, too — if it was still available. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration effectively decommissioned much of it last summer, by abruptly cancelling the contract for use of the planes which were the core of the U.S. Forrest Service’s aerial firefighting capabilities, and thereby putting out of business the company that both operated those planes and produced and maintained the key firefighting subsystem used in the best of the remaining firefighting planes:

    http://monkeywrenchingamerica.com/?p=1412

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/07/08/new-parts-support-for-wildfire-system/ukvgabDt0PlgwsyUW17u2N/story.html

    I think the Malethusians Greens really do want to kill us….

  42. Philip Bradley says:
    January 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    No one in Australia is forced to live in a house in close proximity to trees and brush. They live there because they chose to. It has become so common, we even have a word for it in Australia, ‘treechange’.
    —————————————————————————————————————————
    The arrogance of your approach is mind-boggling.

    Most people live in rural areas because they choose to be primary producers or work in many of the support industries for primary producers. Most of those people have lived in those areas for generations. Most of those people are doing productive things with the land that allow you and me to have the things that make life comfortable. So you can take your “they do not have to live there” attitude and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

    Well I hate to break it to you Philip, but I am an Australian, and my family has been in Australia for five generations, and I am not aware of any such term as “treechange”.

  43. There is no doubt that the mindless expansion of national parks, without a thought (let alone a dollar) given to maintenance has been responsible for severe environmental problems. As well as raging bushfires, the parks are havens for weeds and feral animals (pigs, dogs, cats, foxes etc) which invade neighbouring properties.

    Once again, ‘green’ is a synonym for (a) stupid beyond belief and (b) perverse outcomes.

    I am a bit sceptical of the romantic view of Aboriginal burning as well. There weren’t that many of them – vast regions of this vast continent were uninhabited, so the effects were localised in fairly small areas. As others have pointed it, it made sense from the point of view of finding a cooked dinner in the ashes and clearing a bit of grazing land for kangaroos and such. But it is absurd to believe that these fires never got out of control, or that they were motivated by concern for Gaia.

    Anyhow, ‘tree-changers’ are learning the hard way that nature is not cuddly, and that if you cuddle up too close you may well get savaged.

  44. A few things I would like to mention as an active member of the Country Fire Authority in Victoria (out to a fire this week which was ony 2ks form home and burning fiercely)

    – Greenies do join the CFA
    – Treechange is a common term for people that move to the country from the city (it is often to the more treed areas on the urban/rural interface and it is lifestyle change rather than for primary production reasons like in Macedon Ranges in Victoria)
    – Lastly I would like to get away from the noble savage concept of aboriginals, sure they used fire to manage the land mainly to reduce tree density and provide a green pick that occurs after a fire so they can hunt game. I am sure many of their fires also got away and caused enormous damage. They also changed the vegetation type to those that tolerate fire and made Australia the fire prone country it is today.

  45. Its important to recognise the multifactorial nature of the problem, rather than jumping to a single solution.
    Though, I note that somehow mining is listed as one of the causes. I honestly can’t think of a single fire that was traced back to a mine.
    In WA all miners are required to have a bushfire management and response plan. This includes the training of a team for bushfire response and the presence of a dedicated fire response vehicle. Plus all the obvious things like properly observing fire bans and not undertaking hot works on high fire risk days.
    It’s very easy to pick on miners, because they are “the enemy”, however my experience indicates that almost all fire impacts affecting residential areas arise for multiple factors that might include; poor fuel control, carelessness in the face of evident upcoming fire weather, inadequate fire protection by residents and authorities, arson, poor communication by agencies and residential sprawl.
    In all of that, it must be realised that once one of these beasts take hold, even the best fire protection and contingency planning may not be enough. I’m thinking of a fire that occurred at a place called Pingelly in WA. The fire arose from a local tip, but once it took hold, the high winds meant that the fire was jumping ahead up to 300m, so no amount of fire breaks is gonna stop that and for the most part that fire crossed cropped land where there was only stubble. The only thing that could have been done with that was to stop it at source.
    In summary, it’s very easy to jump to a single solution and land the blame on a single group, but in reality, they are multifactorial and require management from a range of sources.
    My heart goes out to those who have lost property and lives in this fire season and I really don’t think that now is the time to be saying it’s all their fault.

  46. I think the Malethusians Greens really do want to kill us….
    <<<<<<<<<

    You don't have to.
    You can know it.
    Go to any website where they advertize the destruction of civilization: people being in the world are the main problem the world has, and less people is less problems. Period.

  47. What I’m saying Gail is these people comprise a very large cross section of Enviro-wackos. Not every last one: they all just agree to take those people in with them and their message of destroying people carries over: like their much published ‘pay people to sterilize themselves or their neighbors through enacting laws to punish them for not doing it: carbon taxing each child, etc.

    …I wasn’t clear, my bad there.

  48. This is so depressing.

    I am hopeful that one day before too long we might actually win the carbon madness battle.

    However, I fear the know-it-all liberals that have populated governments and NGO’s around the world have an unlimited portfolio of other (equally silly) crusades they will immediately pursue.

    Seriously, it’s worse than we thought :-(

  49. And I am very skeptical of the new climate catastrophe meme in the making, the role of anthropogenic black carbon in the apparent but most probable, entirely natural ongoing changes in the global climate.
    Note I said “Anthropogenic” black carbon.

    Already there has been a considerable amount of bone pointing at black carbon emitted from vehicles, diesel engines and human activities as playing a role in the way the global climate has been changing. There is no doubt that human activities have some role and some contribution to the black carbon levels but perhaps there is another quite natural reason why atmospheric black carbon levels have apparently risen over the last half a century.

    And it is all to do with wild fires and the scale and intensity of those wild fires.

    The centuries long order of burning where the fires in both forest and grasslands were long lasting, slow burning, low intensity fires through low density undergrowth which had all been burnt only a few years previously, produces copious amounts of smoke and carbon.
    However this slow relatively low energy burning process does not provide enough heat for the smoke and carbon particles to rise with enough energy to punch through the low inversions of the local atmosphere. So most of that smoke just drifted along within a layer no more than a few thousand feet at the most above the ground and often only a few hundred feet high where it slowly settled out or was rained out within a couple of days in close proximity to the original burning source.

    With the drastic restrictions on burning and the stupidity of the radical and ignorant greens and other assorted ill informed do-gooders, the wild fires are now massive in size and of incredible intensity with enormous columns of smoke and burning material and therefore immense amounts of black carbon being punched up and driven into the upper atmosphere and well into the lower levels of the stratosphere at altitudes up to 60,000 or more feet by the colossal amounts of heat energy being released by those wild fires.
    From there as we know from tracking the volcanic eruption particulates, the fire produced black carbon particles could drift enormous distances, perhaps a couple of times around the world over a few days as they disperse through the global atmospheric circulation system.

    With those massive and increasingly intense wild fires becoming even larger and possibly more common, the black carbon created in these fires might be a far more realistic [ manmade ? ] source of black carbon than transport, diesel engines, cities and other blameable human origin sources.

    And yet again it might be the green “savers of the planet” with their crazy, stupid, utterly ignorant ideology / theology who are doing the most to destroy the very thing they are claiming to be saving.

  50. Philip Bradley I live in Fremantle WA and cannot agree with your comments. Don’t you recall the Roleystone/Kelmscott fires about two years ago when upwards of 35 homes were lost? Forgetting the Brigadoon fires at the same time when hundreds were evacuated? To those who don’t know WA these places are on the outskirts of the Perth metropolitan area.

    But to refer to your post which seems to lack any logical rationale at all

    You start by referring to the comment by the author of this particular topic that “There is only one way to limit fire damage – reduce the fuel available.

    You then say “No it isn’t. The other and best way is too keep people and property away from combustible material (and visa versa)”. But you then directly contradict that statement by saying “I recall from the Victorian fires a couple of years ago. In one town, only one house didn’t burn. The owner had cut back all the brush and trees around his house, and had been fined by the council for doing so”.

    This is exactly, repeat exactly, in agreement with the statement you so vehemently disagreed with.There seems to be no rationality in what you write.

    You then say “It may sound harsh, but the best solution is to prohibit anyone from getting bushfire insurance or government help after a fire.” But you also said the best way is to keep people away etc. As you can’t have two bests which one is the real best?

  51. Philip Bradley says:
    January 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    No one in Australia is forced to live in a house in close proximity to trees and brush. They live there because they chose to. It has become so common, we even have a word for it in Australia, ‘treechange’.

    A lot of people can’t afford to abandon their property and move away when the vegetation moves in, as vegetation is wont to do. How do you define close proximity? Here’s a case where it’s clear that even 100m is almost too close, I assume it’s the one you referenced:

    I recall from the Victorian fires a couple of years ago. In one town, only one house didn’t burn. The owner had cut back all the brush and trees around his house, and had been fined by the council for doing so.

    Please explain the dichotomy of your statement – in one case you refer to miners who clear land, in the other case you refer to a farmer who did the same thing but you seem to suggest his family should have fled the advancing green wave. Do you propose people should do that and move back after the trees burn down? Can you afford that cycle or do you live in an underground house?

    See

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/11/weve-lost-two-people-in-my-family-because-you-dickheads-wont-cut-trees-down/

    They were labelled law breakers, fined $50,000 and left emotionally and financially drained.

    But seven years after the Sheahans bulldozed trees to make a fire break — an act that got them dragged before a magistrate and penalised — they feel vindicated. Their house is one of the few in Reedy Creek, Victoria, still standing.

    The Sheahans’ 2004 court battle with the Mitchell Shire Council for illegally clearing trees to guard against fire, as well as their decision to stay at home and battle the weekend blaze, encapsulate two of the biggest issues arising from the bushfire tragedy.

    So, what should the Sheahans have done? Emigrated to the Olympic Rain Forest in Washingon state?

    The house is safe because we did all that,” he said as he pointed out his kitchen window to the clear ground where tall gum trees once cast a shadow on his house.

    “We have got proof right here. We are the only house standing in a two-kilometre area.”

    “We prayed and we worked bloody hard. Our house was lit up eight times by the fire as the front passed,” Mr Sheahan said. “The elements off our TV antenna melted. We lost a Land Rover, two Subarus, a truck and trailer and two sheds.”

    Mr Sheahan is still angry about his prosecution, which cost him $100,000 in fines and legal fees. The council’s planning laws allow trees to be cleared only when they are within six metres of a house. Mr Sheahan cleared trees up to 100 metres away from his house.

    “The council stood up in court and made us to look like the worst, wanton environmental vandals on the earth. We’ve got thousands of trees on our property. We cleared about 247,” he said.

    Does anyone know if any trace of sanity was restored after that fire season? Doesn’t sound like it.

  52. Jeff Alberts says:
    January 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    “Aborigines lit fires continually, so their small patchwork fires caused no permanent damage to the environment and created and maintained the healthy grasslands on which many animals and Aborigines depended.”

    Is there such a thing as a fire that causes permanent damage to the environment? I can’t think of one. Sure, they look like hell right after, but in a couple of years you can’t even tell it happened.

    In New Hampshire, the logging era that brought NH to the brink of an energy crisis also left huge areas of slash. In some areas where they burned, the heat was hot enough to sterilize the thin soil, which subsequently eroded away. Mounts Monadnock, Kearsarge, and Cardigan all have open peaks now despite being well under tree line. A minor peak next to Cardigan is named Firescrew, and the road our yurt is on is named Burnt Hill Rd. It’s possible that postdates the logging era.

    In general, people now appreciate these mountains for their cleared tops and the views they offer. The damage isn’t permanent, at least not to a geologist. Lichen is breaking down granite and slowly scrub vegetation a bit of a foothold. However, I don’t expect trees to return before the end of the current interglacial. Maybe in 100,000 years when all these mountains will be newly scraped clean these burned mountains will again be peers with all the others trying to make a new forest.

  53. In general, people now appreciate these mountains for their cleared tops and the views they offer. The damage isn’t permanent, at least not to a geologist. Lichen is breaking down granite and slowly scrub vegetation a bit of a foothold. However, I don’t expect trees to return before the end of the current interglacial. Maybe in 100,000 years when all these mountains will be newly scraped clean these burned mountains will again be peers with all the others trying to make a new forest.

    This sort of erosion can occur naturally as well.

  54. I suspect that one of the main reasons the aborigines burnt areas was that they had learned in order to survive they needed to provide themselves with a safe refuge as defence against naturally occurring bush fires.
    As firefighters we are taught to “stay on the black”, but I think the aborigines had worked that out very early on.

  55. A.D. Everard says: January 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    “..We currently have the worst government Australia has ever seen and I can’t wait for November when we can vote the B**** out!…”

    Unfortunately you will get no immediate relief there… a few thousand regulations and government departments will remain to enforce ridiculous laws and perpetuate ridiculous situations.

    My brother is a cattleman and a timber cutter in Queensland. Areas that have been successfully and sustainability logged for more than 100 years and have received international awards for sustainable forestry management have now been locked up.

    Forestry areas that he could lease and run cattle in for decades have been locked up. Even land which was completely clear 100 years ago has been locked up as “original growth forests” (Yes, I have seen the old photos – the whole thing is a testament to how quickly a forest can develop and mature).

    Those who have managed forest country know the only way to control fire in such country is to create firebreaks (ie bulldozed tracks) and to burn back some distance from those tracks when the weather is still cool – as a 12 ft wide track through the forest will not stop anything when it is dry.

    And those geniuses in here who disparage the aboriginal people (who were able to survive in a landscape where better equipped Europeans very quickly died if they ran out of supplies) for their burning practices of many small cooler fires need to ask themselves what did they think was eventually going to happen to all that built up fuel. Do you think it just sat there forever?

  56. I dont have much time to comment because we just got 90% burnt out in the fires on the 8th Jan. This is the first afternoon I have stopped since from shooting burnt stock and caring for live ones to be taken away and putting out on-going fire up to last Friday.

    So much for “chosing to live where there is a fire risk” – The national park land the fire escaped from is about 5 km or more as the crow flies. There has been NO fires in this valley, let alone this farm, since probably 1935 or earlier. There is 5 km of open grazing land between me and where we were burnt out from.

    The fire started about a week before and was small but the local council and Rural fire service did not bother putting it out when it was small, arguing about who paid costs, despite catastrophic weather conditions being predicted. So it got away. Now those staff got overtime for fighting the fire. A complete beauracrats bunfight at our expense on every level.

    Someone here on the night of the fire said the wind was so strong that it was blowing his truck about on the road 200 km+ winds and that it was impossible to see from the smoke and heat, BEFORE the fire hit. This was just the spot fire area ahead of the main fire – spot fires hit about 4pm, main fire a number of hours later.

    So does that mean people should only live 10 km from trees? – yet the NSW native Vegetation Act 2003 that makes Australia meet its Kyoto protocol carbon quota makes mowing or slashing NATIVE GRASS pasture illegal (as well as trees, few realise this) – so should we only live on ploughed ground 10 km from trees and grass? Or do they just hate humans as the root of all evil? A fascists paradise.

    Our fences are over 90% burnt also and 1/3 of livestock lost.

    Government “help” is a joke and in practice inaccessible.

    I am beyond exhaustion

    Some before and after pics

    http://s968.beta.photobucket.com/user/runninghorse-2008/library/Bushfire%202013

    http://s968.beta.photobucket.com/user/runninghorse-2008/library/Bringing%20in%20the%20Sheep

  57. Gail Combs says:
    January 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    “And that is the EXACT PLAN. SEE MAP”

    The link doesn’t go to a map, nor is one available from there. I only point this out because your links have ALWAYS been good and on subject. I get very tired of links that have nothing to do with what is written or contradict what is written. I can always depend upon you to provide intelligent comment and links to good information. Too much so, in fact. I’ve spent many hours following your links, and learned much thereby.
    Thanks.

  58. I remember visiting a friend who lived in the forests surrounding Grafton. After driving through the forest it suddenly opened up to a clearing the size of of the Sydney cricket ground. In the middle was their house. That’s how everyone should live who wants to live in the Australian bush.

  59. Plain Jane, thank you for taking time to relate all this. Rest up, if and when you can, then let people know more, if you feel so disposed. We’ve been pretty safe from fire for some years in my part of NSW, but I well remember how bad it was in 1994 and at other times. Fire just has a will and way of its own once it gets the conditions it loves, and gathers the critical mass it needs. It can then make its own wind, jump over lakes, travel on next to nothing.

    To think the authorities knew about it when it was small and in a National Park! I suppose it’s more important to learn than blame, and what you’ve just written and photographed will give some people a chance to learn. Those with green goo all over their brains will refuse to learn or care, but others will profit from your efforts.

  60. The statement by Forbes that reducing fuel is the only way to reduce fire damage is gross stupidity. I do hope that individual home owners don’t listen to it, because it is bad advice that could cost them their homes. I assume that, legally, it is OK for WUWT to publish this sort of rubbish in the public interest.

    In the past few weeks I have driven around 800 km mostly through Australian farmland. While I can’t be certain of the exact figures, my estimate it that more than 90% of that trip had farmland on both sides of the road, right up to the road.

    I saw burnt areas from the both the recent Tarcutta and Bookham fires and drove through the smoke of the Booroowa fires.

    As far as I know all of the Tarcutta, Bookham and Booroowa fires were on private property. I am not sure of the final figures but I imagine something in excess of 10,000 hectares of farmland was burnt. These three fires occurred in the most cleared landscape in Australia. If I recall correctly, Booroowa is in a shire in which 97% of the original woodlands were cleared.

    Despite all the emotional bs we have been reading on WUWT, all of those farmers were legally entitled to plough or scrape a firebreak on the inside perimeter of any or all of their properties and paddocks because there is no native vegetation left.

    Despite all the emotional bs we have been reading on WUWT, all of those farmers were also entitled to have in place active fire suppressant defencess to defend valuable equipment, shedding and houses.

    Despite all the emotional, data-free bs we have been readindg on WUWT, all of the farmers (except, perhaps, for the three on whose properties the fires started) who were burnt out were burnt out by fires that came from their neighbouring farmers, not from national parks.

    Despite the opportunity to do fuel reduction by grazing, cool burns and by slashing, not enough of this was done to protect the farmers in the three fires who were burnt out.

    I can tell you that I saw almost no fire breaks on private farming property in 800km of driving.

    The principles, designs, materials, active and passive measures for virtually fire-proofing houses would have saved most of the 150 plus houses that burned to the ground over the past fortnight. It is not rocket science.

    But, as far as I can tell, the home owners couldn’t be bothered. When their houses did burn down, they blamed someone else. After all, it can’t be their negligence for houses that burned, can it?

    Eucalypt forests are well known to constitute one of the most dangerous fire risks in the world. Yet people insist on moving into the forest and building homes in areas which are, quite literally, gas bombs waiting to go off.

    As far as I can tell, these people, when burnt out, and hundreds of them have been burnt out in the last few years, vent their anger on someone else. After all, it can’t be their stupidity and/or negligence can it?

    So, what is going on here? IMHO, a systematic attempt by individuals to blame someone else for their negligence and stupidity. Simple, really. It must be national parks, greenies and the government. Stands to reason, right?

    Now, to national parks.

    Forbes quite rightly drew attention to our alien landscape. It is an alien landscape as so much of it has been cleared. The changed hydrology is turning it into an even more alien landscape as we write. We have massive problems with salinzation and with fungal outbreaks in our forests. We have massive erosion problems with tens of thousands of erosion gullies on the inland slopes of the Great Dividing Range. We have let loose tens of millions of feral rabbits, goats, deer, donkeys, horses and camels. They are chewing their way through the landscape, turning it alien as they go. We have let loose hundreds of weeds that are carpeting some parts of our landscape, turning it alien as we go.

    And we have altered the fire regime, whatever it was, that maintained the variety of original vegetation types extant in Cook’s time.

    The overwhelming percentage of our native vegetation is either gone or damaged. The species that depended on them are drastically reduced in distrubtion or extinct.

    Australians, in 200 years of alienating the landscape, have inadvertantly become gold medal extinction mongers.

    National parks are, quite simply, about our values: do we value Australian plants and animal species enough to protect them? Or are we relaxed about more extinctions?

    There are many, many things that can be done to protect both the animals and plants in national parks and the neighbours of national parks.

    Rather than simply blame national parks and governments for what is often personal negligence we should take a much more systematic approach:

    (1) we should ban people from building homes among eucalyptus gas bombs – for their safety and for our insurance premiums.

    (2) we should encourage fuel reduction burns consisten with maintaining the suite of plants and animals in national parks – bearing in mind that many plants and animals have quite specific fire regime requirements.

    (3) where farmers abut parks, the government should assist farmers with active and passive fire measures. This is in the interests of farmers and of national parks – I imagine that more fires start on private property than in national parks and it is the latter which need to be protected from farmers more often than the other way around

    (4) the introduction of mandatory active and passive fire proofing of new houses.

    These measures are fairly straight forward, IMHO.

    We need to understand that there is a major values conflict between different elements of our society.

    It will be a signal of our maturity as a nation whether we work together to sort out a way that integrates the values, or we simply let our current messes continue to simmer, stew and burn.

    .

  61. janama says:
    January 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I remember visiting a friend who lived in the forests surrounding Grafton. After driving through the forest it suddenly opened up to a clearing the size of of the Sydney cricket ground. In the middle was their house. That’s how everyone should live who wants to live in the Australian bush.

    Sure. You have to clear the bush to live in the bush.

  62. GP says:

    January 20, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Time to BURN the lame-brained tree huggers, the “green” politicians AND that Kyoto agreement!

    That is on par with the WUWT poster who wanted to shoot all the Aborigines.

    Public calls for murder are public calls for murder.

    I trust that the moderater refers you to the appropriate authorities for investigation.

  63. Robert A. Taylor says:
    January 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm
    Gail Combs says:
    January 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    The second link works – to a close-up of California and Nevada.

    You can then backspace to the end of the home site, or this

    http://stewardsofthesequoia.org/

    But I didn’t find a map there either; and didn’t spend much time looking.

  64. Jeff Alberts says:
    January 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    In general, people now appreciate these mountains for their cleared tops and the views they offer. The damage isn’t permanent, at least not to a geologist. Lichen is breaking down granite and slowly scrub vegetation a bit of a foothold. However, I don’t expect trees to return before the end of the current interglacial. Maybe in 100,000 years when all these mountains will be newly scraped clean these burned mountains will again be peers with all the others trying to make a new forest.

    This sort of erosion can occur naturally as well.

    Australia has many tens of thousands of unnatural erosion gullies along the inland slopes the Great Dividing Range.

    IMHO, it is the fault of the greens for stopping farmers from bulldozing erosion gully breaks, governments for putting regulations in place mandating the protection of all the native vegetation in the erosion gullies when generations of cattle farmers and sheep farmers have known all along how to stop the erosion gullies from starting in the first place, and then from growing deeper and deeper and longer and longer. Most of the gullies are still active.

    The good thing about gullies is that if they are deep enough and wide enough they can serve as breaks from which to commence back-burning operations.

    I imagine that the learned fire gurus amongst WUWT posters will be telling us that the only way to stop gullies is to get them down to bedrock as soon as possible because when there is nothing left to erode, they will not get any deeper in anything other than geological time.

    The beauty of the erosion gullies is that they are part and parcel of Australia’s national dryland salinity problem. It is very well-known that the problem was caused by greenies, the government, national parks and the Kyoto protocol, BTW.

    The real beauty of mobilized dryland salt is that it usually expresses itself in your neighbour’s place because it travels, usually along bedrock, until there is a break of slope, some way down the hill.

  65. Plain Jane says:
    January 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    The fire started about a week before and was small but the local council and Rural fire service did not bother putting it out when it was small, arguing about who paid costs, despite catastrophic weather conditions being predicted.

    How can you ever have a civil dicussion with these people again?

  66. Jeff Alberts says:
    January 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    “Aborigines lit fires continually, so their small patchwork fires caused no permanent damage to the environment and created and maintained the healthy grasslands on which many animals and Aborigines depended.”

    Is there such a thing as a fire that causes permanent damage to the environment? I can’t think of one. Sure, they look like hell right after, but in a couple of years you can’t even tell it happened.

    The answer to your question is an emphatic yes. For example, Australia’s rainforests are fire-sensitive. Fires tend to kill the vegetation in them and the result is that eucalypt forests tend to move in. This is reasonably well-documented for Queensland rainforests.

    Vast tracts of Mulga in inland Australia are disappearing because of changes in fire regime. Regrowth Mulga, depending on rainfall, usually takes around 7 years before it sets seeds. If a fire goes through before the seven years is over, the Mulga shrubland is turned into grassland. Specific eucalypt forests such as Mountain Ash forest which are fire-sensitive will disappear if the wrong fire-regime is applied.

    If Mountain Ash forests of a certain age class disappear, so will the animals that depend on the age class, etc, etc, etc.

    Repeated cool burn fires will remove some species altogether. They also act to depauperate the soil of nutrients over time.

    Big wildfires in catchments followed by flooding rains can cause massive stripping of soil and nutrients from forests. The resulting ash can be so toxic that water catchment dams may be too toxic to drink out of for many years.

  67. Allen B. Eltor says:
    January 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I think the Malethusians Greens really do want to kill us….
    <<<<<<<<<

    You don't have to.
    You can know it.
    Go to any website where they advertize the destruction of civilization: people being in the world are the main problem the world has, and less people is less problems. Period.

    I am with the BAU boosters on this one and not that dreadful Malthus. Economic growth is infinite, we can take whatever we want from the environment, pump whatever rubbish we want into the environment, render extinct whatever we want, and the more people the better.

    Come one, come all.

    I confidently predict that two or three billion more people in the world will be good for everyone and everything.

  68. Climate Ace says: January 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Rather than simply blame national parks and governments for what is often personal negligence we should take a much more systematic approach:

    (1) we should ban people from building homes among eucalyptus gas bombs – for their safety and for our insurance premiums.

    (2) we should encourage fuel reduction burns consisten with maintaining the suite of plants and animals in national parks – bearing in mind that many plants and animals have quite specific fire regime requirements.

    (3) where farmers abut parks, the government should assist farmers with active and passive fire measures. This is in the interests of farmers and of national parks – I imagine that more fires start on private property than in national parks and it is the latter which need to be protected from farmers more often than the other way around

    (4) the introduction of mandatory active and passive fire proofing of new houses

    Well said, Ace … for once we are in agreement.

    I think you are also in agreement with Viv Forbes.

  69. What puzzles me is how with fires on that scale they can state the temperatures to within ten degrees let alone to a fraction of one.

  70. The answer to your question is an emphatic yes. For example, Australia’s rainforests are fire-sensitive. Fires tend to kill the vegetation in them and the result is that eucalypt forests tend to move in. This is reasonably well-documented for Queensland rainforests.

    But the damage isn’t permanent. Things grow back. Just because you don’t think the “right” things are growing back is irrelevant. Sounds like you’re saying fire isn’t natural.

  71. Ric Werme says:
    January 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Plain Jane says:
    January 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    The fire started about a week before and was small but the local council and Rural fire service did not bother putting it out when it was small, arguing about who paid costs, despite catastrophic weather conditions being predicted.

    How can you ever have a civil dicussion with these people again?

    The question I would like answered is this, ‘Did the Coonabarabran fire start on private property, public property other than a national park, or in a national park?’

    Statistically, despite all the bs we have been hearing on WUWT, national parks form a much smaller part of the landscape in Australian than farmland, production forests and other forms of public land, despite all the language here about things being ‘locked up’.

    Since lightning starts most fires, and most land is not national parks, more fires are going to burn into national parks than out of them.

    A couple of years ago there were some ill-informed calls by farming organisations to sue governments for fires starting in national parks and then burning into farmland.

    This has gone very, very quiet recently because the penny has dropped.

    Farmers now stand to lose their farms by being sued for negligence for allowing fires to escape their properties.

  72. There is no original or pristine Australia. What we’ve inherited from aboriginal and European predecessors will be new and bewildering whether we do this or do that. Let’s shape Australia for today’s humans while being deadly serious about Conservation. No more gesturing or playing at Conservation. No more Bob Carrism. Without living in an energy rich country where power is cheap and available to all we will not have money for real Conservation. Energy and wealth Conservation are essential to nature Conservation. I have a certain sympathy with National Parks and such organisations because they never really have the funds or resources. We don’t have too many bureaucratic crazies around here. Money and resources are lacking more than freedom to take action. People are prepared to look the other way on regulation. They’d probably like to do some fire maintenance and vermin reduction around here – but who’s got the money?

    It starts with money, and with wealth. If Abbott can roll McTernan in this year’s election we have to insist on new, cheap, efficient, reliable coal power as a first thing. Abbott could hire McTernan to spin it for international consumption. (Really, we should hire the best. I’m serious.) Dams, which are always too hard if you talk to the too-hard people, have to come back in a big way. All green fetishism is to be scrapped, because it is anti-Conservation. Australia, through the genius of Liz Macarthur and those assisting her, had its first million pound industry within a few years of the First Fleet. Wealth has to come first. And it has to be invested in making more wealth, not handed over to finger-waggers and trough-swillers like the UN, GIM and Goldman Sachs. Poor countries don’t conserve. You don’t get to quantify their carbon because they are burning dung and twigs.

  73. Mosomoso

    To think the authorities knew about it when it was small and in a National Park!

    Thus are myths born. Do you know for a fact where the fire started?

  74. this case is extremely important as CAGW alarmism was behind the decision to allow Wivenhoe Dam to be misused:

    21 Jan: Courier Mail, Brisbane, Australia: Mark Solomons: Maurice Blackburn’s maps show properties that would have been spared “if dams were properly managed” in 2011 floods
    He (Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale) blamed a “drought mentality” for poor decision-making.
    “We went from a drought mentality to a flood mentality and we couldn’t make the switch,” Cr Pisasale said.
    “Wivenhoe Dam was being used for water storage instead of flood mitigation.”…

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/maurice-blackburns-maps-show-properties-that-would-have-been-spared-if-dams-were-properly-managed-in-2011-floods/story-e6freoof-1226557993142

  75. Please explain the dichotomy of your statement – in one case you refer to miners who clear land, in the other case you refer to a farmer who did the same thing but you seem to suggest his family should have fled the advancing green wave. Do you propose people should do that and move back after the trees burn down? Can you afford that cycle or do you live in an underground house?

    Miners clear brush because they have health and safety legal obligations to do so. Plus it’s good business. They are not there for the view.

    Cutting down trees and burning or otherwise clearing brush in the cool season aint rocket science.

    I didn’t realize how foolish people are until I drove my daughter and her friends to a house they had rented 200Ks south of Perth. There were tall trees and dense brush 2 meters from the house in the middle of a forest. I decided to check on other nearby houses and walked along the road. There was a house every 20 meters or so and every one had tall trees around. Some people had cleared low level brush but most hadn’t.

    A bushfire will go through there and most if not all of those houses will burn. Which is neither here nor there to me, except the imposition on me as a taxpayer to control or fight bushfires, which is effectively a subsidy by me going towards a wealthy segment of society to support a lifestyle they have chosen.

    FYI, 20 years ago I had a house that backed onto bushland and a bushfire did go through. Spectacular and somewhat scary, but my house was 30+ meters from the trees and at no risk.

  76. Got some informal legal advice over dinner.

    No probs about suing farmers for negligence if they let fires escape from their farms onto other farms or into national parks: ‘provided they or their insurers have money’.

  77. Sadly, green idiocy still holds sway – just 10 years ago, almost to the day, Canberra lost over 500 homes – nice suburban Canberra, now who’d have thought it? Fortunately for Canberra, the year before another bushfire had cleared what amounted to a good firebreak when it burned out a good swathe of pine plantations leading up to the city, without that firebreak I hate to think what the final death and destruction toll would be – but have the loopy Greens permitted changes? Nope, they continue to be destructive dopes on a power trip.

  78. Hi All

    The real culprit here is the Eucalyptus trees. Every time the weather gets hot these things lose copious amounts of bark and leaves on the ground which burn like petrol if flame gets anywhere near them. It is damn scary to watch and even scarier when the temp gets over 38c and the hot north wind picks up. Its a great technique for the gum trees as they can withstand intense fires and survive fires that would kill other species.

    We have only got about 5 per cent of the forests we once had so blaming greenies for the woes we have always had in this country is fallacious. The real problem is fools who want to live in the bush amongst the gum trees not knowing that the tress will do everything they can to ensure that fires will always sweep across the land. It a bit like building a house on a flood plain, not a real clever idea.

  79. I’m a member of the Rural Fire Service in NSW and live and work near natural fire-prone (duh) national parks on the New England plateau. Climate Ace is part of the cultural cancer our society suffers.

    The people(s) who walked most of the way to Australia during the glacial phases from Asia, perhaps as much as 100,000 years ago, came with fire-stick technology. Burning the rain forest and bush they found as a complete lifestyle for tens and tens of thousands of years through all sort of climate regimes supplied a constant natural selection forcing which carved the Holocene biota of modern Australia from the original Gondwanaland pre-human eco-system, much of which was fire-intolerant.

    There is nothing shameful or unnatural about ancient Australians shaping their environment. Contrary to Green mythology, humanity is part of nature…Modern Australia is one of the more diverse, beautiful and utterly incredible environments on this blue planet. The unusually long human occupation of Australia is simply inseparable from the environment.

    Viv Forbes’ wise observation is that should modern western civilisation wish to achieve harmony with the Australian bush it would be wise to manage the environment in roughly the same pattern as it has been managed by the ancients since The Dreamtime…with fire stick in hand during the cooler months in a rational patchwork pattern. The science is settled and the debate over.

    The problem is in the last decade it has become increasingly difficult to do controlled burns because of the decaying legal situation. RFS volunteers are increasingly in danger of lawsuits against them and their local branches if a burn-off gets away, thus each year we decline more and more applications for burning off because the bar is being raised higher and higher. Cutting fire breaks, clearing bush and developing fire mitigation plans encounter more and more bureaucratic, “green” hurtles to jump each year. RFS volunteers work with no compensation. CYA rules. For each individual at some point the obstacles become too hard…the shyt too thick and they just give up and go home to defend their own patch of bush best they can.

    The damage that the urbane willful ignorance of people like Climate Ace are doing to Australia’s ecology has never been calculated, but I reckon it ranks up there with the greatest crimes against the environment ever perpetuated upon this continent.

  80. The big 2008/9 fires in NSW had their roots in councils refusing permission for labs owners to clear fell areas of land to reduce the risk of fire. Refusals from the councils directly lead to the scale of destruction we saw from those fires.

    Sadly this was a pattern repeated during the great Gold Coast floods because the local government refused to allow fan levels to be lowered until it was too late.

    Mailman

  81. Tim Flannery should be in the dock:

    21 Jan: ABC Australia: Josh Bavas: Thousands of Qld flood victims join possible lawsuit
    Thousands of people have signed on to a possible class action against the Queensland Government for damages incurred in the 2011 floods.
    Damian Scattini from Maurice Blackburn says a report by US hydrologists claims the operators of Wivenhoe Dam were negligent and caused unnecessary damage.
    “They held too much water in the reservoir for too long, and then when they realised what they’d done, they panicked and released too much at once,” he said…
    John Walker from IMF Australia says the case could be one of the biggest of its kind in Australia.
    “We don’t know to a large extent what losses each of those people have had. We’ve worked it out in a broad sense,” he said.
    “In the next two to three months we’ll be seeking to get a clear understanding of the losses associated with this flood that didn’t need to occur.”
    The lawsuit has a budget of $10 million and if successful, the compensation could run into the billions of dollars.
    Seqwater says it is confident the dam was properly managed during the flood crisis…
    Lawyers say they will know within a couple of months whether they have enough support to continue with the action which could take up to four years.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-21/thousands-of-flood-victims-join-possible-law-suit/4474358?section=business

  82. Robert A. Taylor says:
    January 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Gail Combs says:
    January 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    “And that is the EXACT PLAN. SEE MAP”

    The link doesn’t go to a map, nor is one available from there. I only point this out because your links have ALWAYS been good and on subject….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Sorry the link should have been: http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/images/wildlands_map.jpg

    (I thought I copied it direct but I have a lot of tabs up.)

  83. Of course the fires burnt hundreds of thousands of hectares of bush and grass across many parts of Australia over the last few weeks and this is typical of every summer. the fires can be easily seen from space.

    How much carbon is put into the atmosphere as soot and ash. surely this is a significant factor in local weather and perhaps climate? Where does the Australian government stand on this issue? They are keen to tax the energy industry for a trace gas/plant food but not so keen to spend money on fire mitigation. But gee, no votes there are there?

  84. Climate Ace says:
    January 21, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Got some informal legal advice over dinner.

    No probs about suing farmers for negligence if they let fires escape from their farms onto other farms or into national parks: ‘provided they or their insurers have money’.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    So if Plain Jane is correct, and she was there, can she and everyone else sue the crap out of the dunderheads who did not put out the fire while it was in the National forest and small or is this only a one way street where Greenies and their lawyers can go after individuals but individuals can not get the SOB’s who burnt them out fired and put in jail?

  85. I live in Victoria Australia 70Km from Melbourne our major capital city over the last week we have had two or three fires in the district every day. Today one was threatening coming my way . It has been established that we have a local idiot lighting fires. This area was the start of fires that killed many people and destroyed entire towns only three years ago. I can only say I hope the police find this person first others may not be so gentle. The green problem in my area is not so severe and our local authorities tend to turn a blind eye to the death of the odd tree that may be a cause of concern. Others unfortunately have the 2 metre rule whereby a 30 metre eucalypt more than 2 metres from your house can not be cut down. Then they can not explain why people die, and for what reason a tree, a eucalypt that by all definitions is a noxious weed. I have been under fire balls of roaring and burning gas that travels miles at huge speeds that landed on houses and they just exploded. In these fires people have no chance unless they can clear the trees from a reasonable distance from their homes. It is the greens that are killing people in this nasty fire I lived in a clearing on the edge of a state forest. The house was old and clap board and was shaded by three very old and large ponderosa pines so the fire balls ignored them and went over my head. Mine was the only house to survive. The greens have many dead souls on their hands off innocent people forced to live in peril by their stupidity.

  86. In my part of the world, we don’t have so many bureaucratic crazies. National Parks and other institutions would like to do lots more vermin control and fire maintenance, but money and resources are never near enough. The real problem is money and wealth.

    Wealth. If Abbott can roll his main opposition,John McTernan, in the next election, there needs to be a urgent shift toward wealth generation based on cheap, abundant, reliable energy for all. This needs to be based on coal and the renovation of our coal power generation. It will be expensive and controversial, and I would be happy to see Abbott hire the likes of McTernan to spin this energy revolution so that climate and enviro monies are diverted toward it, as happened in Germany with Merkel, who talked green while she dug brown.

    As we achieve more wealth, it must be re-invested in real infrastructure and the dismantling of green fetishism. No money must go to the the likes of GIM or Goldman Sachs, who are delighted at the prospect of trading in a fraction of thin air – even if it is not a weightless fraction. Above all, we will be able to get serious about Conservation. No more gesturing, playing and Bob Carrism.

    Whatever we decide to do about fire, weeds, vermin, dunes, watersheds etc, a good job on these things will cost massively. We need to be rich. Liz Macarthur, with some help, established a million pound industry within a few years of the Second Fleet’s arrival. She was a genius, but others have been able to follow because, in spite of our humble origins, nobody has been able to sell us on poverty.

    Poor people don’t conserve. They don’t have a high carbon footprint because they can’t afford it but also because hucksters aren’t interested in calculating the carbon from burning twigs and dung. The poor don’t conserve, but they sure do breed. The poor need to get rich and the rich need to get richer.

    Mr. Forbes’ propositions are the purest commonsense. But to act on such commonsense takes real wealth. My heart goes out to those suffering in the Australian heat and fires, and in the Indian cold wave and in Russia’s current “snowcalypse”. Let’s generate some real energy and use the hard wealth to meet real demands.

  87. Some interesting and passionate arguments here. I suspect some of the people attacking Philip Bradley are rationalizing. Their main argument is that Western Australia is huge and empty so Philip’s simple advice, namely clearing all brush and removing tall trees within a certain distance, cannot be applied to their special situation. These same types of folks inhabited some suburbs near Colorado Springs and watched their closely spaced houses burn in a wildfire.

    Folks, it’s pretty simple. If there’s something flammable near your house, your house will eventually burn. That applies whether you live in the middle of nowhere with nobody around or in a densely packed suburb. You can blame whoever or whatever you want, but the fact is that you choose to live there despite the risks.

    [Reply: Some folks in the ritzy Oakland Hills, Calif. learned that a few years back. Now mandatory fuel removal laws. -ModE]

  88. Sounds overly simplistic to me.

    Bet you no one had the slightest idea how much of Australia was open grassland compared to now.

    Oh wait a second, didn’t all those farmers bulldoze the scrub to make parsture. And those farmers should be protected now right because grass provides very little fuel load? Nope they get burnt out by massive grass fires.

    Looks like Viv’s elaborate theory has hit s snag. Or was all this just a scheme to blame someone else?

  89. Bib says

    Many of today’s locked-up areas were created to sequester carbon to fulfil Kyoto obligations. Who pays the carbon tax on the carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere by wild fires?
    ———–
    Utter bullshit. Today’s national parks preceded Kyoto by decades.

    C’mon Viv cough up with the area of land set aside for Kyoto.

  90. Noelene says:
    January 21, 2013 at 2:35 am

    For you climate ace..so you don’t have to guess (and be wrong)any more.

    http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/enrc/bushfire_inquiry/Final_Report/FINAL_for_web_v2.pdf

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Just in case Ace misses it.

    page 261

    IFMP framework was recently approved by the Premier, following a process of statewide consultation. 801 The framework will involve the establishment of planning committees at the State, regional and municipal levels. The approved framework reflects the finding that while municipal fire management planning will remain the focus of the project, planning can only be effective at this level if it is integrated with regional and State level planning. 802 This finding is also reflected in the fact that the final planning structure has been named the IFMP framework rather than the IMFMP framework. A new website is also planned which will distinguish the IMFMP project from the IFMP framework. Implementation of the framework has commenced, with the establishment of the State Fire Management Planning Committee. However, regional and municipal committees are yet to be established. 803

    Some of the key principles of the IFMP project include:

    * recognition that municipal boundaries (which are land tenure ‘blind’) are the logical platform for integrated fire management planning in Victoria;

    * recognition that risk-based planning may cut across administrative boundaries and that there will be a need for this to be accommodated by municipal and regional leadership;

    * commitment to a process of community engagement, which incorporates recognition of local knowledge and experience, as the basis of effective planning; and

    * an approach to fire management which covers all types of fire risk and which recognises cultural and heritage values and the importance of fire as a tool for land management and cultural applications.

    So it looks like the Victoria government finally recognizes they really goofed in listening to the greens and is trying to modify their stance. (Too bad the advisors/lobbyists responsible for the idiotic laws can not be brought up on charges)

  91. Jeff Alberts says:
    January 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    “Aborigines lit fires continually, so their small patchwork fires caused no permanent damage to the environment and created and maintained the healthy grasslands on which many animals and Aborigines depended.”

    Is there such a thing as a fire that causes permanent damage to the environment? I can’t think of one. Sure, they look like hell right after, but in a couple of years you can’t even tell it happened.

    I’ve read that intense fires not only sterilize but bake-harden the ground some inches below the surface, which prevents the rain for getting through for decades and has very bad effects all around.

  92. Climate Ace says

    “Since lightning starts most fires, and most land is not national parks, more fires are going to burn into national parks than out of them.”
    Really are you that ignorant . So firestorms come from grasslands and take out the trees?

  93. Than statistically most fires should be extinguished before they hit national parks . Oh wait they are because we all know that once in a a park they go out easy .
    By the way I also drove 800 km just to burn fuel and add my own little co2 extinguisher .

  94. Gail Combs says: January 21, 2013 at 3:31 am
    ====================================
    And now the megapods come home to roost- on the brow of the mis-guided environmentalists who insisted on the ill-advised policies which led to the firestorms. Will they acknowledge their mistaken idealism? No- they will blame it on CO2 and come bomb the threads of WUWT with their ill-informed zeal.

  95. Climate Ace assures us that Australians are allowed to clear brush. Others say, NOT TRUE.

    I have several online friends in Australia who tell me Climate Ace doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. I see links here and at other places that indicate that Climate Ace is clueless in this.

    What to believe?

    I will say this: I feel horrible and helpless watching real people fight real fires, while simultaneously fighting governments at several levels who appear to be against their safety. In almost ever other country on this planet it is the priority of the government to look out for the PEOPLE… not the wildlife, not the planet, not some imagined future climate catastrophe, and not vague possibilities. Yes, governments manage wildlife and land, but those are secondary considerations compared to people. Voters, too, I might add.

    Here in Alberta we occasionally have grass fires that consume thousands of acres in minutes, leaping across highways and in some cases causing smoke severe enough to cause secondary fatalities for people trying to drive. We recently had almost an entire town burn to the ground because of the exact same kind of narrow mindedness and refusal to mandate proper firebreaks in a forest area. And we’re not even remotely a warm climate or covered in volatile oil producing trees.

    http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2011/05/20110516-123301.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Slave_Lake_fire

    Personal opinion: to those decrying the “noble savage” image of the Aboriginals, consider the reality. It doesn’t MATTER what their motivations were, and it is MEANINGLESS to “blame” them for what the continent is. All that counts is that a management system was in place, and that it is no longer in place. LAW of unintended consequences now comes into play. The management system that replaced what the Aboriginals were doing is clearly not working, the logical step is to either come up with a workable management system or return to the method that was in place before.

  96. Aaah Baa,
    What a beaut comment. added to that of Olaf.
    Abel and Cook only mentioned the coastal areas of Australia as thhis is all they explored. And who the heck did want to rub two sticks together every morning for cooking hedgehogs (echidnas)?, as you rightly point out.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/20/australias-alien-environment-fuels-firestorms/#comment-1204335

    In the open country firesticks and embers were carried and periodically used to torch spinifex etc to maintain the firestick/ember, flash out game and most likely torch an offending neighbouring tribe’s wooden artefacts and sacred objects. And reduce their opportunity of game?

    Surely use of fire-farming by Aborigines as presented currently implies a cohesive and collaborative unity of tribal activity. With this mass development surely common language and culture would have proceeded at a greater rate over 40,000 years. History does not bear this argument out.

    Otherwise, another great article by Viv Forbes.

    Edna Walling, Australian feminist and lesbian gardener, in later life took to roadside regeneration. Little has been written of the work of landscape gardeners, their [Tonnies gemeinschaft]] village development in Australia which the girls exported from Gertrude Jekyll, UK. All that feminist claptrap influenced local Councils and regulation of public/private lands, especially roadside vegetation as portrayed in the Quadrant article.

  97. My understanding is that eucalyptus forests require fire for propagation. Which would explain what could be seen during the TV interview of that family photographed sheltering under a wooden jetty. In the background, there did not appear to be the devastation one would have expected after such a fire. I suspect that might be why only a glimpse could be seen – had there been blackened stumps, I have little doubt the cameras would have lingered over the sight.

  98. johanna says:
    January 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm
    ………………………..
    I am a bit sceptical of the romantic view of Aboriginal burning as well. There weren’t that many of them – vast regions of this vast continent were uninhabited, so the effects were localised in fairly small areas…….

    It all depends on what you define as “There weren’t that many of them”

    In 1788 there was an estimated 314,500 Indigenous Australians.

    http://www.nccarf.edu.au/wwwold/settlements-infrastructure/sites/www.nccarf.edu.au.settlements-infrastructure/files/file/ACCARNSI%20Node%202%20Discussion%20Paper%20-%20Population%20Distribution%20Migration%20and%20Climate%20Change%20in%20Australia%20%20Final.pdf

  99. I am in victoria too,
    lucky the big fires own our way were put out due to incredible efforts by all concerned..
    however our area has a massive issue with prickly acacia it harbours rabbits n foxes goes up like a bomb burns hard and fast, is all over road verges alonmg with 6ft hight phalaris and a lot of native grases.
    none of which the councils are allowed to burn or slash or remove via bulldozer thansk to insane green l;aws,. add 5ft high bracken fern spreads on the council land and bush areas.
    then throw in pine and bluegum plantations within a mile of town.
    allowed by councils, loss of good farmland and jobs for investors profits.
    and incresed rates.
    a lot of us live rural cos we hate cities and because its the only cheap land or homes we can afford, the green hobby famers planting the land heavily for carbon credits are a serious hazard to communities here..
    nat parks wont help pay half to fence land adjoining they also rfuse to cut overhanging tree or bulldoze propoer firebreaks on their side of the fenceline so fire crews actually have access.
    I get told off for grass over 10cm high at town edge with sheep n horse I need to feed off of the grasses over summer.
    yet we cant remove the real hazards>?
    close to 50% of vic is bloody parks.
    wildlife corridors are a great way to allow a fire to run.
    deep ripping fireburnt soils and dragging the charcoal down plough n till it. would stop hardpan and allow bacteria and water to fix damage, but the ptb would have a fit.

  100. In the southern US foresters plant pine in plantations of thousands of acres. Not one is without firebreaks, for example every quarter mile or less. Standard practice. The greenies are impractical, with impractical visions. The result: firestorms.

  101. Jimbo says:
    January 21, 2013 at 5:47 am

    johanna says:
    January 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm
    ………………………..
    I am a bit sceptical of the romantic view of Aboriginal burning as well. There weren’t that many of them – vast regions of this vast continent were uninhabited, so the effects were localised in fairly small areas…….

    It all depends on what you define as “There weren’t that many of them”

    In 1788 there was an estimated 314,500 Indigenous Australians.
    ————————————————-
    Indeed, over an area similar to the contiguous (did I get that right, Anthony?) United States. Thanks, Jimbo, for bringing some sense into the romantic notion of the ‘noble savage’. It’s balderdash. It is quite possible that the vegetation profile of Australia has been shaped by fire, but a few scattered people here and there didn’t do it on their own.

    Concern Troll, as I have renamed Climate Deuce, has bombarded us with misinformation interspersed with fact. He has calibrated his latest thread-bombings thanks to feedback from people like me, who regard his gloating over ‘proof’ of CAGW while people’s homes are still smoking as loathsome. So, he has taken a different tack. Since I don’t want to bore readers as he has, I’ll take one example.

    Just for fun, apparently, he has thrown in some spurious assertions about ‘artificially created’ gullies in the Great Dividing Range, and how they are useful for fighting fires. What rubbish.

    Overseas readers need to understand that the GDR is a string of mountains that runs 50 to 100 miles inside the east cost of Australia for over 2,000 miles. It is largely populated with eucalypts, and is one of the most potent sources for bushfires thanks to lightning strikes. Aborigines certainly spent time there, but they would have been suicidal to light fires there. The gullies that CT claims (a) are ‘unnatural’ and (b) are a great help to firefighters are in fact a feature of the mountains. They are why it took European explorers – who didn’t bother to consult the natives – years to find a way over them. Every time you think you are getting ahead, you hit a gully, and have to go back. That is the topography of these mountains.

    As for being a help to firefighters, if CT can explain how a deep gully in rugged terrain during a bushfire is helpful, next thing is, he’ll be selling us sh*t sandwiches and saying that they are good for us.

    With regard to the lunatic policies around national parks, CT diverted with some dispute about where the fire started. It doesn’t matter, when a $100m space telescope is almost burned to the ground because the park authority insisted that ‘every tree is sacred’ and they were allowed to grow right up to the walls of the telescope, Like all concern trolls, you continue to deliberately miss the point while weeping crocodile tears.

  102. Philip Shehan says:
    January 21, 2013 at 6:21 am

    The article from which the above quotes were taken is by Tim Flannery, who also edited and wrote the forward to my copy of Watkin Tench’s journals. Flannery is no politically correct bleeding heart.

    Phil, the Flannery who wrote that forward is also the one described below. The one you may perhaps be thinking of (non political etc) must be a different Flannery, I believe:

    From Wikipedia:

    In February 2011 it was announced that Flannery had been appointed to head the Climate Change Commission established by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to explain climate change and the need for a carbon price to the public. This legislation is now passing through Parliament….

    ……Timothy Fridtjof Flannery (born 28 January 1956) is an Australian mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist and global warming activist. He is the Chief Commissioner of the Australian Climate Commission, an independent body providing information on climate change to the Australian public.

    Flannery was named Australian of the Year in 2007[2] and is currently a professor and holds the Chair in Environmental Sustainability at Macquarie University. He is also the chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council, an international climate change awareness group. His sometimes controversial views on shutting down conventional coal fired power stations for electricity generation in the medium term are frequently cited in the media.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Flannery

  103. markx:

    At January 21, 2013 at 8:01 am you write to Philip Shehan saying:

    January 21, 2013 at 6:21 am
    The article from which the above quotes were taken is by Tim Flannery, who also edited and wrote the forward to my copy of Watkin Tench’s journals. Flannery is no politically correct bleeding heart.

    Phil, the Flannery who wrote that forward is also the one described below. The one you may perhaps be thinking of (non political etc) must be a different Flannery, I believe:

    You “believe” Philip Shehan was “thinking” of “a different Flannery”?
    Surely, you jest.

    Richard

  104. richardscourtney says:
    January 21, 2013 at 8:26 am

    ..You “believe” Philip Shehan was “thinking” of “a different Flannery”?
    Surely, you jest….”

    :-) Indeed I do Richard … but unfortunately I posted this on the wrong thread, so the joke is on me!

  105. markx:

    re your post addressed to me at January 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Thanks! I laughed, too. But the trolls need to be corrected when they mislead. So, please copy your post to the correct thread to ensure that any who may have been misled get your correct information.

    Richard

  106. CodeTech says:
    January 21, 2013 at 5:21 am
    …. I feel horrible and helpless watching real people fight real fires, while simultaneously fighting governments at several levels who appear to be against their safety. In almost ever other country on this planet it is the priority of the government to look out for the PEOPLE… not the wildlife, not the planet, not some imagined future climate catastrophe, and not vague possibilities. Yes, governments manage wildlife and land, but those are secondary considerations compared to people. Voters, too, I might add…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    That used to be the case. Now the governments only look at people as cash cows and take their actual orders from the wealthy econuts like Ted Turner, George Soros and the malthusians running the UN and WWF.

    Top Senate Democrat [says] bankers “own” the U.S. Congress and we already know where the World Bank stands on Global Warming.

  107. Goode ’nuff says:
    January 20, 2013 at 11:57 am …

    California has not had a “natural” environment for several millennia at least. Like the Australian Aborigines, the California Indians used fire as a tool. With it they maintained immense regions of perennial grass lands in the Great Valley, limiting the success of annual grasses whose shallow roots are vulnerable to fire. They also encouraged larger deer herd sizes by burning over chaparral lands with the counter-intuitive result of improving browse within the chaparral lands (deer like first and second year chemise) and also increased the size of the chaparral lands. Forest lands in the Sierra – whose park-like appearance is remarked on in many historic diaries – were kept open, and importantly, water in streams was maintained above modern levels because of lower transpiration from trees (there were fewer trees in California 200 years ago than there are at present) resulting in higher water tables. There is considerable debate over just how much of California’s land area was essentially managed but a common estimate is above 25%. This certainly true if the Great Valley was mostly in a fire managed state. The current situation is the result of fire suppression over a century or better. That, and the interference of “air quality boards” whose environmental effects has never been properly addressed.

  108. : johanna says:
    January 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm


    I am a bit sceptical of the romantic view of Aboriginal burning as well. There weren’t that many of them – vast regions of this vast continent were uninhabited, so the effects were localised in fairly small areas. As others have pointed it, it made sense from the point of view of finding a cooked dinner in the ashes and clearing a bit of grazing land for kangaroos and such. …

    There’s nothing “romantic” about the use of fire by hunter-gatherers. The sole limits on the size of a fire that is not being actively fought are weather and fuel loads. Grasslands will burn from horizon to horizon. In forested areas fire extent and severity is determined by fuel on the ground, and biological structure and age structure of the forest. Frequent fires reduce the scope of a new fire while greater spans between fires correlate with larger, hotter fires.

    When you look at agricultural land use, you want to remember several things. For one thing we are a species that exploits marginal environments and natural catastrophes like landslides and fires. Immediately after a fire or slide an entirely different crop of plants appears than what grew prior to the event. These plants are often uncommonly useful, but they require things like lowered competition from other plants, increased ground water, and increased sunlight that a “destructive” event like a fire creates. The direct result of this is that our crops are generally biased toward species that started out on marginal lands in early biological succession stages. So, as slightly smarter than normal apes, our ancestors had the brilliant idea of creating controlled “catastrophes” – areas deliberately burned by fires, and ploughed fields, both of which are “events” that delay biological succession. The same burning practices were employed in North America, and in fact anywhere that “swidden agriculture” (also called ‘slash and burn’) was employed.

    In Australia, while there weren’t “many” when you consider population per square mile, that is not relevant since they moved around a lot. They could very well live in an area for while, decide the foraging returns were falling below desirable levels, light a fire and then head off to another area. Small H-G bands can use huge areas in more marginal landscapes.

  109. mpainter says:
    January 21, 2013 at 7:25 am
    In the southern US foresters plant pine in plantations of thousands of acres. Not one is without firebreaks, for example every quarter mile or less. Standard practice. The greenies are impractical, with impractical visions. The result: firestorms.

    This an unusual statement from you (ie has something of substance to it), but are you suggesting the US foresters are greenies with ‘impractical visions’?

  110. Moe says:

    January 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    mpainter says:
    January 21, 2013 at 7:25 am
    In the southern US foresters plant pine in plantations of thousands of acres. Not one is without firebreaks, for example every quarter mile or less. Standard practice. The greenies are impractical, with impractical visions. The result: firestorms.

    This an unusual statement from you (ie has something of substance to it), but are you suggesting the US foresters are greenies with ‘impractical visions’?
    ===============================
    What do you know about statements with substance?

  111. For the reasons Viv cites the current forest area of Australia is probably greater than it was before colonization, yet misguided environmentalism has vastly restricted our native forestry industry. As a result most wood used in housing construction is now pine from plantations. It is greatly inferior in both strength and durability. Much of the extravagantly expensive housing built in recent decades will become irreparable junk in a few decades and the eco-tards call this sustainability..

  112. I started reading the initial article and agreeing with the general sentiments expressed. Over the years the fuel reduction burning of public maintained roads has lapsed. If that climate spin doctor had got out of his/her government car on his 800 km drive BEFORE the fires devastated the coluntryside he/she would have found 6 to 8 inches of dry tree debris on the ground, and the same in the neglected forests, not to mention the fallen trees, dead wood that can’t be removed for “environmental reasons”.
    An enormous fuel load of tinder dry material that boost the impact of intense heat and creates the firestorms, fire created mini tornado’s that literally explode off the ground like an enormous will willy or wurley whurley (Australian term for a wind/heat created tornado like, but dry wind storm) this mass of burning fireball can then travel through the air for miles on its own created wind and heat, to finally land and consume whatever is in its path.
    To those who witnessed them the sound the sound is like the approach of many rumbling trains and as they land in forests they create more firestorms and fireballs, the whole thing is so heat intense that the tree tops of the forest ignite and with the wind it then travels at very high speed with unburnt leaves twigs, small branches and burning embers dropping over wide areas, and building fires in the forest fuel lying on the ground, developing new fireball effects. Then you have the unpredictable wind changes, that can turn an 18 mile long running finger of fire, into an 18 mile fire front of such intensity no firefighter on the ground can contain or hope to fight, and airborne water bombers can’t do more than perhaps help by strategic firebombing near houses or to save firefighters trapped by the wind changes.

    I see that gullys were mentioned, and these are the firefighters nightmare, impossible to traverse because of their natural configuration and choked with combustible brush, grass and much like a chimney, creating a draft path for the wind and fire to travel at an alarming pace uphill, the widow makers of the bush, as another finger of fire that then broadens on the other side of the hill (lee side) where you just might have the chance (like as in a snowball in hel!!) of diverting it temporarily to save stock and property, the heat of hell as some have described it.

    What annoys me is idiots like Climate Ace and Lazy teenager, the left wing self described urban “intellectuals” and environmental greens who have done nothing to help, but much to blame for the lack of undertanding and impediments to those who would make intelligent preparations, fire plans, fire access routes and equipment purchases and training for those volunteers who have a vested local interest in saving and protecting. Volunteers that are frustrated, by the you can’ts, and the regulatory powers these frustraters can access – drawn up by urban greenies who have no love of the rubes in the bush – except when getting dubious free legal advice at lunch with copious red wine as I suspect our self proclaimed ace no doubt did.

    The sad part is that we are stuck with the situation, as our children are being indoctrinated with the product of spin, told to tell their parents they are environmentally irresponsible if they burn off or clear land, and the mere smell of wood or grass smoke is enough to send greenies into a frenzy.

    I guess that some of you Americans did in part have an answer to restrict these taxpayer funded idealists and enviromentalists who have unlimited funds to produce glossy propaganda pamflets, video clips. The taxed enough already TEA party had the right idea, to get them off the taxpayer’s back, defund them, maybe out of their government air conditioned cars and offices and doing something productive, proving their worth and practicality BEFORE letting them loose to teach? or befuddle our children.

    I notice how your Tea party people were attacked, put down and rideculed – can’t let the “ordinary American” get ideas and political momentum above their station in life serving the self styled elite now can we!!

    My high hope is that at some time the ordinary taxpayers, and those that built this country here in Australia get some say above that comfortable shrill minority who have held us to ransom for too long. That we get to say how our tax dollars are spent and that our pockets are not continually raided to support drones who swan about the country in their 800 km drives and blame everyone else while ensuring their lifestyle and long lunches are protected.

    yeah, I’m mightely P…d off with those supperior trolls….as you can see!!

  113. Gail Combs says:
    January 21, 2013 at 2:22 am

    Climate Ace says:
    January 21, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Got some informal legal advice over dinner.

    No probs about suing farmers for negligence if they let fires escape from their farms onto other farms or into national parks: ‘provided they or their insurers have money’.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    So if Plain Jane is correct, and she was there, can she and everyone else sue the crap out of the dunderheads who did not put out the fire while it was in the National forest and small or is this only a one way street where Greenies and their lawyers can go after individuals but individuals can not get the SOB’s who burnt them out fired and put in jail?

    I notice that you have made the usual angry genuflection at the altar of greenie hate. I suggest you get a life and get rid of your anger because it will stress your immune system and increase the chances of your getting immuno-deficiency related diseases. (Faced with the rampant destruction of our wildlife and our careless extinction of many animals and plants, I used to have the same sort of anger at the careless of people who were content to destroy the results of millions of years of evolution in the space of few short years.).

    The litigation following the 2003 Canberra fire is ongoing. Wildfires have become lawyers’ picnics, so it is just as well that someone does well out of them.

    1. Plain Jane’s post is the first time I have ever heard of an RFS unit refusing to attend a fire call up. I am not calling Plain Jane a fibber. It may be true. It may not. (I noticed in Darwin after Tracey that some very, very wild and weird stories did the rounds). We have to bear in mind a couple of things: in the heat of the disaster moment ordinary humans are still ordinary humans. They make errors of judgement. I would make the observation that some of the volunteer fire crew captains I have known were fairly ordinary. I imagine that if the management of the fire crew was inadequate, if procedures were not in place or were not followed, if the equipment was not maintained to expectations, or if there was personal misbehaviour (in the sense of being under the influence, for example) then there appear to be good grounds for commencing action.

    2. People keep saying that the Coonarbarabran fire started in the Warrumbungles NP. I can find no evidence for this. If it is true, it is true. I would appreciate some confirmation. I accept it came out of the NP, crossed 10 km and entered Plain Jane’s property. This does not mean that the fire started in the NP, however.

    3. Plain Jane should consult litigation funders who are undoubtedly looking to move into the wildfire space. Since her property was 10km from the national park, she should ask the litigation funders to consider whether the 10 km of neighbours who allowed the fires through their properties onto her property were negligent, particularly if the owners did not carry out control burns, slashing of vegetation, the installation of firebreaks and other fire suppression measures as recommended by Forbes. My advice would be to ensure that those being sued have money or are ensured, for obvious reasons.

    4. While she is at it, Plain Jane might consider that, if she did not stop the fire going through to her neighbours, she may well be subject to litigation as well on the basis of negligence particularly if the owners did not carry out control burns, slashing of vegetation, the installation of firebreaks and other fire suppression measures.

    5. The national park authorities should also consult their legal advisers if the fire started outside the national park – particularly if the owners did not carry out control burns, slashing of vegetation, the installation of firebreaks and other fire suppression measures as recommended by Forbes.

    6. The insurers of Siding Springs will, no doubt, be checking the fire management arrangements of the folk who run Siding Springs Observatory. I understand these same folk may have lost majr telescopes in the Stromlo Observatory in 2003. You would have thought that they might have learned a thing or two. In any case, I imagine that insurerers of observatories are going to insist on some pretty stringint passive and active fire measures as part of any insurance package.

    6. Plain Jane mentioned that they had not had a fire in her valley since 1935. It is a pattern of comments in recent fires where locals say their patch will not burn because it has not burned in living memory. I know of at least one man who died in the Marysville Fire because he adopted this view and stuck to it. He was last seen alive sitting on his verandah as the fires approached. Put simply, as it gets hotter, the old bushfire ‘rules’ no longer apply.

    7. Based on our personal experience in our shire as a result of bushfires, Plain Jane will find that her rates will go up, her fire insurance will go up, and her power costs will go up as shires and infrastructure providers pay for the fire damage.

    8. Again based on personal experience in our Shire, which was heavily ravaged by fire, Plain Jane will find that the dreaded authorities will enact new housing regulations to prevent building amongst the gum trees and also a suite of new building standards. They will refrain from regulating the retro-fitting of same because homeowners do not like being told to make their houses fire-proof. In such cases the insurance industry might take an active hand.

    The Coonabarabran fire burned in the general context of record national temperatures.

    Welcome to AGW and its consequences.

  114. Walter Starck says:
    January 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    For the reasons Viv cites the current forest area of Australia is probably greater than it was before colonization,

    Completely and utterly wrong. But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of your prejudices.

  115. Someone mentioned pine plantations as exemplars of fire management.

    The recent major fire in south-eastern Victoria burned through extensive areas of pine plantations (and some farmland) into the Lower Glenelg National Park.

    I have spent time in some of those plantations and, amongst other things, took the opportunity to observer the way in which fire management was integrated into the planting designs.

    They were pretty good, I thought, at the time. I recall, amongst other thing, a massive firebreak cut north/south through the park to protect the pine plantations from fires that might come out of the national park.

    Looks like someone forgot to tell the fire.

  116. Duster, you seem to have misunderstood what I was saying, which is probably my fault for not explaining myself clearly enough.

    Firstly, my point about romantic views of Aboriginal burning is along the lines of a myth now being promulgated in some circles that Aborigines were wizards who set controlled burns that managed the ecosystem in some sort of systematic fashion. This is nonsense – even today, with all our know-how and technology, controlled burns get away sometimes and cause devastating blazes. A bunch of nomads with not so much as a bucket between them simply could not not have done what is being claimed. Yes, they set fires deliberately, and no, these fires were in no way controlled or controllable.

    Secondly, your point about agriculture is irrelevant in this context because Australian Aborigines did not practice it. They were hunter-gatherers.

    Thirdly, the reality is that it is physically impossible for such a small number of people to have impacted the entire continent. It should be noted, too, that they did not move all the time, but rather moved seasonally from one defined area to another according to the availability of food and water.

    In the case of the massive area that is the Great Dividing Range, most of it was totally uninhabited although people passed through it on their way somewhere else. Frankly, most of it is uninhabitable, being very rugged, heavily forested and difficult to traverse. Lighting any sort of bushfire there is just an invitation to suicide.

    I suspect that you are not Australian. Ken B’s post just above is a realistic appraisal of the local conditions. And, once again readers outside the US often find it hard to conceptualise the distances here. Readers in the US just need to know that our country is about the same size as theirs, and ask themselves what impact a few hundred thousand scattered, nomadic hunter-gatherers could possibly have on the entire continent.

  117. Ken B

    My high hope is that at some time the ordinary taxpayers, and those that built this country here in Australia get some say above that comfortable shrill minority who have held us to ransom for too long.

    We have a democracy. It is not perfect. Each person gets just the one vote, including the mad, the bad and the sad.

    That we get to say how our tax dollars are spent and that our pockets are not continually raided…

    I don’t mind paying taxes. I appreciate it that our hospital system is superior to that of the US and that there is a good chance that when I get crook someone will know what is wrong with me and the system will deliver the medical fix. I appreciate it that our roads are in such good nick. It is good that we have reliable power systems. It is great that our communications systems generally work. I like being able to walk through my city without constant fear. I like it that the folk who manage air traffic keep planes from flying into each other. I think the public education system is one of the best in the world with our kids consistently in the top 20 in world education achievements. I am pleased that our army, navy and airforce have good stuff and well trained service people.

    Do I feel sorry for the self-pitying whingers who whine about being ‘raided’? Well, I might. If they got off the roads our taxes pay for, if they stay out of the education system our taxes pay for and if they stay away from hospitals. But they whinge about all that stuff and sneakily use it all anyway.

    … to support drones who swan about the country in their 800 km drives and blame everyone else while ensuring their lifestyle and long lunches are protected.

    Well, if I am a Marxist and a Nazi, I suppose it is just as well that I am a drone?

    Just to be clear, you snivelling, whinging, rude, insulting, self-pitying grub, I have never been in a Centrelink Office in my life.

    yeah, I’m mightely P…d off with those supperior trolls….as you can see!!

    ‘supperior’? Really? You might want to seek a preliminary consultation for what appears to be an inferiority complex.

  118. Climate fool, aka Concern Troll, your attack on Ken B and your earlier comment about the latest fires having something to do with CAGW reveal all we need to know about you. No matter how much you spam this thread with your pompous meanderings, you are not deceiving anyone.

  119. johanna says:
    January 21, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Jimbo says:
    January 21, 2013 at 5:47 am

    johanna says:
    January 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm
    ………………………..
    I am a bit sceptical of the romantic view of Aboriginal burning as well. There weren’t that many of them – vast regions of this vast continent were uninhabited, so the effects were localised in fairly small areas…….

    The tribal boundaries drawn by Tindale, each with it languages and each with its clan groups demonstrate pretty well that all areas of Australia were inhabited by Indigenous people at the time of first contact.

    There is some archaeological evidence that in previous hotter, drier climates, some areas of the central deserts were abandoned.

    Following contact with its pattern of dispersal, massacres and concentration in missions and the like, vast areas of Australia were depopulated and much of these remain depopulated to this very day. The massive wildfires that are now common in much of the driest third of the continent and moving into the pastoral areas are almost certainly a direct result of the absence of the people who moved through the landscape igniting dozens of little fires on a daily basis.

    Concern Troll, as I have renamed Climate Deuce, has bombarded us with misinformation interspersed with fact. He has calibrated his latest thread-bombings thanks to feedback from people like me, who regard his gloating over ‘proof’ of CAGW while people’s homes are still smoking as loathsome. So, he has taken a different tack. Since I don’t want to bore readers as he has, I’ll take one example.

    Who are people like you?

    Just for fun, apparently, he has thrown in some spurious assertions about ‘artificially created’ gullies in the Great Dividing Range, and how they are useful for fighting fires. What rubbish.
    Overseas readers need to understand that the GDR is a string of mountains that runs 50 to 100 miles inside the east cost of Australia for over 2,000 miles. It is largely populated with eucalypts, and is one of the most potent sources for bushfires thanks to lightning strikes. Aborigines certainly spent time there, but they would have been suicidal to light fires there. The gullies that CT claims (a) are ‘unnatural’ and (b) are a great help to firefighters are in fact a feature of the mountains. They are why it took European explorers – who didn’t bother to consult the natives – years to find a way over them. Every time you think you are getting ahead, you hit a gully, and have to go back. That is the topography of these mountains.

    As for being a help to firefighters, if CT can explain how a deep gully in rugged terrain during a bushfire is helpful, next thing is, he’ll be selling us sh*t sandwiches and saying that they are good for us.

    Johanna naughty: an erosion gully is not the same as a natural gully in forested country. I would certainly not count the latter as useful for fire fighting. Quite the opposite, actually.

    No, the gullies I specified were erosion gullies. There are around 45,000 or so. They exist because the forests and woodlands on their slopes were cleared of forest. This resulted in speeded run-off and the rest, as they say, is history.

    You can fit an average house into some of these gullies, so they do form an unnatural firebreak. If they are at right angles to an approaching firefront, they can be used for backburning purposes.

    With regard to the lunatic policies around national parks, CT diverted with some dispute about where the fire started. It doesn’t matter…

    It does matter when the litigation starts.

    Like all concern trolls, you continue to deliberately miss the point while weeping crocodile tears.

    What point am I missing? I support suitable control burns. I support national parks and farmers working together so that farmers can have firebreaks, fuel mitigation measures and the like on their farms to stop fires getting into national parks. I support control burns in national parks. Nor am I an tree fetishist and can claim to have knocked a few down with chainsaws in my time, which is probably more than most of the posters on this string can claim to have done.

    My family has suffered farms burning, stock killed and houses burnt to the ground. Some of us have had extremely narrow escapes from being killed in fires themselves. Many of us have been involved in volunteer fire fighting. I do feel sorry for people who have been burnt out.

    But, in an important sense, personal experience this is neither here nor there. We all have our values and what we regard as important. Those values need to be worked out through the political system. Each of us is as entitled as the next person is to our values. I value animals and plants not becoming extinct. You don’t care about extinctions. Fair enough, we are different.

    It might be time for the blame game to cool down a bit and for some work on sorting out some compromise measures.

  120. It seems Plain Jane has joined Watkin Tench and William Dawes on the list of people not to be credited. Not that these people are making stuff up. They’ve just been McTernanised. Their accounts are not confirmed by long motor car rides. It is necessary to take such stern action in a warming world (wherever that is).

    Oh, could somebody welcome India, China, Korea, Russia, the Middle East, England, North America etc to some of the consequences of AGW? In a hurry, please!

  121. I have difficulty understanding this. I have been reading about the science of controlled burns for 25 years. I can’t find ( searching the web ) any creditable science that argues against controlled burns. I eventually found some “green” material saying that controlled burns harm bio diversity. But no evidence. Just claims. Can someone please explain to me why they refute the science. Why are they anti controlled burns. I really don’t get it!

    /ikh

  122. johanna says:
    January 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Climate fool, aka Concern Troll, your attack on Ken B and your earlier comment about the latest fires having something to do with CAGW reveal all we need to know about you. No matter how much you spam this thread with your pompous meanderings, you are not deceiving anyone.

    I don’t usually ‘attack’ anyone. But is some grub insults me, I might choose to defend myself. The whinging, whining, self-pitying KenB accused me of being a ‘drone’. How ignorant and how rude is that? I bet he is on the dole or old age pension or something and that he is bludging off us taxpayers in some way.

    BTW, I notice that you have lavished plenty of insults on me in several posts on several strings. You appear to think you have licence to be rude and nasty. On WUWT, that is par for the course. However, you do not have a licence to be incompetent.

    My suggestion to you would be to get a comprehension teacher to teach you how to read with understanding. That way you might stop making some of the silly mistakes, false assumptions and ludicrous deductions that appear to be your natural strength.

    For example, you might just have picked up the difference between a natural gully and an erosion gully and saved yourself from looking like a dill.

  123. mosomoso says:
    January 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    It seems Plain Jane has joined Watkin Tench and William Dawes on the list of people not to be credited. Not that these people are making stuff up. They’ve just been McTernanised. Their accounts are not confirmed by long motor car rides. It is necessary to take such stern action in a warming world (wherever that is).

    What? You don’t do skepticism?

    I have queried one of Plain Jane’s statements. It is that the local RFS refused to put a fire out when it was very, very hot, windy and extremely dry. If that claim turns out to be correct, I will accept the claim.

    Who ‘discredited’ Tench and Dawes?

    These silly strawmen of yours are on a par with your penchant for factoids when the facts are staring you in the face.

  124. ikh:

    At January 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm you ask

    I have difficulty understanding this. I have been reading about the science of controlled burns for 25 years. I can’t find ( searching the web ) any creditable science that argues against controlled burns. I eventually found some “green” material saying that controlled burns harm bio diversity. But no evidence. Just claims. Can someone please explain to me why they refute the science. Why are they anti controlled burns. I really don’t get it!

    They oppose the science because they are ‘greens’. Sometimes they will quote selected science as support for their philosophy when that is convenient, but they ignore anything which does not support their philosophy.

    Their philosophy says there was once upon a time a pristine “environment” which humans have harmed. If activities of humans are constrained then the ‘environment’ will return to the state they imagine but never did exist in reality. That imaginary state is an ‘ideal’ and if its attainment kills people then – according to their philosophy – that is a small price to pay.

    Richard

  125. ikh says:
    January 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I have difficulty understanding this. I have been reading about the science of controlled burns for 25 years. I can’t find ( searching the web ) any creditable science that argues against controlled burns. I eventually found some “green” material saying that controlled burns harm bio diversity. But no evidence. Just claims. Can someone please explain to me why they refute the science. Why are they anti controlled burns. I really don’t get it!

    /ikh

    If you Google search terms something like ‘impact of fire regimes on Australian biota’ you will get scads of research material on this topic.

  126. Radical Rodent says:
    January 21, 2013 at 5:40 am

    My understanding is that eucalyptus forests require fire for propagation. Which would explain what could be seen during the TV interview of that family photographed sheltering under a wooden jetty. In the background, there did not appear to be the devastation one would have expected after such a fire. I suspect that might be why only a glimpse could be seen – had there been blackened stumps, I have little doubt the cameras would have lingered over the sight.

    The cameras did linger over both the fires and the devastation.

    Yes, there is a close relationship between the life cycle of most of the hundreds of ecualypt species and different fire regimes.

    The fire that you referred to burned through a mixture of farmland, settled areas, production forests and national parks. It burned thousands of hectares, and forced thousands of people to flee, so there was plenty of devastation for the cameras to linger over, as you put it.

    The fire was in the context of Hobart’s hottest recorded maximum temperature.

  127. CodeTech says:
    January 21, 2013 at 5:21 am

    Climate Ace assures us that Australians are allowed to clear brush. Others say, NOT TRUE.

    I have several online friends in Australia who tell me Climate Ace doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. I see links here and at other places that indicate that Climate Ace is clueless in this.

    What to believe/

    The answer is not straightforward. It is incorrect to state that farmers can never create firebreaks on their properties, can never do control burns on their property or can never reduce vegetation on their property by grazing or slashing as Forbes implied.

    For example, the farmers in the recent Tarcutta, Bookham and Booroowa fires live in areas that are up to 97% cleared. They have largely introduced pastures or broad acre crops across thousands of hectares.

    My point was intended to demontrate that even where they can do so legally, farmers very often do not undertake fire suppression actions; further, that this renders them vulnerable to litigation on the grounds of negligence, should fires leave their properties and enter other properties.

    It is also true that there is state and territory legislation in place which prevents clearing activities in most, if not all states, where there is remnant native vegetation. Given that most farmland has been cleared or ploughed already, the proportion of land directly subject to these controls is a very small proportion of the overall land.

    So, you see, it is more about a noisy minority making as much noise as possible than it is about taking a balanced look at competing values.

    In relation to the Kyoto protocol that someone upstring mentioned, the conservative coalition government of Howard and Costello worked a series of federal/state agreements to control clearing of forests as part of reaching Australia’s commitments under Kyoto. The current government has maintained this stance and the Opposition conservative government has not included relaxation of these clearing controls in its plan to spend $10 billion of taxpayers’ funds to reduce Australia’s CO2 emissions by 5% by 2020 or indeed, its plans to increase its RET by a considerable percentage.

  128. Be nice, Ace. I guess I really should be more skeptical. I’ll start with your motor car ride. I won’t call you discredited – you’ll notice I don’t say harsh things about you – I’ll just put you on a list of people not to be credited. Once we get your mileage confirmed and your observations peer reviewed, we might get you off the list. Fair? Skeptical? (Oh, and Ace…no need to quote me at length. I know what I’ve written. Those long quotes can look like thread hijacking, and we don’t want that.)

    Hey, what about the Big Chill and Snowpocalypse in that other hemisphere, Ace? Those are some factoids! It doesn’t require the intelligence of an Adam Smith to know there’s something going on up there that’s not warming in the unrevised sense of the word (though I haven’t checked the Macquarie for any new definitions by Sue Butler today). I’m sure the New York Times and The Guardian have managed to attribute it all to this AGW thing…but they would say that, wouldn’t they?

    Anyway, Ace, we seem to both appreciate roads and hospitals and air traffic control and stuff. Man, with cheap abundant energy from flash new coal power generation we could really lay on some infrastructure and do some serious conservation. There are wild dogs and cats doing murder and extinction in the forest back of my place right now. Can’t blame local forestry people for that. There’s never the dough and resources. Never. Bring on that cheap abundant power, for industry, for commerce, for everybody!

    But I’m biased. I love Australian coal. To me, it’s chocolate sunshine, Ace!

  129. Many are furiously debating Climate Ace in here, when he is in fact in general agreement with Viv Forbes and seems to have a fairly practical approach to the matter. His knowledge and research are good.

    In short, it is probably simply his ‘everyone except me is an idiot’ approach here that has everyone busy debating him. For instance, while it is technically correct to state that reducing fuel load is NOT the only way to reduce fire risk (though I think it is a critically important one) the quote below uses (IMHO) unnecessarily inflammatory language to make a point.

    Climate Ace says: January 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    “…The statement by Forbes that reducing fuel is the only way to reduce fire damage is gross stupidity. I do hope that individual home owners don’t listen to it, because it is bad advice that could cost them their homes. I assume that, legally, it is OK for WUWT to publish this sort of rubbish in the public interest…..”

    What he detailed in his first post was quite logical once you go past the opening paragraph. He makes a good point debating where fires may have started, and whether or not national parks are really to blame for all. Note he does encourage fuel reduction burns in the parks.

    I believe the problem is that where once farmers would fairly routinely burn back from firebreaks, under conditions of modern bureaucracy and litigation that has become more and more difficult to do. Mind you some of that back burning by farmers was into parks and forestry, and that is clearly a matter which should be strictly controlled (but NOT made impossible!). And we should note that fires have always occurred, and WILL still occur, all we are talking about is containing their spread.

    Climate Ace says: January 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm
    “….National parks are, quite simply, about our values: do we value Australian plants and animal species enough to protect them? Or are we relaxed about more extinctions?
    There are many, many things that can be done to protect both the animals and plants in national parks and the neighbours of national parks.
    Rather than simply blame national parks and governments for what is often personal negligence we should take a much more systematic approach:
    (1) we should ban people from building homes among eucalyptus gas bombs – for their safety and for our insurance premiums.
    (2) we should encourage fuel reduction burns consistent with maintaining the suite of plants and animals in national parks – bearing in mind that many plants and animals have quite specific fire regime requirements.
    (3) where farmers abut parks, the government should assist farmers with active and passive fire measures. This is in the interests of farmers and of national parks – I imagine that more fires start on private property than in national parks and it is the latter which need to be protected from farmers more often than the other way around
    (4) the introduction of mandatory active and passive fire proofing of new houses…..”

    In his last post he re-iterates logical points on firefighting, and furthermore rebuts Lazy’s throwaway (as usual) comment on Kyoto.

    LazyTeenager says: January 21, 2013 at 3:08 am
    C’mon Viv cough up with the area of land set aside for Kyoto.

    Climate Ace says: January 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    In relation to the Kyoto protocol that someone upstring mentioned, the conservative coalition government of Howard and Costello worked a series of federal/state agreements to control clearing of forests as part of reaching Australia’s commitments under Kyoto. The current government has maintained this stance and the Opposition conservative government has not included relaxation of these clearing controls in its plan to spend $10 billion of taxpayers’ funds to reduce Australia’s CO2 emissions by 5% by 2020 or indeed, its plans to increase its RET by a considerable percentage.

    …. The answer is not straightforward. It is incorrect to state that farmers can never create firebreaks on their properties, can never do control burns on their property or can never reduce vegetation on their property by grazing or slashing as Forbes implied….

  130. mosomoso says:
    January 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Be nice, Ace.

    I try, but I am snowed under by the balance of rude posters who think it is perfectly OK for them to get nasty, vicious and mean on a personal basis. An occasional return shot clears the tubes nicely.

    I guess I really should be more skeptical. I’ll start with your motor car ride. I won’t call you discredited – you’ll notice I don’t say harsh things about you – I’ll just put you on a list of people not to be credited. Once we get your mileage confirmed and your observations peer reviewed, we might get you off the list. Fair? Skeptical? (Oh, and Ace…no need to quote me at length. I know what I’ve written. Those long quotes can look like thread hijacking, and we don’t want that.)

    You know what you have written but others might have forgotten. So I like the readers to see exactly what I am responding to. As for thread hijacking, trolling and the rest, that is up to the moderator.

    I am happy for you to forget about the motor car, it was indicative and personal so not very statistical. I suggest you track down what happened in the Bookham, Tarcutta and Booroowa fires instead. When doing so, I would like you to keep in mind that it my points about those three fires were not statistical but indicative of the options open to the farmers.

    Hey, what about the Big Chill and Snowpocalypse in that other hemisphere, Ace?

    I was talking to some northern hemisphere rellies about it just the other night. They were very happy because they were able to get some excellent skating in. They are looking forward to CAGC (Catostrophic Anthropogenic Global Cooling).

    Those are some factoids!

    Your term. I understand that the tempertures have been very cold and that a large amount of snow has fallen over very wide areas.

    It doesn’t require the intelligence of an Adam Smith to know there’s something going on up there that’s not warming in the unrevised sense of the word (though I haven’t checked the Macquarie for any new definitions by Sue Butler today). I’m sure the New York Times and The Guardian have managed to attribute it all to this AGW thing…but they would say that, wouldn’t they?

    Adam who? Climate scientist was he?

    The numbers that count are: collapse in summer sea ice extent in the Arctic, the ratio of hot temperature records to cold temperature records, gain in heat by the oceans, loss of global ice mass balance by glaciers. I would be very, very happy if that lot stabilized or even reversed itself for a couple of decades. I would be able to go back to the other issues that concern me and forget about AGW. It would be wonderful.

    Anyway, Ace, we seem to both appreciate roads and hospitals and air traffic control and stuff.

    Excellent. You might mention that to the whingers on WUWT who whine about governments and whine about having to pay tax while still sucking up all the wonderful things that governments provide.

    Man, with cheap abundant energy from flash new coal power generation we could really lay on some infrastructure and do some serious conservation.

    Talking about serious conservation, we have never, ever burned more fossil fuel in Australia. With all this BAU going on why are we getting more and more species added to the endangered list? According to your construction, it should all be getting better.

    There are wild dogs and cats doing murder and extinction in the forest back of my place right now.

    I know, I know. In relation to foxes, there was a proposal floating around CSIRO to do some very fancy recombinant gene technology involve the splicing of a virus gene onto a reproductive protein. The idea was that the immune response to the virus would cause the fox to render itself infertile. The technology was there. It is there for cats as well. Imagine a catless Australia! One of the prime extinction drivers gone! Vaccinations available for pets.

    Uh, uh.

    Can’t blame local forestry people for that. There’s never the dough and resources.

    I agree that there is an issue of priorities. I suggest we stop all funding for elite sports such as the olympics (who cares about nanoseconds in the pool?) and transport it forwith to the forest managers. I forget how many tens of millions of dollars we pay per gold medal but, IMHO, it is a scandal.

    Never. Bring on that cheap abundant power, for industry, for commerce, for everybody!

    See above. The more the world economy has grown on the back of cheap energy, the more species have gone extinct and the more are added to the endangered lists. Something does not gell with your argument.

    But I’m biased.

    I accept that your values are not the same as mine. It makes your values neither better nor worse. They just are.

    I love Australian coal.

    No doubt you would have been devastated by Abbott’s prediction of the death of the coal industry. Just as well he was lying.

  131. Speaking of false factoids, Ace says:

    “The more the world economy has grown on the back of cheap energy, the more species have gone extinct and the more are added to the endangered lists.”

    Now you’re just being ridiculous.

  132. RCourtney stated:

    That imaginary state is an ‘ideal’ and if its attainment kills people then – according to their philosophy – that is a small price to pay.

    Bau boosting bulldust of the most egregious kind.

    More people were killed in Australian bushfires before conservationists even existed, before national parks existed other than as isolated oddities, and when there were no vegetation-clearing controls. No one had heard of Kyoto. In short, it was all BAU a-Go Go.

    Greater areas of bush were burned in single fires and greater numbers of stock were killed in those fires.

    There are lots of variables involved so it is a bit more complex than you vicious (kills people) pseudo-philosphical posturing suggests.

    We have the technology to stop all bushfire deaths now. It is a matter of the will and the resources. We are an incredibly wealthy country so the resources are available.

  133. D. B. Stealey says:
    January 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Speaking of false factoids, Ace says:

    “The more the world economy has grown on the back of cheap energy, the more species have gone extinct and the more are added to the endangered lists.”

    Now you’re just being ridiculous.

    Really? All the lists I know about are growing. Perhaps you have access to some that show endangered species are declining in numbers?

  134. Climate Ace says: January 21, 2013 at 7:21 p

    We have the technology to stop all bushfire deaths now.
    ==========================
    The first step is cure warming on the brain.

  135. Let me point out to Ace that BAU [“Business As Usual”] defines the catastrophic AGW narrative. Society seems intent on following that particular business as usual — instead of asking why there is no empirical evidence supporting AGW.

    Let me be clear to Ace: there is no testable, falsifiable scientific evidence measuring AGW. None. To be sure, AGW [but not CAGW] may exist. But if so, it is so minuscule that it should be completely disregarded.

    Where does that lack of scientific evidence leave Ace? His arguments are pointless if the rise in CO2 is not a problem. And in fact, CO2 is not a problem. That is what Planet Earth is clearly telling us. Anything claimed to the contrary is simply an evidence-free scare tactic.

    Time to jettison the alarmists’ BAU, and accept the obvious fact that more CO2 is beneficial. It causes no global harm, therefore it is “harmless” — QED. More CO2 is better. That is factual, based upon the scientific method. So forget the old and busted BAU that “carbon” is a problem. That was never the truth.

    Finally, regarding those endangered species lists, they are all highly questionable. Remember the Snail Darter? Remember the Spotted Owl? Remember the “endangered” Polar bears? Those lists are all constructed by folks with an agenda. Only a fool would trust any of them.

  136. markx, I cannot fathom how you believe that the Concern Troll’s posts are factual.

    He claims that recent bushfires in Australia have something to do with CAGW.

    He claims that gullies in the Great Dividing range are both artificially created and a boon to firefighters.

    He refuses to admit that the real issue about the near-destruction of the telescope at Siding Spring is the ideology that ‘every tree is sacred.’

    He deprecates the notion that inner-city vote-seeking politicians created national parks willy-nilly, with negative environmental consequences.

    In other threads, he gloatingly enumerated the number of homes burned, while telling us that it was due to CAGW, while people’s houses were still smouldering.

    I could go on, but he has already bored the pants off people in this discussion with his thread-bombing, deceptive rhetoric.

    As a taxpayer, if I ever find out that he is doing it on my dime, I’ll pursue this smarmy dissembler to the ends of the earth.

  137. Climate Ace says: January 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm The more the world economy has grown on the back of cheap energy, the more species have gone extinct and the more are added to the endangered lists.
    …….
    All the lists I know about are growing. Perhaps you have access to some that show endangered species are declining in numbers?

    Correlation does not imply causation, Ace.

    But you know that.

  138. Ace, I wasn’t implying that burning coal would directly affect vermin or extinction of species, one way or another. I was talking about generating the money and wealth which enable one to do stuff. Good stuff or bad stuff. I vote for good stuff, like conservation, and pensioners running the heating all through winter. Subtle, eh? But not too subtle, I think.

    Up here we’d settle for enough funds to slash the road verges. Maintenance of our forest and adjoining Bob Carr NP are just a dream. It’s not so much the fires in these last five years of cooler and moister weather, it’s koalas, above all, and little marsupials, reptiles and birds we’re not aware of. Kookas and goannas swarm, swamp wallabies can get away; but other species don’t make it. The killing never stops. The dog and cat thing is going to be a huge undertaking. Of course, when the fires come back, there’ll be that problem. We need seriously big money for conservation. Giving money to GIM and Goldman Sachs is only going to drive up the price of Chateau Petrus.

    Ace, why would we waste coal burning it in old clunkers? We need to make like Major Renault in Casablanca, and be shocked, absolutely shocked, that coal is being wasted in this fashion. We must insist that new facilities which are up to 30% more efficient begin construction at once. We must use the billions earmarked for emissions reduction – at once! We are shocked, absolutely shocked…but you probably know how the spin goes, Ace.

    Now, Ace, I prefer the cool myself, but the rise in temps and sea levels (especially) which began in the 19th century went through a blip in the 1970s after some radical Arctic cooling in the 1960s – and people just complained. You can’t win. Lamb and the CRU saw some bad cooling coming, till the worst heatwave anyone could remember hit England in 1976. After that, they changed their minds, er, I mean they adjusted…well, you know what I mean.

    Coal power to the people! Martin Ferguson to the UN! John McTernan for Australia’s coal ambassador! Quote me!

  139. DBStealey

    mosomoso’s proposition was that cheap energy leads to the possibility to spend money on conservation and, hence, the prevention of extinctions.

    My proposition was that never has the world burned more cheap energy and never have there been more extinctions and endangered species.

    Your response was to mention three species out of the thousands of species on various lists around the world. Here is a list from Australia for starters.

    Let’s see if you can resurrect the following using cheap energy: King Island Emu, Kangaroo Island Emu, Big-eared Hopping Mouse, Darling Downs Hopping Mouse, White-footed Rabbit-rat, Broad-faced Potoroo, Eastern Hare-wallaby, Short-tailed Hopping Mouse, Long-tailed Hopping Mouse, Christmas Island Rat, Rattus macleari, Christmas Island Rat, Rattus nativitatusi, Crescent Nailtail Wallaby, Tasman Starling, Paradise Parrot, Robust White-eye, Lesser Bilby, Toolache Wallaby, Thylacine, Lesser Stick-nest Rat, Central Hare-wallaby, Desert Rat-kangaroo, Pig-footed Bandicoot.

  140. Geee, I wonder what actual Greens policy is:

    http://nsw.greens.org.au/policies/bushfires

    The Greens believe that living with bushfire threat requires a coordinated approach that includes:
    planning of housing sites to avoid development in risk prone areas;
    strategically planned hazard reduction, including controlled burning, where and when climatic conditions allow it to be done safely and where it is consistent with maintaining the ecosystem;
    education and community awareness programs to reduce the incidence of arson; and
    a well funded and managed fire fighting service which can protect human life and homes and contain the spread of fires.

    Why are we blaming the Greens for things that they’re actively campaigning against? I’m pretty sure the Greens are all about increasing funding to services, including to fire brigades dealing with the bushfires (HINT: Conservative governments are currently cutting the fire brigade & related services of funding http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/19/bush-j19.html).

    Plus the Greens aren’t even in power, how can they be blamed for all the above stuff. Seriously, some of you are nuts.

  141. johanna says:

    He claims that recent bushfires in Australia have something to do with CAGW.

    You have just experienced Canberra’s hottest start to January on record.

    He claims that gullies in the Great Dividing range are both artificially created and a boon to firefighters.

    Do try and keep up. I noted that natural gullies in the forested parts of the Range are bad for fire fighting. I also noted that erosion gullies in deforested parts of the range are handy for firefighting because they are de facto fire breaks. Some of them are much wider in places than artificial fire breaks graded or bulldozed by fire services for the purposes of back burning.

    He refuses to admit that the real issue about the near-destruction of the telescope at Siding Spring is the ideology that ‘every tree is sacred.’

    The real issues are these: there was a lack of point active and passive fire defence systems at Siding Springs. In fact, I have just had a look at the Google Earth sat version of Siding Springs. Anyone who sited a valuable observatory on top of a steep hillside completely covered with eucalypt trees up to the very edge of telescopes was perhaps, IMHO, a tad negligent.

    If horrendous fire risk was an issue, which, obviously it was from the get-go, they should have sited the Observatory elsewhere, not in the middle of a eucalypt forest gas bomb.

    He deprecates the notion that inner-city vote-seeking politicians created national parks willy-nilly, with negative environmental consequences.

    Governments of all stripes, including notably the last eleven years of Howard/Costello governments (which included the National Party which purports to represents rural folk) have actively created national parks as part of an effort to stop Australia’s hideous rate of animal and plant extinctions.

    In other threads, he gloatingly enumerated the number of homes burned, while telling us that it was due to CAGW, while people’s houses were still smouldering.

    If you want to ignore the link between record temperatures and wildfire behaviour, go ahead and keep your head in the sand. If you want to pull the wool over people’s eyes about the increasing risks they face with increases in record temperatures, go ahead. If you want to divert attention away from record temperatures and bushfires by talking about so-called ‘sacred trees’ go ahead. But don’t expect me to go along with your attempts at red herrings.

    The fact is that lives, houses, farms, stocks, sheds, fences, crops, machinery, business, public utilities, and production forests have been destroyed. This will affect our insurance premiums, rates and utility costs. It will feed through the costs of risk capital, including the costs to farmers, and through them to the costs of your food and clothing.

    You wanted to hear only one side of the conversation – the one which started this thread – even while the smoke was still rising, the fires were still going. It was OK to talk about your issues while the smoke was still in the air and the embers were still glowing. So you tried for a spot of self-righteous, censorious, censorship.

    As a taxpayer, if I ever find out that he is doing it on my dime, I’ll pursue this smarmy dissembler to the ends of the earth.

    You appear to remain completely unaware of the complete and utter hypocrisy of your smarmy, dissembling, position.

    How about I keep paying my taxes while you keep paying your’s? Fair is only fair.

  142. Ah Climate Ace I see you (from what you don’t choose to say) ARE a “sucker on the taxpayers teat”, a spin doctor paid to disrupt, spread climate propaganda and no sense of humour in working with ordinary Australian people, a “supperior” (note the spelling!) for the long suppers, classic red or chardonnay set? Sit in front of a mirror while you spout grub, paid parasite! and thread bomber!! it kind of suits you, don’t you think?.
    Centerlink! where did you pull that from, the left wing grab book of petty insults, your kind are too clever and smart toline up at Centerlink with the ordinary folk, as we can see from your prattle.
    I guess you are earning your spin money, and it doesn’t matter who is in political power you will adapt and follow the gravy train. Good luck, but our country deserves better.

  143. mosomos

    They were so happy! They had a chance to brew traditional brews, rug up, get the kids out on the ice and have traditional fun.

    Good on them, IMHO.

    The downside was that that Australian netball team had difficulty getting somewhere in England because of all the snow and the buses stopped running in Paris altogether.

    Winners and losers; life never changes.

  144. Oh, Ace, I know the feeling. England has its record cold December in 2010, Russia thinks its tough because its 2012 December was its coldest in at least 75 years. They don’t understand it’s just weather! Why not make traditional brews and have fun? Netball delayed? Time for gluhwein!

    On the other hand, this from the Ace:
    “‘He claims that recent bushfires in Australia have something to do with CAGW.’
    You have just experienced Canberra’s hottest start to January on record.”
    Climate, right?

    One’s weather, the other’s climate. But they just don’t get it, Ace! They still think this was climate:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/comment.html?entrynum=62

    It was weather, just weather! Traditional brew time, guys. The Ace will let you know when it’s climate. Chill! Or don’t chill…or…you know what he means!

  145. Geoff says: January 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Geee, I wonder what actual Greens policy is:
    ====================================
    Excellent question.

    from your first link:

    “Global warming will inevitably increase both the severity and frequency of bushfires in NSW.”
    Actual Greens policy? To propagandize.

    Your second link is even more interesting- and telling: The World Socialist Website, published by the International Committee of the Fourth International.

    What are those lights and buzzers? — From Wikipedia:

    The Fourth International (FI) (founded in 1938) is the communist international organisation consisting of followers of Leon Trotsky (Trotskyists), with the declared dedicated goal of helping the working class bring about socialism

    The question bears repeating: Geee, I wonder what actual Greens policy is

  146. On topic.

    The Age 7:47PM Tuesday Jan 22, 2013

    Lightning sparks nine new fires ahead of temperature spike
    Date January 22, 2013 – 9:20AM
    Jared Lynch

    Firefighters waterbomb the blaze near Seaton last week. Fresh fires are burning after lightning strikes – and the temperature is about to rise sharply.

    Firefighters waterbomb the blaze near Seaton last week. Fresh fires are burning after lightning strikes – and the temperature is about to rise sharply. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

    Lightning strikes have sparked nine fires in Victoria’s east, about 280 kilometres from where the Aberfeldy inferno continues to raze bushland.

    The new fires ignited in a state forest, about 13 kilometres east of Orbost on Monday night. A spokeswoman for the State Control Centre said the nine fires were all small and would not hinder the firefighting effort in the Aberfeldy blaze, which has grown to more than 60,000 hectares.

  147. KenB says:
    January 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Ah Climate Ace I see you (from what you don’t choose to say) ARE a “sucker on the taxpayers teat”, a spin doctor paid to disrupt, spread climate propaganda and no sense of humour in working with ordinary Australian people, a “supperior” (note the spelling!) for the long suppers, classic red or chardonnay set? Sit in front of a mirror while you spout grub, paid parasite! and thread bomber!! it kind of suits you, don’t you think?.
    Centerlink! where did you pull that from, the left wing grab book of petty insults, your kind are too clever and smart toline up at Centerlink with the ordinary folk, as we can see from your prattle.
    I guess you are earning your spin money, and it doesn’t matter who is in political power you will adapt and follow the gravy train. Good luck, but our country deserves better.

    If all you can do to WUWT is to bring ill-informed, stupid, incorrect, vicious, vacuous, whinging, victimish, whining, criticism, I suggest you go to a blog where they appreciate that sort of stuff, not WUWT, where we discuss the substance of important issues.

  148. Quite a few posters have written about they think Greens policies might be or must be. Most of the commentary is very, very ill-informed. I have actually spent some time going through the Greens Policy Platform. While not exactly a laugh a minute, some of it is very, very funny.

    The reality is far worse, IMHO, than what anyone on WUWT has been able to put together. If you really want a laugh, have a look at the following website:

    http://greens.org.au/policies

  149. mosomoso says:
    January 21, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Oh, Ace, I know the feeling. England has its record cold December in 2010, Russia thinks its tough because its 2012 December was its coldest in at least 75 years. They don’t understand it’s just weather! Why not make traditional brews and have fun? Netball delayed? Time for gluhwein!

    I notice that you are maintaining your consistent and complete silence on the ratio of record hots to record colds.

    On the other hand, this from the Ace:
    “‘He claims that recent bushfires in Australia have something to do with CAGW.’

    Um, that was someone else who has a fetish about CAGW, whatever that is. I was quite specific, and I do hope I have been quite specific consistently. I have said that we have had record hot temperatures and that there is a direct relationship between fire behaviour and temperatures. That is not, I believe, rocket science.

    You have just experienced Canberra’s hottest start to January on record.”
    Climate, right?

    One’s weather, the other’s climate. But they just don’t get it, Ace! They still think this was climate:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/comment.html?entrynum=62

    It was weather, just weather! Traditional brew time, guys. The Ace will let you know when it’s climate. Chill! Or don’t chill…or…you know what he means!

    The factoid about Canberra experiencing its hottest start to January every came from Fox news and the Fox Weather Channel. They may have been checking the gauges in their cars. Who knows how they figured that one out? Still, they must have had their reasons. Maybe the bats fell out of the Canberra sky or something.

    I try to avoid the use of the terms ‘weather’ and ‘climate’ because, like using the term ‘acidification’, it tends to throw the locals into apoplectic, apocalyptic and thoroughly useless frenzies.

  150. Regarding: Australia’s Alien Environment Fuels Firestorms
    JIM66 says:
    The post by Viv Forbes of Rosewood, Queensland repeats information that is regarded as ‘common knowledge’ in farming communities in Eastern Australia. There are some grains of truth in what she says.
    But, as with many weather related happenings, the true explanation is much more complex.
    The events of Black Thursday, the 6th of February 1851 remind us that horrific bushfires were a feature of Australia well before Greenies and National Parks came along. The geographic spread and inflicted damage of this 4 day fire are succinctly described as follows:
    “After five weeks of hot northerly winds, on the 6th of February,1851 known as Black Thursday, probably Victoria’s most extensive bushfires, apparently started in the Plenty Ranges when two bullock drivers left some logs burning which set fire to long, drought-parched grass. 

From an early hour in the morning a hot wind blew from the NNW, accompanied by 47C temperatures in Melbourne. 

    There was extensive damage in Victoria’s Port Phillip district. Huge areas of southern and NE Vic were burnt out. 
Fires burnt from Mt Gambier in South Australia to Portland in Victoria as well as the Wimmera in the north and central and southern areas including Semour (sic), the Plenty Ranges and much of Gippsland , Westernport, Geelong, Heidelberg and east to Diamond Creek and Dandenong where a number of settlements were destroyed. 


    There were 1.5m ha of forest burnt out plus vast areas of scrub and grasslands (total land burnt – approx 5m ha [DNRE,Vic]). Farmers at Barrabool Hills were burnt out or ruined; three men perished at Mt Macedon and wholesale destruction of the Dandenong districts was accompanied by similar widespread razings from Gippsland to the Murray (River). Other scorched areas included Omeo, Mansfield, Dromana, Yarra Glen, Warburton and Erica.”
    [Source: Emergency Management Australia]
    We await a detailed post mortem of the fire events which occurred at many locations in Southern Australia during December 2012/January 2013. Amongst the factors which may be found to be significant are:
    1. La Nina conditions were evident during 2010, 2011 and early 2012. Thus Australia experienced substantially above average rainfall during 2011 and in early 2012.
    2. The resulting soil moisture conditions were ideal for the production of vegetation which when mature became bushfire fuel.
    3. Bushfire Authorities did conduct fuel reduction burns, presumably with ‘average’ summer conditions in mind rather than the ‘heat wave conditions’ (MSM term) which actually occurred. In general the state fire authorities conduct controlled burning on private property and property controlled by local authorities. Fuel in National Parks, State forests and State reserves is controlled by those entities. The fuel in those areas was in excess of ‘safe’ levels. It always is.
    4. Northern Australia weather is characterised by a wet season and a dry season. The wet occurs when the monsoon rains fall, usually from September to February. In 2013 the monsoon was late and still had not arrived by Mid January.
    5. The failed monsoon caused the build up of heated air over a large area of central and northern Australia. During the first two weeks of January 2013, over 70 per cent of the Australian continent recorded temperatures in excess of 42°C (106.7 F). From time to time hot air was funneled south by weather lows causing bushfire conditions. Western and South Western Tasmania were hard hit around Christmas time. Many locations in New South Wales suffered just after Christmas. South Australia was similarly affected. The situation was not helped by slow moving weather systems across the continent.
    6. Bureau of Meteorology scientists have summarised the story to date at:

    file:///Users/admin/Desktop/13.01.BOM%20Comments%20on%20Warming.webarchive

    The Sidings Springs Observatory, mentioned in the posts, is located in the (NSW State) Warrumbungle National Park. No major damage was caused to the two telescopes at the Observatory and once a destroyed power line is replaced the facility will start up again.
    Summary: Victoria has been at risk from severe bushfires since at least 1851. The root cause is a build up of hot air in Central Australia which causes the seasonal summer winds blowing into Victoria to be hot and dry.
    In 2012/2013 two powerful weather events combined to make this natural mechanism much more dangerous – a powerful La Nina followed by a failed Australian monsoon.
    The recognition of this underlying cause and the surrounding weather complexities ought to be built into all government policy/planning at the Federal and State levels. Australian volunteer firefighters are brave men and women but we ought not just rely on them – the last resort – to protect life and property. (Perhaps the small army of Australian climate bureaucrats who are valiantly trying to find some of Trenberth’s missing heat could be directed into some bushfire planning!).
    The Global Future: My own perspective for the global future is that the concentration of atmospheric CO2 will continue to have little or nothing to do with the variability of global temperature. It is likely that the current global temperature pause will continue for at least a decade under the influence of various ocean oscillations. What then follows is probably in the lap of the Sun god. If Solar Cycle 24 is a wimp and Solar Cycle 25 is a bigger wimp or does not appear at all, then we in the hot countries will be welcoming many immigrants from the cooling countries.
    (I console myself with the thoughts that I won’t be around by then and that the Australian aborigines have been here for about 40,000 years which takes in quite a lot of Northern Hemisphere cold history which they survived. So it seems Australia is a lucky country.)

    • Thanks JIm for a sensible comment.
      It is not just national parks that have increased our fire risk. It is the changed fire regime since Europeans came. That has been made worse in recent decades by increased public reserves, more hobby farms and more “Green” laws banning tree clearing on private land, but it has occurred on both public and private land.

      Aborigines did not do a risk assessment to carefully decide when, what and if to burn – they burned continuously, and the load of flammable vegetation was generally removed before it became dangerous..

      In 1851, Europeans had been settling Victoria for 20 years and NSW for 70 years. I am not sure when widespread aboriginal burning stopped in Victoria, but as the main reason for it was to keep their fire sticks alight (particularly in winter when the grass is often dry), that practice would stop as soon as they got European matches.

      Early settlers would also have discouraged aboriginal burning. Unlike Aborigines, they had crops, haystacks, permanent flammable huts and domestic animals to worry about.

      So a big fire in 1851 does not disprove the main thesis on the cause of the increased risk of fierce fires. That long dry droughted grass of February 1851 would probably have been burnt safely by Aborigines way back in July-September 1850 before temperatures and hot winds became extreme.

      Of course there will be years when a very wet summer, follow by a very dry winter and spring and then a hot dry summer will set up conditions for extreme fire risk which can occur anywhere. But “Aboriginal” fire practices would always have reduced them.

      I agree that man-made carbon dioxide is a bit player in all this. It will encourage plant growth and allow plants to better withstand drought. That’s all. Temperature and rainfall are controlled by the sun, not by man.

      Viv Forbes

  151. markyx

    Thanks for that update on Orbost. For those who might not know, in Victoria ‘state forest’ usually means ‘production forest’ and not ‘national park’.

    In practical terms the same government organisation in Victoria manages both production forests and national parks.

    I hope they get the fires out asap and wish the firies well.

  152. Hey, Ace, once again I point out that I believe in global warming (not blaming Napoleon or Jane Austen here!) and I’m not at all surprised if there are more heat records than cold records being set. Just in case you missed me saying it previously. But maybe my failure to repeat it daily constitutes “consistent and complete silence”. Oh well, at least it wasn’t “misogyny”.

    Who’s challenging whether January had its hottest start on record somewhere or other? Argue with Fox? Moi? Hard to miss all that heat this summer, though no records up this way. Still, they’ll come. Last summer was freakishly cool, so we’re due, I guess.

    By the way, I hope your rellies – if they’re in Britain – stayed nice and toasty during the December and January of 2009-2010. We sometimes forget that one. I’m told it was the coldest Dec-Jan on record (logging started in 1910), and the coldest winter all up for Northern Scotland. What’s happening in that melty hemisphere? The rest of Europe also sucked in the first two months of that winter. Really, what’s with these northern winters since ’09?

    I do hope you’re rellies were spinning the old 75s of White Christmas while staying by the fire and sipping trad brews in that December. They’d be so happy.

    Ace, if you don’t like my comments, you can always shred them into quotes with lots of your own stuff between. Any old stuffing will do.

    Be cool, Ace.

  153. Jim

    I would add the note that many areas of south-eastern Australia had very low stocking rates by the end of the drought that preceded the the two la ninas. The result was that grazing pressure in farmland was not enough to keep pastures down and it was a common sight to see stock up to their bellies in very long grass. Hay was practically unsaleable.

    In some areas the balance has altered the other way, with the stocking rates now so high that there are forced sales with cattle prices dropping substantially, for example, in the recent Yea sales. This appears to be occuring in areas where they have had very low spring and summer rains.

    What is interesting is that at least some of the stock purchased at Yea is being trucked north to the Queanbeyan area – that is to say, there must still be pastures with a capacity for additional stock.

    At any rate, in terms of bushfires or grassfires, I have seen situations where it is so hot, dry, windy and so lacking in humidity that almost bare paddocks burn with tremendous speed and heat and it looks like the fire is burning with only air for fuel.

    We have a fair way to go before we get our heads around just what we face in terms of bushfires.

  154. Kim Hutchinson, you say: ‘The Global Future: My own perspective for the global future is that the concentration of atmospheric CO2 will continue to have little or nothing to do with the variability of global temperature. ‘

    What I don’t understand is how you come to this position, when it is a a fact that it is a greenhouse gas. Have you found a new law of physics? Well congratulations if you have, then a [noble Nobel . . mod] prize awaits you.

  155. Climate Ace says:
    January 22, 2013 at 3:03 am (Edit)

    ———————————————————————-

    I am unclear as to what the point of your post is. You make reference to previous hot and dry periods that had bushfires. Are the current bushfires worse than those of the past and if so how would you know? Is a fire in a peak temperature of 46.1 worse than one in a temperature of 46.0?

    Are fires that follow a previous good rainy season better or worse than otherwise might be the case? We know that good rains result in thicker bush so would alternating wet and dry rainy seasons result in worse bushfires and if it did would that indicate anthropogenic climate change?

    Can bushfires be a metric of climate change and if so how? I have the opinion that bushfires have been folded into the climate change story for purely propaganda purposes what say you?

  156. Climate Ace:

    At January 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm you assert

    The numbers that count are: collapse in summer sea ice extent in the Arctic, the ratio of hot temperature records to cold temperature records, gain in heat by the oceans, loss of global ice mass balance by glaciers. I would be very, very happy if that lot stabilized or even reversed itself for a couple of decades. I would be able to go back to the other issues that concern me and forget about AGW. It would be wonderful.

    Really? Those are the “numbers that count”? Why: because you say so?

    Summer sea ice extent in the Arctic has reduced (n.b. NOT collapsed) recently. Why does that “count” when the increase to sea ice extent in the Antarctic doesn’t?

    The ratio of hot temperature records to cold temperature records is positive because we have been recovering from the LIA for centuries and the temperatures have been recorded for about a century. This warming from the LIA (which has stopped for the last 16+ years) means the Earth is warmer than it was for most of the recording period so more hot records than cold records are inevitable. Why is this statistical artifact of the recording period one of the “numbers that count”?

    I agree that “gain in heat by the oceans” is important and I note that the ARGO buoys show there is none. Why does that “count” and how?

    On average, glaciers have been losing ice since the end of the last glaciation 12 millennia ago. But the loss is not constant so some glaciers are gaining mass and others are losing mass. On balance most are losing mass at present so are retreating. Many (e.g. Alpine) retreating glaciers are exposing evidence of human activities which were not covered by the ice until ~1,000 years ago. So, why is loss of global ice mass balance by glaciers one of the “numbers that count”?

    Your assertions that I have quoted above in this post are – as I have explained – meaningless and valueless twaddle. Indeed, as such they are typical of all your posts. For example, your response to my explanation (at January 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm) in reply to a question from ikh.

    Your response (at January 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm) says

    RCourtney stated:

    That imaginary state is an ‘ideal’ and if its attainment kills people then – according to their philosophy – that is a small price to pay.

    Bau boosting bulldust of the most egregious kind.

    More people were killed in Australian bushfires before conservationists even existed, before national parks existed other than as isolated oddities, and when there were no vegetation-clearing controls. No one had heard of Kyoto. In short, it was all BAU a-Go Go.

    That response is ‘flaming’ of a most egregious kind.

    Firstly, it takes one sentence out of context and attacks that correct, true and accurate statement. But my answer was about the “philosophy” and, Climate Self-Assessment, a refutation of my answer – and/or the sentence you quoted – requires a refutation of my description of the philosophy.

    Then it attacks the sentence with misdirection and irrelevance.

    I stated the philosophy of ‘greens’. But I said nothing about “conservationists”. And ‘greens’ are often opposed by conservationists; e.g. on the use and siting of windfarms.

    I said nothing about historical death tolls from bush fires before modern emergency services and facilities existed. And the development of conservationists and national parks is also not relevant to the question from ikh and my answer to it.

    And, Climate Self-Assessment, the only possible reason for your mention of “Kyoto” is to introduce a ‘red herring’.

    Worst of all, Climate Self-Assessment, is your specious, hypocritical and egregious post at January 22, 2013 at 1:29 am which says

    If all you can do to WUWT is to bring ill-informed, stupid, incorrect, vicious, vacuous, whinging, victimish, whining, criticism, I suggest you go to a blog where they appreciate that sort of stuff, not WUWT, where we discuss the substance of important issues.

    YES! Climate Self-Assessment, to date and on several WUWT threads your posts have only consisted of ill-informed, stupid, incorrect, vicious, vacuous, whinging, victimish, whining, criticism. Stop it!

    Richard

  157. Moe:

    You pose a question in your post at January 22, 2013 at 3:04 am which says

    Kim Hutchinson, you say:

    ‘The Global Future: My own perspective for the global future is that the concentration of atmospheric CO2 will continue to have little or nothing to do with the variability of global temperature. ‘

    What I don’t understand is how you come to this position, when it is a a fact that it is a greenhouse gas. Have you found a new law of physics?

    Allow me to help your understanding because there is no need for a “new law of physics”.

    Before explaining the matter, I point out I remain to be convinced that human emissions are or are not the cause – in part or in whole – of the observed recent CO2 rise. However, the cause of a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is not relevant to the effect on global temperature of that rise.

    The issue is simple and can be summarised as follows.
    The feedbacks in the climate system are negative and, therefore, any effect of increased CO2 will be too small to discern. This concurs with the empirically determined values of low climate sensitivity obtained by Idso, by Lindzen&Choi, etc..

    In other words, the man-made global warming from man’s emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) would be much smaller than natural fluctuations in global temperature so it would be physically impossible to detect the man-made global warming.

    Of course, human activities have some effect on global temperature for several reasons. For example, cities are warmer than the land around them, so cities cause some warming. But the temperature rise from cities is too small to be detected when averaged over the entire surface of the planet, although this global warming from cities can be estimated by measuring the warming of all cities and their areas.

    Similarly, the global warming from man’s GHG emissions would be too small to be detected. Indeed, because climate sensitivity is less than 1 deg.C for a doubling of CO2 equivalent, it is physically impossible for the man-made global warming to be large enough to be detected. If something exists but is too small to be detected then it only has an abstract existence; it does not have a discernible existence that has effects (observation of the effects would be its detection).

    I hold this view because I am an empiricist so I accept whatever is indicated by data obtained from observation of the real world.

    Empirical – n.b. not model-derived – determinations indicate climate sensitivity is less than 1.0deg.C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 equivalent. This is indicated by the studies of Idso from surface measurements

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/Idso_CR_1998.pdf

    and Lindzen & Choi from ERBE satelite data

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf

    and Gregory from balloon radiosonde data

    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/OLR&NGF_June2011.pdf

    Climate sensitivity is less than 1.0 deg.C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration and, therefore, any effect on global temperature of increase to atmospheric CO2 concentration only has an abstract existence; it does not have a discernible existence that has observable effects.

    Richard

  158. Climate Ace,

    You’re arguing with everyone again.

    You write: “I have said that we have had record hot temperatures…”

    To which ‘record’ are you referring? Because the global ice core record goes back more than 700,000 years. And of course there are longer records. [Note that we are currently in a cool phase. The planet has been much warmer in the past.]

    BTW, and FYI: “CAGW” is the acronym for “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming”, something that exists only in the minds of scientific illiterates.

  159. DBStealey

    BTW, and FYI: “CAGW” is the acronym for “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming”, something that exists only in the minds of scientific illiterates.

    In that case I can see why only BAU boosters would use such a term.

  160. Keitho

    Can bushfires be a metric of climate change and if so how? I have the opinion that bushfires have been folded into the climate change story for purely propaganda purposes what say you?

    None of my points in relation to fire behaviour have been disputed by anyone on the string. There have been various attempts at verballing my position, red herrings, personal abuse, straw men and the like, combined with a lot of confusion.

    This string has moved right along but I described upstring the relationship between temperature and fire behaviour.

    The basic rule of thumb is that the hotter the ambient temperature, the more likely a successful ignition event. and the more likely a fire is to be more intense, fast and destructive.

    Australia has just had its hottest day on record and many localities have had their hottest days on record. The fires burned in the context of these records.

    Both of the last two paras are true. Propaganda is based on falsehoods, so, no, you have no need to be concerned about propaganda.

  161. Richard

    You have ignored the main points I have been making and gone on an extended and irrelevant rant about all sorts of things instead, including some of the usual personal abuse.

    I idon’t really care much about what distinctions you feel compelled to make between greenies and conservationists. Who cares? Not me. IMHO, it has nothing to do with bushfires. To repeat my points:

    (1) given that more people were killed by bushfires in Australia before the existence of either many national parks, clearing laws, or conservations, there is no necessary connection between the latter and the former. Your stated view that greenies kill people in bushfires in the search of some sort of impossible dream, (in your terms), is therefore not vindicated by the evidence.
    (2) given the available technologies there is no reason for anyone at all ever to die in Australian bushfire ever again. Niether does any house ever have to burn again. Neither does farm machinery or shedding ever have to burn again. Individuals need to take much more responsibility for themselves than they do. They need to invest in fire proofing houses. Farmers need to create fire breaks, conduct fuel reduction burns and slash rank vegetation to protect their neighbours.
    (3) costs of individual irresponsibility vis-a-vis fire damage flow through to the rest of us by way of increased rates, increased fire premiums, increased utility costs, increased costs of risk capital and increased costs of litigation.
    (4) ambient fire temperatures affect fire behaviour.
    (5) we have just had fires in the context of our highest recorded maxium temperatures at both the national and many local levels.

    I suggest that instead of ignoring my main points, you address them squarely instead of haring off on a tangent all the time.

  162. Climate Ace says: January 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    The fires burned in the context of these records.
    ==============================
    The fires burned within the context of politically inspired policies that plied up the tinder and created the conditions for the firestorms.

  163. Climate Ace:

    I have an imposed 24-hour time out and will reply to you if and when I am permitted.

    Richard

    REPLY: Climate Ace should take a 24 hour timeout too. His thread bombing is becoming tiresome. We all need a break – Anthony

  164. Well said Anthony, interesting tho and somewhat masked as a mutt and jeff routine, with a mix of propaganda, embrace the enemy “jingoistically”, identify as “we” to divide and wedge opponents common when an unco-ordinated social groundswell is gaining traction, and of course it is an election year in Australia.

    I am sure that Climate Ace along with your home grown variety of anti’s (whiteants?) will appear in many variations to try and nullify the good work that Watts Up With That is communicating to the world of science,and the ordinary but important man-in-the-street, things that some don’t want politically heard in places like Australia.

    Beware the false friends, they embrace you and loudly proclaim what they are not,, with one arm around your shoulders and weapon of harm in the other, even if it is only a propaganda manifesto.

    Keep up the good work we need WUWT!!

  165. @ Climate Ace

    “Excellent. You might mention that to the whingers on WUWT who whine about governments and whine about having to pay tax while still sucking up all the wonderful things that governments provide.”

    We don’t whine about paying taxes, we whine about the government wasting our taxes. Like the money thrown down the toilet of CAGW Research. Or the EPA, or ESA. Species come, species go….it’s evolution. Suck it up. If you have to depend on your government to protect you from fires, you are toast.

    PS: What’s a whinger?

  166. Has been a strange thread indeed.

    Viv was correct in what he said in the original article, but Cliamte Ace while repeating what Viv stated used denigrating and scornful language. In spite of the way it was phrased, Climate Ace IMHO was largely correct in the aspects of fire management he espoused, but I cannot understand his (or Barack Obama’s for that matter) premise that wildfire frequency and intensity may be some sort of a measure or indicator of CAGW.

    Influenced as it is by myriad factors I cannot for the life of me think of a worse possible metric.

  167. While it’s hard to imagine anybody arguing against the premise that these fires happened in a context of searing heat, that was stated as if it was somehow being contradicted. Who was contradicting? Who thought otherwise? Jim’s account agrees with what I’ve been told of southern regions: big growth from wet conditions, then failed or late monsoon with high summer heat.

    It’s not that clear cut, of course, for fire everywhere. America’s worst fire day and conditions were, as far as I know, in mid-autumn back in the 1870s. Something that may surprise o/s people (if you’re not in Oz, you’re o/s, okay?) is that here on the coastal fringe of northern NSW, the classical fire-season is late winter/early spring. Lots of autumn growth, dry and frosty winter conditions, strong westerlies with temp increase in August/September – and it can happen. Often, when breezes come in from the sea and storms begin in October, it is the end of the fire season till next winter. Of course, it’s never as neat and consistent as that, but if we have a classical pattern, that’s it. When you get those parching westerly winds in high summer, as can happen, it’s another story, and a really bad one.

    Thanks to actual climate change in 2007 – PDO or whatever it was – coastal winds have been far more dominant than in the previous cycle. Even this summer, with extreme drought and some westerly days, I’ve been more vigilant than fearful. My bamboo fizzled almost completely after five good seasons, but my woes are nothing compared those of people in the south of the continent and Tassie.

    Interesting: Last week there actually were numerous deaths of flying foxes, in Parramatta Park and elsewhere, even in Sydney’s Centennial Park (where there are many massive Moreton Bay figs to the edge of the CBD, providing good food and habitat). These deaths occurred where there was abundant water in many ponds and storages. Today’s news:

    “WIRES volunteers who were at Parramatta Park last Friday said adult flying foxes had scooped water from nearby ponds and tried to drip water into the mouths of babies in a desperate attempt to save their young.

    A spokeswoman for the Parramatta Park Trust, which manages Parramatta Park, said hundreds of flying foxes had descended to branches just a few metres off the ground from their normal roosts high in trees to try to escape the heat and direct sunlight.

    “It is very unfortunate, very sad, but it is a natural event, and we even have a record of the same thing happening at what’s now Parramatta Park at the time of the First Fleet,” the spokeswoman said.

    First Fleet officer Watkin Tench wrote that flying foxes and birds fell dead from the sky during the searing summer of 1789, when north west winds blew across the city and turned it into an oven.”

  168. REPLY: Climate Ace should take a 24 hour timeout too. His thread bombing is becoming tiresome. We all need a break – Anthony

    You are the moderator, so you own the rules, and the application of the rules. 24 hours it is.
    I note that you are giving others a free kick to discuss my posts without any recourse for me to reply.

    REPLY: Oh please, you can reply in 24 hours. -Anthony

  169. Climate Ace:

    Your post at January 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm purports to be a reply to my post at January 22, 2013 at 5:09 am.

    It begins by saying to me

    You have ignored the main points I have been making and gone on an extended and irrelevant rant about all sorts of things instead

    It then asserts I said things I did not and it addresses those ‘straw men’ before concluding.

    I suggest that instead of ignoring my main points, you address them squarely instead of haring off on a tangent all the time.

    I fail to understand that.
    I quoted your post to me verbatim. I addressed its overall assertion, and then I addressed each and every statement in it individually.

    To enable me to correct any oversight I may have made, please quote your “main points” from your post January 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm which you are saying I ignored in my reply at January 22, 2013 at 5:09 am.

    Richard

  170. KenB:

    I am responding to your post at January 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm for two reasons; viz.
    (a) So onlookers are not misled
    And
    (b) So my view of your innuendoes is clear to all.

    Your concern trolling will fail because it grossly underestimates Anthony Watts.
    I explain this as follows.

    You rightly perceive Anthony giving me a ‘time out’ as being a chink between us, and your post attempts to lever that chink into a rift by suggesting to him that I may be a “false friend”.

    But that misunderstands the reality of the situation in several ways.

    I have never met Anthony Watts but I admire him.
    At his own cost he runs WUWT which has become the Best Science Blog on the world-wide web: it is the go-to place for reliable information on climate change. Meanwhile he runs his own business and cares for his family which he has reported to include medical problems. And he has overcome his hearing difficulty to make these great achievements.

    In my opinion, the success of WUWT results from its exceptional quality which is provided by the Moderation Policy (imposed by Anthony Watts), the exceptional standard of the Moderators (appointed by Anthony Watts), and their skill at applying the Moderation Policy (overseen by Anthony Watts).

    Many views are openly expressed on WUWT. People who adhere to widely different political, philosophical and religious beliefs and opinions contribute and interact on WUWT. And this (perhaps unique on the web) variety is the great strength of WUWT.

    Anthony Watts has afforded me the privilege of often posting on WUWT, but I have seen no evidence that likes me. Indeed, the only direct interactions we have had imply that he doesn’t like me. And that would not be surprising because I think he and I are poles-apart politically and we differ in our religious and philosophical views. But he gives me the privilege of posting on his blog.

    So, KenB, yes, there is a probable chink between Anthony Watts and me, and such a chink may be unavoidable. But you are completely mistaken if think you can lever such a chink into a rift: his tolerant nature and my respect for him would not allow that.

    There would be a rift between Anthony Watts and me if I were to harm WUWT. But I don’t think that could happen. The tenor of WUWT is pro-science and for realistic appraisal of AGW. That is completely coincident with my objectives which I have been promoting for decades in several ways both public and personal. And if I ‘overstep the mark’ on WUWT then Anthony Watts slaps me down as he has with the recent time out: this is right and proper on his blog.

    Furthermore, WUWT has grown to its eminent position over the years when I have been among the most prolific of posters on WUWT. This does not imply my posts have benefited WUWT, but it does indicate that my posts have not discernibly inhibited the success of WUWT. The time may come when Anthony Watts decides WUWT has outgrown any contribution I could make, but – although I could be wrong – I see no evidence that he is nearing that decision. Of course, if he were to make that decision then I would accept it.

    So, KenB, I think your concern troll post was a waste of your effort because it underrates Anthony Watts.

    Richard

    REPLY: I neither like nor dislike you, I just want folks to take a step back from time to time. – Anthony

  171. This might explain Climate Ace’s point of view. ☺

    [No offense intended for other S. Hemisphere denizens, most all of whom I like and admire.]

  172. Ah Richard, my verbal sparring has been with a certain Climate Ace. I challenged him as a paid spin doctor, and he has not so far, refuted that challenge, So my reply has no reference or inference to yourself.

    I have met Anthony Watts and I would never underate his ability nor his capacity for the unbelievable hours he puts in to this blog, his family and friendships. I think you have misread or misapplied my post as applicable to your self, when it is not! Perhaps a re-read of the thread might be in order. I’m sorry you took my post so personally, no offence or concern intended!

    Similarly I thought that your post indicated a voluntarily self imposed 24 hour time out, and I took that to be a good example as I often refrain from replying to some provocative posts, out of respect to Anthony and Watts Up with that. I find it helps to not feed disrupters. If my post bought on your confusion, my sincere apologies.

  173. KenB:

    Your post at January 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm says I misunderstood your post.

    That being so, then the error was mine and, therefore, I apologise for it.
    However, if I made the error then others may have, too. So perhaps my mistake has clarified the issue for all by prompting your message.

    All I can say is Sorry.

    I must now retire. It is 1.30 am here and I am only up this late because of the new ‘Zeke’ thread.

    Richard

Comments are closed.