Australia Fires … And Misfires

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I kept hearing so much about the Australian bushfires being the result of or driven by “climate change” or “global warming” that I thought I’d take a look at just what’s happened to the rainfall there. Here are a hundred and nineteen years of Australian rainfall.

Here’s the curious part. The earth has been undergoing a mild warming pretty steadily since 1970, about the last half-century.

But although the last couple years have been dry, the last half-century in Australia has been wetter than the previous half-century. Not dryer. Wetter. And a lot wetter.

In fact, anyone under about sixty years old has never experienced dry Australia.

Now, I mentioned this and showed this graph on Twitter, where I post as @weschenbach, and someone said something like “Well, Australia’s a big area to average. Maybe it’s wetter in the middle and less so on the coast.”

That seemed unlikely. I mean the moisture is coming in from the ocean and so the coasts are generally wetter than the outback … plus with overall more rain, the middle would have to be pretty wet.

But I’m a man for data over theory, so I went back to the same source listed above, and I got the rainfall records for New South Wales where the fires are. Here are those results.

And once again, yes, the last few years have surely been dry in NSW … but again, that’s weather. And once again, the recent half-century has been much wetter than the first half of the 20th century. Not dryer. Wetter.

Finally, forest management experts have been warning the Australian government over and over again for years that neglecting forest management and giving up on fire hazard reduction burns was piling up fuel in the bush, and that it was only a matter of time and a dry year before catastrophe struck … here’s a particularly strong warning from 2015, and it is far from the only one.

But nooo … misguided green activists wouldn’t hear of that. They protested the fire hazard reduction burns.

Hilariously, the Australian Broadcasting Commission has deleted their article on the activists’ protest because it doesn’t fit the “CLIMATE EMERGENCY!” narrative … bunch’a deceptive left-wing idiots who don’t know that the intarwebs never forget.

And when you add the incredibly high fuel load in the oily flammable eucalyptus forest to the fact that more than a dozen arsonists have been arrested for starting many of the fires, it should come as no surprise to anyone that these fires have been devastating, destructive, fatal, and horrible …

It should come as no surprise because they were warned. Clearly. Repeatedly.

Now, I live in the fire zone in California, and so I have great sympathy and compassion for those who are in the path of the fires in Australia. And our fire problem here is inter alia for the same reason—abysmal forest management practices driven by Green activists with hearts of gold and brains of oatmeal.

But those blaming it on climate change? Look, if the CO2 emissions in Australia went to zero, it might make the earth cooler by about 0.05°C by the year 2050 … call me crazy, but I don’t see Australians giving up on air travel as being a very effective fire-fighting strategy.

My best regards to everyone on a lovely clear night,


Addendum: As is my custom, I politely ask that when you comment, you quote what it is you are discussing, so we can all know who and what your subject might be.

247 thoughts on “Australia Fires … And Misfires

  1. I agree, 100%. And yet, it’s impossible to get these greentards to understand, even the most basic principles of bushfire management. It may be possible to get the councils to understand something if the fireys were to stop trying to fight fires wherever there had been no hazard reduction measures, but I doubt it. More likely they’ll just blame the fireys for not protecting them from the consequences of their own actions.

  2. well, duh if you only look at ONE variable in a effect that has many contributing factors, then you will always find a way to confirm your prior beliefs.

    on the other hand. A good scientist

    ‘Though many factors contribute to wildfires, the reason the Australian wildfires are so much worse this year than other recent years is the combination of record drought and record heat.”

    Key words: MANY factors CONTRIBUTE ( no single cause)
    Key words: Much worse ( no claims about unprecedented)

    Side note. See the IOD.

    • Steve, could you possibly miss the point more? Let me go over it slowly:

      IF the wildfires were due to “global warming”, since as you point out drought is a major factor in these fires, then we’d expect the number and intensity of droughts to have increased.

      But they haven’t. In fact, the opposite has happened—rainfall has increased. And that clearly means that what we’re seeing is WEATHER. After a period where Australia had years of rain, they’ve had a couple of years that were hot and dry.

      A couple years is not climate change. It is WEATHER.

      And even Rohde knows that. He says it is “worse this year than other recent years” … WEATHER!!!

      If that still mystifies you, just ask. I can repeat it more slowly.

      Your insane desire to find something wrong in what I write, no matter how small, is destroying your reputation. That’s a shame because you’re a very smart guy when you’re not lost in your obsession about vainly trying to take me down.

      Best regards,


        • Right on, Willis!

          I believe the point should be made that, just as in California, the severity of the the fires is due to the following two-step:
          1. Heavy rainy seasons, resulting in exuberant growth of shrubs, trees, grasses, i.e., fuel.
          2. Follow-on drought, after the good rain, setting up the fuel to burn.

          The sparks, whether provided by man, as arson, or nature, as lightning, will happen.

          • Hi Willis,

            I don’t disagree that rainfall reduction should go hand in hand with drought and increased fire danger. But I would like to make the point that rainfall distribution and the relationship between rainfall and and what we actually see in streamflow and water catchments is more complicated than just looking at the annual averages.

            There is research that suggests that rainfall both in WA and South Eastern Australia is experiencing a shift in seasonal distribution. That is, we are seeing no statistically significant difference in annual rainfall, but seeing a greater proportion of rainfall occurring in the hotter summer months and less in the winter. When more rain is occurring in the summer, more of it is lost to evaporation. And hence there is less water in the waterways.

            I can’t quantify the difference at this point, but I just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that it’s too simplistic to look at a graph of overall trends in average rainfall and make a conclusion about the resultant changes in weather events.

      • Well we all know that a warmer world is a wetter world, so climate change then is responsible for the increase in rain and the increase in vegetation due to the rain (and increased CO2) and thus is responsible for the huge fires!!

        Either way, give us your money and submit to your new global overseers.

      • Hotter weather means more moisture cycling. Slow high pressure makes it hot as it stops the Antarctic wind push across the nation

      • You don’t have to have heat to have a forest fire. We have fires in the Southeast US in the pine forests in any season. It has to do with how much combustible material is available, how dry it is and almost always wind is involved.

        But once an area burns, there is never a second event anytime soon. Why you ask? Because most of the combustible material was burned in the prior event. It takes decades to grow back.

        It’s dry in Oz right now. The heat brings the relative humidity down more but the fires will occur whether it is really hot or just normally hot. Why you ask? Because there are huge amounts of combustible material due to being wet in prior years and it grew unabated.

        By the way, it’s hotter and dryer in the Sahara but there are no fires. Why you ask? There is nothing to burn.

        • 100% Spot on… And ~5000 years ago when the world (specifically NH at least was receiving more insolation thus heating the African continent) was quite a bit warmer than now , the Sahara received a Monsoon that made it much wetter than now…

          As you say, the heat and the dry are the current “weather” factors. The amount of combustible material is by far the biggest determinant of the severity and ultimate loss of life (Human and Fauna/Flora). This is due itself to many factors, including (i) as Willis points out above; wet years driving plant growth, (ii) let’s not forget the higher levels of “life giving CO2” also driving plant growth, & the big topic here “Down Under” currently (iii) the lack of sensible Fire Hazard Reduction management over recent decades.

          The “reduction in hazard reduction” and locking up National Parks and forests against sensible grazing management are huge factors in the buildup of combustible material and both State and Federal governments need to listen to and work with the practical people on the ground who know their Sh1t about fire management (including (i) experienced Fire fighting personnel, (ii) Farmers, (iii) Indigenous experts…

          • Now this is a firebreak, …IMO it looks like a European experiment in bush climate management from the 1930s in the Otways Au.

            Difficult to see how a fire could get up into the canopy of such a forest/stand. Or how there would be enough sunlight to fuel anything at all other than fungi on the forest floor, and yet this how they survived if allowed to do their thing for one hundred years or less. Especially since the stand was established among species of similar height. The gums in the Otways are huge, even though the biggest are long gone from logging etc.


        • Damn! That makes so much sense nobody will believe you! We have forest fires north of the 60th parallel in Canada and it ain’t because the weather is hot like Australia, I can assure you. It’s an abundance of dry fuel. When there’s 5 feet of snow, it doesn’t burn. By May or June the snow is gone, and if we don’t get rain we get fire.

      • Hi Steve and Willis,

        As an Aussie, I live not far from the areas impacted. I have bush walked in many of the areas over many years as a Youth Leader and just with friends. Many of these areas have been locked away For years now and I have watched and worried as the fuel load built up and fuel reduction burns were prevented, cattle that used to graze in some of these areas were locked out (as not natural) and local Councils prevented people from removing trees close to their homes.

        Also Steve, many of the plants in the areas burning need fire to germinate. How many fires and years do you think it has taken for the flora to adjust to using burning to enable their seed to release from seed pods and germinate? There are also historical records identifying huge fires like these since European settlement, quite apart from evidence from our indigenous people who used fire to clear land to make hunting easier and reduce the incidence of disastrous fires.

        While these are human disasters, Australia is doing what Australia does. It burns when it is hot and dry.

        And at present, i am away from home in Tasmania. Today we have been driving though an area that burned just a few years ago. Natural wild fires tend to go through the bush quickly and the bush recovers. When there is a heavy fuel load, the fire is much hotter and unsurprisingly, does more damage.

        • Absolutely spot on, Quilter – from one Tasmanian to another. The major factors are undoubtedly a lack of hazard reduction burning in forests that are so fire-adapted that they create the conditions for their own regeneration – plus arsonists.

        • “cattle that used to graze in some of these areas were locked out (as not natural) and local Councils prevented people from removing trees close to their homes.”

          Do-Gooders “Doing Good” and feeling Good about it.

      • @Willis

        You need to look at SEASONAL rainfall trends. Wetter in the dry season would be very helpful. Wetter in the wet season may simply result in a larger fuel load.

        The Pacific Northwest is a good example. Wet winters combine with dry summers to create the wildfire hazard. Annual totals do not tell the whole story.


        And draught is not just a function of precipitation. Temperature, humidity, and wind are important variables:

      • Indeed.
        There was a drought in California for many years… and not many fires. Then the drought ended. And all sorts of fires started 2-3 years after.
        Fuel load matters, as do controlled burns.

      • Precisely. After 6 decades in SoCal I and all the other locals know rain is a double-edged sword. More rain just postpones the next fire, but also guarantees a more dangerous fuel load as the growth spurt that water brings clogs the hillsides. Drought, OTOH, dries, parches and even kills some of the chappparal but the rest turns a silver color,indicating maximum dryness and also maximum danger. Add 40 mph Santa Ana winds that drive the humidity down to single digits. You have to get out of the way and save the structures that you can. To all the fireies in NSW and Vic…stay safe, we’re thinking about and praying for your safety.

      • I’m just throwing this out here. Isn’t weather just another name for climate change? I’m pretty sure it is.

        • Steve January 5, 2020 at 1:58 pm

          I’m just throwing this out here. Isn’t weather just another name for climate change? I’m pretty sure it is.

          Steve, climate is the long-term average of weather, generally taken to mean an average over thirty years or more.


        • Bob January 5, 2020 at 2:53 pm

          Willis, you are very kind to Mosher.

          Bob, Mosher is a good guy. I often disagree with him, but he’s wicked smart and totally transparent about data and code. Can’t ask for more than that, it’s the scientific method.


          • Mosher uses the phrase “not even wrong”. Which is a ridiculous and pathetic putdown unworthy of true scientists. Which is why I leave the comment under every comment he makes.

      • Just playing Devil’s advocate here, but how long does it take for weather to become climate change. It’s just that your New South Wales graph definitely shows it drier from the start of this century, that’s 20 years. BTW I suspect the Brigalow Declaration certainly helped to exacerbate the current fires.

        • If by “climate change” you mean “caused by CO2, specifically, by human fossil fuel emissions,” then the answer is, NEVER.

      • Willis you’re quite correct and if I may add another point. A decent winter wet encourages low growth scrub which, over decades of minimal backburning, becomes very dense. In summer this dense growth dries and plays a major part in the intensity of bushfires when they finally occur. When many people blame a drought (as a result of climate change) for bushfires they are completely missing the point. But why let facts get in the way of a Stone Age religion.

    • Steven,
      The fires this present January extend from near Brisbane to neat Melbourne, a N-S separation of 1,000 km. Temperatures change with latitude.
      The average January temperatures as Tmax/Tmin for Brisbane are 29/22C; Sydney 26/19C; Melbourne 26/16C. Officially, global warming has heated Australia about 1 deg in the last Century, which is less than the change from Brisbane to Melbourne.

      Latitude geography has a bigger potential influence on fires than global warming. Given the spread of the fires, niether variable might be important.

      Maybe high air temperatures are an important variable.
      In the last 30 years, the number of days above the Century, or 38.7C, have been Brisbane, 5 days; Sydney 42; and Melbourne, 144. This trend is the opposite of what to expect from latitude and God knows what to expect from global warming.

      It does reveal another potential variable, one related to the formation of hot air over dry central Australia, its movement seldom E to Brisbane, sometimes SE towards Sydney and often SSE towards Melbourne. Detailed weather maps show this better than my brief description, but locals here know the patterns well.
      The key driver seems to be dry soils over large areas of Central Australia, coupled with moderate wind speeds toward the SE to allow time to heat coastal areas before going off to sea heading for New Zealand while weakening in fire potential. High ground temperatures in Central Australia happen most years and are often high enough to invoke this mechanism alone, but they do not. It requires other variables, some at the source of weather events and some at the location of the fires 1000 km away. Variables like soil dryness at source, wind direction and wind speed beteen source and fire and prior wet seasons at the fire destination to build up vegetation mass. It is complex and so, hard to model.
      Geoff S

    • Steven Mosher, I wonder what your position is on your side engaging increasingly in arson and sabotage? Jim Steele got into this yesterday here at Watts, and commentators have weighed in on the problem, and Willis mentions it. As CEO of a natural resources company, owned by shareholders, I can assure you that guarding against sabotage by green activists is always an important issue. What, in your opinion, warrants this arson being included in the mix of the current fire situation in Australia?

      • Arsonists can also wait for high winds to set brush alight. That’s what criminal firefighters seeking work in the US West have done.

        The basic problem in Oz and western North America is fuel load from poor management, and people living farther out. More rain leads to more fuel, which dries out. The only effect On wild fires from increased CO2 is more vegetation, not “climate change”.

    • Duh , Mr. Mosher ,there are many,many multitudes of factors that make our weather and climate yet certain people want to find CO2 is the prevailing cause .
      That is mind boggling to the extreme .
      As for Aussie bush fires this season , and yes it is repetitively seasonal , if the fuel load was much lower then the resultant destruction would be also .

    • Mosh

      To be complete, surely your phrase should read

      ‘Record drought, record heat (weather) and record build up of brush , combined with a soaring population draining the water further and record numbers of people living in the wrong fire prone places, of who many are taking environmental measures to preserve the forest habitat.’

      There are clear parallels with flooding in the UK, whereby many more people are living on flood plains where they shouldn’t be and ditches and rivers are not cleared.


    • ‘Though many factors contribute to wildfires, the reason the Australian wildfires are so much worse this year than other recent years is the combination of record drought and record heat.”

      How about deliberate and accidental human fire-starting? The fires are rarely occuring in relatively unpopulated areas, which they would be if the quote above were true.

    • Thee is clear evidence that rainfall variability is increasing. More drought conditions punctuated by more extreme rainfall.

      • @Simon

        It would be helpful if you supplied, at least, some referenced material to support your stated/implied proposition, that is, by your assertion, based on “clear evidence”. Was there, indeed, any conclusion to be derived from your observations.

        @To Others: Appreciation for the considered ideas presented.

        For the most part, I have found the propositions and arguments (debate style) in the material on this site to be far more “sustainable”, and worthwhile reading, than a lot of the material served up by much of the, so called, “popular press”.

        I do recall that cattle were grazed on areas in the Australian “Alps”, back when I was a lad, 60 odd years ago. Indeed areas that gave rise to Banjo Patterson’s poem, “The Man from Snowy River” (1890). I believe that some of these areas in the triangle around Omeo, Bright and Eden, on the coast, are where some of the current fires are burning. Cattle have been excluded from these areas in more recent years, very likely contributing to the amount of raised dry brush and ground litter, increasing the resulting fuel loads. But once the fire reaches the eucalyptus tree canopy, the heat causes adjacent combustible material in trees or buildings to ignite spontaneously and flying embers facilitate this process.

        It was disappointing to note, when I was traveling the area some years ago, that the Snowy River had been reduced to a few puddles. This fate preceded the anguish of the Murray-Darling River system. Sad conditions, for what are considered icons of Australian folklore, early industry and transport. I do not know if the reduction in flowing or standing water, on the Eastern side of the ranges, particularly in the Snowy region, has further hampered the recent efforts of fire fighters in these areas.

        Some time ago, my research showed that the USA has many more than 200 mountains higher than Mt Kosciusko, the highest mountain in Australia, (by all but a few metres). So we have very limited capacity to “grab” water from the air in the form of snow or rain to supply our rivers.

        Recently, a friend in France said to me that he did not understand why we did not request the assistance of the “mega-plane” water bombers, used in other parts of the world. Looking at the maps of France and Australia, I explained that it would be highly unlikely for a person who was “lost” in France to die of thirst. Here, in many areas of Australia (which is 14 times the area of France), an ill-equipped person could die within two days, possibly sooner, if their vehicle broke down.Having a huge plane available is one thing, but refueling, water-loading and getting to the numerous fire fronts can only be done with very mobile, relatively small aircraft and equipment. While there are some dams and reservoirs from which water can be scooped, our biggest water resource is the ocean.

    • The magnitude and intensity of the fires are due to an extreme combination of drought, temperature, wind and to extreme fuel accumulated load. The extreme dryness of the bush and temperatures are mainly due to the Indial Ocean Dipole which has been much longer in its positive index phase than average ( i.e. similar to a longer acting El Nino for us). Oh and its mid summer in Oz now so anyone who does not expect bushfires is severely retarded.

      While the “record drought and record heat” are ket contributors to the fires starting and spreading, the ability to fight/control/extinguish them is much more the outcome of the fuel loads and thanks to the green eco fundamentalist imbeciles reducing fuel load has been all but equated with ecocide. They would rather save a single wombat or koala than lose 1000 homes or 100 human lives.

      This continent is unique in its flora in that it maintrains a balanced ecosystem not by winter snows every year acting on a largely deciduous major flora but by hellfire acting on evergreen eucalyptus and other flora that are optimised to flourish after fires pass and pop open their seed pods. If you don’t have regular ‘cool’ burns then to get bloody great big, very, very hot burns.

      It is no accident that our indigenous peoples did not ‘develop’ a fixed living lifestyle with permanent housing and other structures. Rather they adapted the hunter gatherer lifestyle by burning the country to create large scale ‘rooms’ in their area to optimise grazing opportunities to attract species they could hunt and other areas to grow naturally occurring edibly plants.

      After thousands of years of this there never was a fully natural ecosystem in Oz but a man modified one that the English explorerers and settlers typically described as “looking like an English gentleman’s park” as reported from multiple sources by Bill Gammage for example.

      This latest conflagration is due to the utterly empty headed arrogant assumption by the goose stepping greens (who typically inhabit inner urban cafe strips) that our bush and forests are “natural” and have used their voting power to bully governments into tighter and tighter ‘green tape’ when it comes to clearing fire trails and fuel load reduction burns.

      It turns out that one state, Western Australia, has a good record in this area and once they reached a certain amount of preventative burning the bushfire occurrence dropped to a minor amount. When they got lazy for a few years it bounced up again.

      The evidence is there and only morons ignore it and try to blame ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ or any other items in the self important little eco-emperors’ wardrobe.

    • That’s amazing. I’ve never seen Mosher come up with anything quite as inane. He usually has some sort of a rational point to make, if you can interpret it in his driveby messages.

    • Black Thursday, February 6th. 1851

      The Black Thursday bushfires were the largest ever recorded in Australia, and were caused in part by an intense drought that had occurred throughout 1850. On 6 February 1851, a strong furnace-like wind came down from the north and gained power and speed as the hours passed. It is believed that the disaster began in the Plenty Ranges when bullock drivers left logs burning unattended, which set fire to long, dry grass affected by the recent drought. Approximately 5 million hectares, or a quarter of Victoria, was burnt. Twelve human lives were lost, along with one million sheep, thousands of cattle and countless native animals.

    • Steven,

      There are many factors that cause wildfires. The very devastating wildfires of Portugal had this following characteristics:

      First of all non native and non properly kept eucalyptus forests for the paper industry.
      Second: two wetter then average episodes that made those forests to grow more then average ( = more fuel potential)
      Third: a dry spell so that a spark could lighten this massive higher than average fuel potential.

      Result: the 2017 deadly wildfire of Portugal.

      Even the – normally so AGW supporting- documentary witness to disaster of national geographic did state these facts as the main cause. Main cause was bad forest managment combined with weather.

  3. Anyone looking at the Southern Hemisphere Stratwarm (solar min) causing the current favorable fire weather in Oz?

  4. That sums it up pretty well Willis. Unfortunately it is going to fall on deaf ears. The hearts of gold won’t have it, like you say brains of oatmeal.

  5. “But nooo … the Green party wouldn’t hear of that. They protested the fire hazard reduction burns.”
    That is not the Green party protesting. The Green party in Australia supports fuel reduction burns. That is a picture of a few residents in Nowa Nowa (I count about ten) protesting about a burn in their local area, for a variety of reasons as shown on the signs, but seems to be mostly about harm to animals.

    “giving up on fire hazard reduction burns”
    The link you cite doesn’t say that anyone has given up on hazard reduction burns, and they haven’t. It’s an opinion of someone that the existing target of 5% (specified by the Royal Commissioner) is inadequate. Well, you can always ask for more. But hazard reduction burning is not cost-free. The folks whose houses were burnt are unconvinced by the merits of the project, and not because they are raging greens.

    • Nick Stokes January 4, 2020 at 6:43 pm

      “But nooo … the Green party wouldn’t hear of that. They protested the fire hazard reduction burns.”

      That is not the Green party protesting. The Green party in Australia supports fuel reduction burns. That is a picture of a few residents in Nowa Nowa (I count about ten) protesting about a burn in their local area, for a variety of reasons as shown on the signs, but seems to be mostly about harm to animals.

      Thanks for that, Nick. I don’t find the Green party to be strong on backfires. The webpage you link to is brand new this year. And not early this year, what it says was put up there on December 15th, with further changes on the 19th … yeah, right.

      However, I’ve changed the head post to read “green activists” rather than the “Greens party”.

      “giving up on fire hazard reduction burns”

      The link you cite doesn’t say that anyone has given up on hazard reduction burns, and they haven’t. It’s an opinion of someone that the existing target of 5% (specified by the Royal Commissioner) is inadequate. Well, you can always ask for more. But hazard reduction burning is not cost-free. The folks whose houses were burnt are unconvinced by the merits of the project, and not because they are raging greens.

      Sorry, not true at all. Here’s data from SW Australia. After the big fire in 1962 they started seriously using fuel reduction burns … just as the Aborigines had done for millennia. But of course, people forget, with the results you see below.

      You say “it’s the opinion of someone” that the fuel reduction burn level is too low, as though it’s some guy off the street … actually, no. It is the opinion of a scientist who works for CSIRO studying bushfires, viz:

      Forest fuel levels have worsened over the past 30 years because of “misguided green ideology”, vested interests, political failure and mismanagement, creating a massive bushfire threat, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist has warned.
      Victoria’s “failed fire management policy” is an increasing threat to human life, water supplies, property and the forest environment, David Packham said in a submission to the state’s Inspector-General for Emergency Management.
      And he argued that unless the annual fuel reduction burning target, currently at a minimum of 5 per cent of public land, “is doubled or preferably tripled, a massive bushfire disaster will occur. The forest and alpine environment will decay and be damaged possibly beyond repair and homes and people [will be] incinerated.”
      He said forest fuel levels had climbed to their most dangerous level in thousands of years.

      Best regards to you, and best of the New Year,


        • Laughable isn’t it. One of their principles read,
          ”2. Evidence based decision making must be central to all aspects of bushfire prevention, management and planning, while protecting human life.”
          Then in wildlife section,
          ”g. Do not alter the composition of dominant canopy species, for example by rake hoeing around the base of all large, old trees; and,
          h. Reduce the number of large old trees cut down after the fire.”
          The whole reason for hoeing around a tree is so to try and preventing it burning and making it dangerous to ”human life”. And the same goes for cutting down old trees after the fire.
          The most fatalities with fire fighters on the fire ground occur from dangerous trees. Fact.

      • People’s amazing capacity to forget past conditions is a huge factor. I started fighting fires in 1973 and have worked in forests in BC continuously up until now. I noticed a long time ago that fires in BC peak about every five or six years and later came to understand that the cycles are strongly linked to el Nino. Every five or six years the people of BC are caught off guard by a more severe fire year or two and all and sundry act as if whatever is being experienced is unprecedented. BC has also adopted fire management practises that exacerbate fire, though in some slightly different ways than Oz and California. Our interior population has concentrated in what were fire maintained grasslands and savannahs. We have allowed the savannahs to become grotesquely overstocked with scrubby trees and we suppress fires in the grasslands (often because of development in those areas). We managed our vast lodgepole pine forests so that they formed extensive areas of overmature forest that was susceptible to insect attack and fire and when the lodgepole pine grew back after a massive insect kill there were vast contiguous immature forests that burned like kerosene in years that were at the drier end of the normal spectrum. Warnings were made by knowledgeable people, Government reports were prepared and ignored as all political decisions in BC are now made by primarily urban based politicians who have close to zero interest in natural resource management. When the next fire cycle starts, the politicians will all volubly express shock and dismay for the three months of the fire season. Promises will be made and then quickly washed away by the fall rain.

        • I live in BC as well and as an outdoors guy, fishing and hunting throughout the province, I think your description is spot on.
          The problem of course is that the urban politicians who are driven by their brainwashed urban constituents, routinely blame “climate change” for anything and everything the don’t recognize.

        • “ People’s amazing capacity to forget past conditions is a huge factor.”

          BCB: It is amazing but it’s entirely natural because we have evolved with the ability to rapidly forget past disasters. It’s a survival thing in the genes passed down to us from our earliest ancestors who survived only by forgetting the past and concentrating their minds on immediate threats. One effect of this is that we see the past through rose coloured glasses, but a more serious issue is that we see current disasters as unprecedented. In short we are programmed to perceive the present as ‘worse’ than the past and to believe that the future threatens to be worse still.

          This of course includes scientist making predictions.

    • Yeah they support it but only “when guided by the best scientific, ecological and emergency service expertise.” Weasel dung.

    • They further state as an objective:

      “…Replace mandatory burn quotas with evidence-based, fluctuating hazard reduction burns to reduce fuel loads at appropriate times in bushfire prone areas…”

      Reducing burns is supporting burns?

      • This is exactly in line with the recommendation of the Black Saturday Royal Commission, and has been implemented. It’s simply a matter of prioritising rather than a blanket target in hectares.

        • Recommendation 56 requires the state to fund the prescribed burning of 5% of the public owned land.
          The commission stated the the pre 2009 levels of 130,000 ha pa was inadequate and needed to be increased to 390,000 ha pa. The state through the cfa and Delwp now carry out only 100,000 ha pa of prescribed burn
          What has happened is the state switched from human life has highest priority to the forest having highest priority.
          It is called ecological burns where you only burn small sections of forest to ensure the overall number of sensitive species is not wiped out. The amount and timing of ecological burning is based on the tolerable fire interval of the trees TFI.
          TFI based ecological burning now takes priority over prescribed fuel reduction burning

        • The attached article provides some of the green reasoning why prescribed burning targets should be scrapped. In their range of research they are highlighting the protecting houses in peri urban areas could be achieved with a lower level of clearing in the forest but a higher level in the 500 m surrounding the houses.
          Sounds good in practice but the local greens will not let this happen

        • You still prioritize within a quota. You expect us to believe Aussies are so stupid as to not do so? The Greens’ statements clearly advocate target burns that are below current levels. Your spin is always tiresome but this is ridiculous.

    • Nick, the Greens party policies are just words for public consumption.

      Green-cult operatives in local government councils however are rabid persecutors of any heretics who want to clear vegetation fuel from their bushland properties.

      I’ve experienced their auto-da-fe. Have you?

      • I doubt it. Nick comes across as an inner suburban, academic who spends all his time on the internet finding justifications for his position on climate change. With the amount he posts, I doubt he survives without vitamin D supplements.

    • It is more about the Green Tape that goes with it.

      “Strict controls are required to reduce the amount of rural burning that is not required for essential asset protection;”

      “Local Bush Fire Management Committees should prepare summaries of landholder obligations under risk management plans, including environmental assessment and protection requirements, for general circulation in the district;”

      ” High bush fire hazard areas are usually those associated with natural areas and vegetation. The location of residential or rural residential areas in high bush fire hazard areas increases the level of native vegetation loss as well as the level of threat to people and their homes. This is neither economically, socially nor ecologically sustainable. New development that requires the clearing of native vegetation on adjoining properties should not be permitted in identified Bushfire Prone Areas, where such development is likely to put lives or property in danger or involve substantial protection and suppression costs including loss of environmental values.”

      “The Greens NSW will work towards:

      16. The need for Fire Permits to be obtained at all times of the year throughout New South Wales when there is a significant risk of fire escape, not just during the Bushfire Danger Period;”

      “19. The carrying out of adequate environmental assessment on all activities or works proposed to be undertaken in accordance with a bush fire risk management plan;”

      “20. Accurate mapping of all proposed and actual fires on a standardised Geographic Information System with additional data collected with respect to intensity, height of burn, slope, etc;”

      “28. Ensuring that all bush fire hazard management works proposed under bush fire management plans are prepared using the best available data, are available for public comment, and are adequately assessed to ensure that proposed works and prescriptions are ecologically sustainable and appropriate for implementation with an appropriate audit and compliance program.”

        • The problem is the time lag between the various elements. In effect we as a bushfire brigade have to give at least 5 months notice for them to be approved. And then we could be in a no fire period, and the chance is lost.

          back to square 1.

          • Absolutely spot on, Quilter – from one Tasmanian to another. The major factors are undoubtedly a lack of hazard reduction burning in forests that are so fire-adapted that they create the conditions for their own regeneration – plus arsonists.

          • Nick, yes the Greens aren’t in government. But you know darn well this isn’t what folks are saying. The green environmental folks are well and truly in charge of the councils and local authorities that make the decisions about prescribed burning.

          • NS, “Greens are not in government.” They don’t have to be to sway the state and councils/shires. Or perhaps you meant Federally where they use their muscle in the Senate.

          • So the fact that there is no member of the Green party in the current government, proves that greens in general have no impact on policy?

            More sophistry from Nick.

          • “The time lag isn’t Green’s policy.”

            It may not be what they tell the public, however they put these regulations in place precisely so local greens can so gum up government, that any policy they don’t like dies from old age before it can be actually implemented.

        • Nick, I think you are missing the point… It’s not that people disagree with the policies as neatly laid out on the Greens site, it’s more a lack of trust and confidence that they act as they say. The evidence as presented by various people here and elsewhere would confirm my own experience of “Greens” (as in the higher profile environmentalist activists who get the Press and get involved at Government level vs. true environmentalists (just about everyone else, including and especially most Farmers and people who live outside the cities). As described elsewhere they often have “Hearts of Gold and Brains of Oatmeal” where it comes to practical understanding of real life issues such as this… Our rich society allows such people to have a magnified voice in the world, vs previous times when hard necessity for survival kept there impact minimised. There’s a place for “warm and fuzzy” in the world (we all love our family and friends and hope for a better world), but more importantly we need to be practical to keep same family and friends (& the wider world) safe.

          Tell me, how many times would you need to hear the following message from just one of so many experienced Aussies that “know their Sh1t” before you accept what has actually happened in this country and what the major causes have been. We can’t blame the Greens for everything, but for sure they need to take a hard look at themselves and try to align their “warm and fuzzy” love for nature with practical and sensible policies, and not just pay lip service with fancy words on their website…

          “It’s really simple,” says Brian Williams, captain of the Kurrajong Heights bushfire brigade, a veteran of 44 years of firefighting, in one of the most extreme fire risk areas of Australia, on a ridge surrounded by 0.75 million hectares of overgrown national park between the Blue Mountains and Wollemi.

          “Fires run on fuel. Limited fuel means limited fire.”

          …excerpt from below…

          • ” … it’s more a lack of trust and confidence that they act as they say. … ”

            You seem to be saying greenie activists and greenie politicians are outrageously dishonest fake virtue-claiming misanthropic propagandizing hypocrites, who could not lie straight in a King-size bed and have brains made of of oatmeal.

            Kinda harsh, but more than fair.

        • It’s not so much disagreeing with them, it’s pointing out to the willfully blind, such as Nick, how these regulations can be and usually are being used, to thwart any and all actual burns.

          All while pretending that’s not what you are doing.

        • Nick, therein lays the problem. Red and green tape. It is stifling the process. If habitats gets burnt in FRB’s, then that’s the price that needs to be paid. There needs to be a quid pro quo.
          As you are no doubt aware, the right conditions must prevail to conduct a successful burn. Waiting for multiple layers of government approval does not help.

        • Nick Stokes: “…So which of those do you disagree with?…”

          The requirement for centralized control. It makes the whole thing impossible to manage.
          Decisions must be made on the ground in a period of only a few days. This can only be done by local landowners and local fire authorities.

          Centralized control of hazard burning is not quite as dire as Stalin’s centralized control of Soviet agriculture in the 1930s, but is certainly as ineffective and destructive.

    • Nick, when you said “houses were burnt”, you didn’t reference any images of the houses themselves. Have a look at them – they have eucalypt trees right up next to their houses. What did they expect was hoping to happen when a fire came through? Then they blame somebody else, or climate change, for their failure to maintain any sort of adequate firebreak around their houses?

        • And then be the first to complain why fire trucks aren’t there to protect their undefendable homes during a wildfire.

        • They are also blaming the councils who won’t let you clear those trees.

          Ahhh but you don’t want to discuss that because you can’t deflect .. what did you say the topic is prescribed burning.

          What I am and many other land owners now hope is we can get that area out of Shire Council enviroment officers hands and into the hands of a modified Rural Fire Service officer.

          • NS, “You made that up. There is nothing in the report that says that.”
            The reality is what it is. Not any report. You probably think Bush is, apart from an ex-President, something you come across at Elsternwick.

          • Nick
            Councils made the excuse to the Royal Commission that they could clear road due to the strict environmental legislation.


            The commission produced recommendations 60, 61 and 63 to provide exemptions to give councils and the state road authority VicRoads the ability to seek exemptions to remove native vegetation on the roadside.
            I live in one the world’s most fire prone municipalities the Yarra Ranges Shire. The council and VicRoads have not made one single application for planning exemption to clear roadsides in the shire.

          • Id support that
            having to go to council wait weeks and then be “aproved” to cut down massive trees about to fall on my new fenceline
            council refused
            couple of weeks later?
            tree down new fence ruined
            approval granted.
            and me with the cost n effort lumped on me not the offending tree landowner to repair. grrr

        • It wasn’t a prescribed burn, it was an emergency back burn, the only possible way to deal with the inferno bearing down on them. Fighting fire with fire so to speak. Sadly they couldn’t control it due to the terrible conditions at tge time. How much more sensible it would have been to have burnt the same area 6 months earlier, in the winter, when the burn would have been cooler, slower and controllable. And that’s not hind sight – it’s what people have been saying for years.

    • Nick, the protesters managed to stop about 13000 hectares of planned burn off in September, the authority only managed 900. This week the whole lot went up people died and hundreds of houses were lost, every protester in that picture should be locked up.

      • I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find out that most of those protesters didn’t even live in the air.
        Standard left wing rent-a-mob.

      • ” the protesters managed to stop about 13000 hectares of planned burn off in September, the authority only managed 900″
        Typical of the myth-making here. In fact the report said that 370 hectares of planned burn were reduced to 9, with the rest to be done later.

      • Yes, they should be locked up – in a building in the path of a bush fire that is out of control due to the stupid policies they support.

    • If Australia is anything like the US, 90% of those protesters are imported.

      The Green Party leadership can SAY whatever they want. However it’s what they tell their minions to do that matters.

    • Nick Stokes says:
      “… It’s an opinion of someone that the existing target of 5% (specified by the Royal Commissioner) is inadequate. Well, you can always ask for more. But hazard reduction burning is not cost-free…”

      All well and good, Nick, but if it is going to get hotter for the next 80 years, they are going to have to find a way to do it.

      Hazard reduction burns do occasionally get away, but the main problem with executing them now is bureaucratic red tape.

      The window to burn may only be one or two days, for example; following a rain shower, yet applications have to go to a state level, and approvals are months in coming.

      When they are approved, requirements are that so many various officials, neighboring fire brigades, and various other parties must attend, that, amazingly, the ‘window of opportunity’ passes, and it is declared too dangerous to proceed.

    • Nick Stokes said: “…That is not the Green party protesting. The Green party in Australia supports fuel reduction burns….”

      Yep, with a whole stack of caveats that equate to centralized control and micromanagement, if it is interpreted as the Greens do.

      See points; 2, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, and 15.

      Note the final caveat is that no-one should live in rural fire-prone areas.
      (and I do agree with the need to clamp down of developers turning forests into suburbs, but that’s not changing soon, as they have the pollies of all levels very firmly in their pockets).

      The Greens NSW believe that:

      1. Given the unique Australian ecosystem, that uncontrolled bush fires are a threat to life and property and to ecological sustainability. High intensity bush fires not only destroy property, but also destroy native fauna and flora and lead to increased soil erosion and siltation of streams;

      2. Assumptions about bush fire prevention, mitigation, control and management need review in the light of the need for ecologically sustainable management;

      3. Hazard reduction, including manual, mechanical and hazard reduction burning activities should be strategically planned to protect the community and vulnerable assets while minimising the adverse impacts of these activities on the environment;

      4. Bush fire risk management should be informed by the knowledge of Indigenous Australians.
      5. Strict controls are required to reduce the amount of rural burning that is not required for essential asset protection;

      6. Prescribed burning is only one method of fuel management and should be considered in the context of other available options and the management objectives of the land in question;

      7. Many vegetation communities and plants cannot survive frequent fire; for this reason frequent fire has been listed as a key threatening process by the NSW Scientific Committee under the Threatened Species Conservation Act;

      8. Moreover, many vegetation communities can undergo severe decline in biodiversity with long-term fire exclusion. Ecologically appropriate fire regimes are required to maintain biodiversity and functioning ecosystems;

      9. Firefighting services in NSW need support, supplementation and additional resources. In particular, local government needs to be provided with additional resources and finances to enable the proper implementation of its responsibilities with regard to the assessment and implementation of hazard reduction strategies;

      10. Education of councils, land managers, land-holders, the general public, fire management planners and fire fighters is needed and should be publicly funded. Such education should target specific audiences and address a broad range of ‘bush fire’ and environmental issues;

      11. Education and community awareness material needs to focus especially on the threat to the environment and to property of inappropriate use of fire, particularly burning that is too frequent, extensive in area, of excessive intensity, badly timed or carelessly implemented;

      12. All firefighting agencies and land managers should be issued with guidelines as to the specific implications of the legal requirement for ecologically sustainable fire management and receive training on the environmental effects of bush fires;

      13. Basic training courses for Fire Permit officers, Brigade Captains and Brigade members should include specific information on the environmental impacts of frequent burning, appropriate fire regimes for biodiversity protection in different vegetation communities, guidelines regarding the timing of burns, the manner in which burns are lit, maintained and contained, appropriate fire exclusion areas and buffer zones, and other requirements of the local Bush Fire Risk Management Plans;

      14. Local Bush Fire Management Committees should prepare summaries of landholder obligations under risk management plans, including environmental assessment and protection requirements, for general circulation in the district;

      15. High bush fire hazard areas are usually those associated with natural areas and vegetation. The location of residential or rural residential areas in high bush fire hazard areas increases the level of native vegetation loss as well as the level of threat to people and their homes. This is neither economically, socially nor ecologically sustainable. New development that requires the clearing of native vegetation on adjoining properties should not be permitted in identified Bushfire Prone Areas, where such development is likely to put lives or property in danger or involve substantial protection and suppression costs including loss of environmental values.

    • Nick the Greens party changed their fire policy last year just after the NSW fires took off and people started to blame the greens .
      The lefties have tried the “but we’re not in power” routine but it has been pointed out that although they are not in power they are 90% of the local and state bureaucracy who do make decisions on planned burning .
      Living in Victoriastan one of the most fireprone places in oz and living in the shadow of Ranges that are now National park I’ve seen how the forest buildup has increased both near me and in the Alpine National park .
      If I lose my house to a planned burn it’s insured I’ll get over it but if burnt out by lack of management to fuel loads I’d be friggen furious .
      It’s Green tape that causes the biggest problem for fuel reduction burning and reduces the window of time available not climate change .

  6. “more than a dozen arsonists have been arrested for starting many of the fires,”

    Police close in on suspected fire arsonists
    NSW Police could soon charge more than a dozen suspected arsonists allegedly responsible for deliberately lighting bushfires across the state.

    At least 56 people have already been charged or cautioned with 71 bushfire-related offences since August.

    There are 16 investigations underway into suspicious fires, amid one of the state’s worst bushfire crises.

  7. Thanks for posting those rainfall figures. I think your comment upon Australia being so much drier 50 years ago is very poignant as the generation who grew up from that time, clearly made dam building a massive priority and just go to it. We coasted along all during the 80’s and 90’s doing bugger all in terms of securing water supply, allowing the population of all the major cities to explode without additional capacity and SUDDENLY we have a water supply crisis! MUST be climate change! Then a bunch of state governments panicked (hmmm) and quickly installed a heap of high cost (no doubt low quality) desalination plants in the noughties and here we are. The Snowy Mountain Hydro scheme was a massive infrastructure project that continues to give value and in the last 20 years our biggest comparable infrastructure scheme? National Broadband… at 30 billion and no doubt climbing. We deserve what we get if you ask me.

        • “We call it “weather”.”

          Indeed, but you brought it up, afterall that’s what your post above is all about isn’t it, the “weather”?
          But how can one hope to refute anything to do with climate change by discussing the weather? Alas that seems to be your hope.

          “But those blaming it on climate change?…”

          See my question below.

          • “But although the last couple years have been dry, the last half-century in Australia has been wetter than the previous half-century. Not dryer. Wetter. And a lot wetter.” – Willis Eschenbach

            “But not as dry as 2019.” – Loydo

            Question: Who is talking about climate, and who is talking about Weather?

          • You talking nonsens. The fire needs three components: fuel, oxigen and initial fire starter. None of this three can be control by the reduction of CO2. CO2 only promotes quicker growth of bush but dose not affects droughts. We can only control fuel by back burning it and in my part of the country (Blue Mountains & Wollemi) green activists were very vocal and effective in slowing/ preventive it to happen. They (Greens) own this disaster big time. I hope it will be reflected in the next local election.

          • “The fire needs three components: fuel, oxigen and initial fire starter.”
            You are leaving something out. We have those components throughout the winter, but no fires. We get the fires on hot windy days. The hotter the days, the fiercer the fires.

          • Nick, what makes you think there are no fires in winter? Do a little research.
            If there has been a significant dry period, temperature doesn’t matter. There can be snow on the ground, but if the fuel has remained dry enough there can be a forest fire. There are plenty of examples.

            That fires are related more to summers than winters is because summers are usually drier than winters in many places.

          • Lloydo,
            Climate researchers are over-fond of analysis using time series with linear fitted regressions plus forms of multivariate analysis to reveal trends and to correlate with possible causes.
            As I have noted above, another type of analysis applies to these rare events of large, hot bushfires in S-E Australia. To describe how they happen, you need a form of event analysis that lines up all the ducks in a row. Some of the events are – dry soil in central Australia, a hot time of the year there (like December typically is), a large weather in the Great Australian Bight (like a blocking high to produce air flow from the Centre to the SSE), a few good wet seasons down the SE coast hinterland (to provide understory fuel loads), a few days of hot dry weather in said December in the fire area, a lack of prior controlled burns there, some lightning or arsonists – to name some of the main events.
            For bad fires to happen, a number of these events have to relate to each other in time. Example, if lightning or arsonists are absent, happening drops to near zero. This all has next to nothing to do with trendy time series with linear least squares regressions. The trend in ground temperature anomalies in (say) Alice Springs from 1950 to now has no special meaning here, because every year in December the ground is hot enough to contribute required hot air to the train of events.
            Note that this mechanism for summer fires in the SE has no mention of trendy climate change or global warming. A one degree C of warming in the last century is immaterial in a scheme of events where the main consideration is whether several weather events and a few other events happen in the right place at the right time relative to each other. Geoff S

        • Nick:
          **“The fire needs three components: fuel, oxigen and initial fire starter.”
          You are leaving something out. We have those components throughout the winter, but no fires. We get the fires on hot windy days. The hotter the days, the fiercer the fires.**
          Nick, you left something out – ARSONISTS.

        • Nick, “…You are leaving something out. We have those components throughout the winter, but no fires. We get the fires on hot windy days. The hotter the days, the fiercer the fires….”
          wrong again sport – in winter, ground level grasses and shrubs are green, leaf litter and bark are damp; they may be referred to as ‘unprocessed biomass’, but it takes a rather imaginative leap of faith to think of them as ‘fuel’.
          The reason for fires being so fierce in summer is that biomass has dried into fuel.
          Winds fan a blaze and cause it to spread (to a large extent by blowing embers ahead of the fire front to start spot fires many kilometres down wind), but arguably the most dangerous impact of wind is when direction changes and a narrow fire front that’s trailed out a long fire in its wake turns to its flank and becomes a broad front, especially if the original fire was burning along a valley and the wind change is able to blow the broad fire front uphill.

          • Nick, you apparently haven’t been in Sahara. Plenty of fire fuel (grass and shrubs and very very dry) up there, also plenty of oxygen and heat. What is missing is something or someone to start the fire. Atmospheric heat itself does not start fires. You need much higher temperature to do that. And in Sahara there are neither thunderstorms nor arsonists to do it so no fires. Now you know.

  8. Willis,
    Australians are starting to understand your observations, quite suddenly after Christmas 2019.
    Personally, I think many people were upset by attacks on the Office of Prime Minister and a little lesser so on the person, Scott Morrison.
    In times of national distress, Aussies (like many in the US) have tended to downplay politics and work together to front the problem with practical cooperation.
    The leftist cry about fires being unprecedented, catastrophic and caused by climate change was out of whack with the Aussie fairness sentiment, so many people quitely decided that accumulated forest fuel was a bigger factor that was not overtly political.
    Myself, I think the PM has shown competence, decision making and compassion beyond what people expected.

    • Yep…..and as someone else said somewhere else, he needs to control the narrative and not let the poisonous media control it. Put out statements twice a day on Facebook and hold a press conference once a week.

      Dan Andrews (Victorian Premier) lets a firey starve and then his staff set up a makeshift canteen further down the road for photo opportunity for Dan Feeding a firey. Where’s the media vitriol?

  9. Willis writes

    But although the last couple years have been dry, the last half-century in Australia has been wetter than the previous half-century. Not dryer. Wetter. And a lot wetter.

    That pretty much aligns with the fact that Australia has greened significantly over the last 40 years

    And that…explains more extreme fires. More fuel = bigger fires.

    But who would prefer an earth that wasn’t greening?

  10. “At least 200 fires were burning in Australia as of Friday.”
    Arson, mischief and recklessness: 87 per cent of fires are man-made

    “There are, on average, 62,000 fires in Australia every year. Only a very small number strike far from populated areas and satellite studies tell us that lightning is responsible for only 13 per cent. Not so the current fires threatening to engulf Queensland and NSW. There were no lightning strikes on most of the days when the fires first started in September. Although there have been since, these fires – joining up to create a new form of mega-fire – are almost all man-made.”

    ….are almost all man-made…

    • Haven’t you beaten this “man-made” straw man up enough already?

      I get it, the narrative goes: “87% caused by arsonists… so much for CO2 causing anything.” There are a few variations on this straw man but they all rely on the lie that anyone said “cause by”. Made worse perhaps, but “caused by”? that’s just silly.

      Name a single instance. If you can’t then how about hanging up your baseball bat.

      • LoLLoydo,
        you should ask the person who wrote the piece to the Sydney Morning Herald, who happens to be “is an ecological criminologist and sustainability scientist at Monash University”. For some curious reason, most of us are inclined to take his word over the words of someone not willing to reveal his identity or scientific credentials, nor willing to read through the referenced sources. Your trolling is not even funny.

      • “Name a single instance. If you can’t then how about hanging up your baseball bat.”

        3 girls started 13 fires…arrested
        1 guy started 7 fires…arrested

        56 people charged with starting fires + 12 more to be charged = 68 people started fires
        + 16 more people being investigated

        That’s ~ 9 out of 10 fires man made….and not climate change….LOL

        Take 90% of the fires out….and there would be nothing to talk about at all

        • You blame arsonist for lighting lots of fires, who doesn’t?
          Who is saying arson is not a significant cause? Name one person.
          You say fires are not “caused” by climate change. Who says they are? Name one person.
          The fires are “caused” by the same things each year. Hang up your bat.

      • **Haven’t you beaten this “man-made” straw man up enough already?**
        NO, we are only starting. NOBODY has demonstrated how “climate change” starts a fire.
        Most are man made and now the ARSON fires are increasing. Got that Loydo – ARSON.
        As another reader said, without arson, other items would be in the news.
        So hang up your baseball hat.

        • Gerald, NOBODY has claimed climate change “starts” a fire.
          If you think that is incorrect then please name them with a link to their quote.

      • Studies in the USA west have shown that >80% of wildland fires happen because of human involvement – in some way. A small percentage are arson. I’ve seen several because autos caught fire and the driver pulled into grass at the side of the road. Others happen from burn-barrels at “homeless” camps. Another (The Taylor Bridge Fire – 2012; look it up) started because a worker dropped a hot rivet. Wiring not properly installed has caused some. At least one of each of these has been within 30 miles (50 km) of our house. Yes, we had an arsonist too. He is now in jail.
        The AU, CA, and USA fire folks study these things and share.
        Because of where we live a higher percentage of lightning strikes are involved than in many areas.
        We have had “be ready to go” notices for the TBF (above mentioned) and The Snag Canyon Fire (2014, lightening).

  11. Dry years happen. They happened when CO2 was 288 ppm and they also happen when CO2 is over 400 ppm, but maybe not quite as often. It makes zero sense to assert that lower CO2 levels will reduce dry weather. ZERO!

    Fires are all about forest management.

  12. Correlation between negligent forest [mis]management and severity of Australia’s bushfires has been known for decades.

    To be fair it pre-dates green lunacy. Governments just don’t like spending money on benefits that are invisible to voters when they can squander it instead on high profile ribbon cutting/photo op feelgood vanity projects.

    So forestry neglect has a long history, as do consequently disastrous fires (sometimes worse than the current ones).

    In fact my great uncle explicitly blamed the forestry neglect for the severe late 1970’s bushfires in Victoria, in his report as Royal Commissioner.

    His report soon got ignored, the same as previous and subsequent ones all saying the same thing.

  13. “I don’t see Australians giving up on air travel as being a very effective fire-fighting strategy.”

    I don’t see Australians giving up on diesel fuel for their fire tankers as a very effective fire-fighting strategy.

  14. My recollection from school was that Australia has a narrow band of greenery along the coasts surrounding the dry interior, aka the Outback, and the center of the continent is bone dry desert something like the Sonoran Desert in the US.

    As for the rest it’s no surprise. The radical environmentalists for reasons only known to themselves are opposed to proper forest or in this case brush lands management. It’s the same reason that cali is burning. They would rather let other people burn rather than let some folks make a living cutting down excess trees and brush.

  15. The Indian Ocean Dipole was at an extreme level in October, it’s a major driver of Australians climate. The good news is that it’s been dropping fast.

    • Scott…
      Even more interesting.
      Electric water bombing planes and choppers!

      The other day a Naval Vessel went to Mallacoota in Victoria to evacuate a thousand odd people…About 1100 people later boarded HMAS Choules for a late afternoon departure. Roughly 250 pets including cats, dogs, a rabbit and a bird were also among the evacuees…….HMAS Choules is a highly operational 16,000 tonne ship, 176 metres long, 24 metres wide, and capable of carrying over 300 troops, 23 Abrams tanks, 150 light Trucks, LCVP, Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM8) and is also capable of operating Navy helicopters…
      An electric Naval vessel?
      Do I need answer?

      • As a matter of fact it is diesel-electric like most big ships. Diesel engines drive generators that power motors that drive the propellers.

        • Ignoring naval [RN, RAN, USN, etc.) ships, most merchant ships – some over 200,000 tonnes displacement – are powered by diesel engines, usually directly connected to the propeller shaft. Some of these diesels are pretty big – see
          – third picture, especially, shows the crankshaft.
          Some LNG ships have steam engines [the boilers are generally powered by LNG Boil-off].
          The Era of ‘supertankers’, in the 19070s-1980s, say, had ships over 500,000 tonnes deadweight and displacement, powered by steam engines.


  16. Good analysis Willis. I have only been in Australia for eighteen months. I think the majority of people that live in the countryside appreciate that a lack of ‘cool burnings” in the autumn has led to a build up of forest floor fuel – these are the people that actually understand reality.
    The city-based virtue signalers are divorced from all of this and, as they are the majority of the voting population that get people elected, the madness of banning the burns continues. Indigenous people have controlled burns from a time before memory – maybe they had a reason?

    PS. I live in Melbourne but I don’t drink latte. My Aussie mates will understand.

  17. Spot fires that have been occurring in inaccessible areas, particularly as the smaller fires amalgamate have been caused by the fires creating dry lightning with Pyrocumulous clouds. Arson is possible but unlikely in remote, steep forested mountainous areas.
    Key to watch is humidity, there are other compounding factors, but if it drops below 10%, be prepared for the worst.

  18. A couple of questions Willis.

    You say:
    “I kept hearing so much about the Australian bushfires being the result of “climate change” or “global warming” that I thought I’d take a look at just what’s happened to the rainfall…”

    “yes, the last few years have surely been dry in NSW … but again, that’s weather.”

    If you want to criticize those who blame “climate change” for making things worse for fire conditions why focus on what you call the weather? Why not focus on climate? Why didn’t you mention the long term temperature trend? Would you be surprised the trend has been rising inexorably for decades and has spiked off the chart in December, more than 3C above the already warm long term averge. Not surprised, more like astonished at that, since you failed to mention it.

    • So you think it’s ok for folks to build houses and surround them with fire-bombs called eucalypt trees? Surely that’s similar to folks who build on flood plains or right next to the oceans, then expect somebody else to pay when they lose their property.

      • Loydo is an attention whore. The only way he can get any ‘fame’ is by arguing with someone well known. He probably wees his pants from excitement when Willis responds directly to him.

    • I think the post was about rainfall patterns. You seem to have jumped to high temperatures in December.

      • No its about fires and climate:
        “Australia Fires … And Misfires
        I kept hearing so much about the Australian bushfires being the result of or driven by “climate change…”

        Willis rightly points out that a dry year or three in a generally wetter period is just weather. So not much climate to see there. I’m suggesting he analyses long-term temperature trends for NSW using the same period, same source.

          • “tomorrow you will come back with the same BS”
            You keep coming back each day with the same BS. Again, BoM is not hiding the Bathurst Gaol data. It is laid out in user friendly style here. Which is no doubt where Heller got it (maybe via GHCN).

          • **“tomorrow you will come back with the same BS”**
            Now it is your turn to come up with BS Nick.
            Are you upset that I quoted Heller?
            I pointed out to Loydo that he uses a BOM report with data cut off before 1910. Without the missing data it gives us the impression that temperatures are increasing. The complete data shows that temperatures cycle though the decades and centuries. In other words “nothing new” and no “global warming” aka “climate change”.
            So tell me what I did wrong in CORRECTING Loydo.
            Without the BS from Loydo and Nick, we would not need to constantly correct.

    • You could say that the accreage burnt in Australia this season happened because of temperatures. But the you look at the accreage burnt in the Arctic the previous season and the reasoning looks silly. I can tell you, it was way colder in the arctic, and a way bigger area was burnt there. But they both had one thing in common: an extraordinary ammount of fuel.

      • “they both had one thing in common: an extraordinary ammount of fuel.”
        Fuel load is obviously important and I don’t dispute the acreage but there is no comparing the intensity of a fire in the Arctic to a drought-ridden eucalypt forest in 45C and 40kt gusts.
        Fatal radiant heat from 200m away.

    • Loydo, you ask about temperature, and you show the max temps 1910 to 2019. You note that the last couple of years have been hot in December.

      Lets set that aside for the moment and start, as I prefer, with the longest term record. Here’s the Berkeley Earth mean temperature for Australia.

      Note that it warmed rapidly at the end of the 1800s, stayed about level until about 1955, and rose again to the present. If you claim the recent warming is “climate change” from CO2 … then what is the cause of the warming in the 1800s?

      Next, let’s look at what you looked at, maximum temperatures in December. Here’s that chart, using the same BOM data you used.

      Exactly as is shown in your graph, December temperatures dropped radically from 1980 to 2000 … again, clearly not the result of CO2 …

      Now, why doesn’t it rise up so radically at the end as your graph? I mean, it looks as though there’s nothing unusual in the recent times.

      It looks like that because I omitted the last two years, it only goes to 2017.

      I’ve done this to point out that once again, we’re looking at weather and not climate. We had maximum December temperatures rising from 1960 to 1980, falling from 1980 to 2000, and since then we have temperatures rising as they did in the 1800s.

      And most recently, we’ve had two warm years. 2018 was about as warm as 1972. However, 2019, as you show, was very warm.

      Again, all I can say about this is that two warm years is not climate.

      It is weather.

      Best regards,


      • “You note that the last couple of years have been hot in December.”
        Well not exactly, I mentioned the Dec 2019 merely as a somewhat disturbing outlier. What I am interested in is the long-term trend which both the graphs you presented illustrate clearly: its up, even with the warmest bits clipped of the end – up.

        Your post ignored higher temps. Higher temps mean that when the dry years do come the fuel is drier and warmer and that is going to makes fires worse, all other things being equal.

        So you can’t say: rainfall is innocent, move along nothing to see.

        Hot records are now swamping cold records. The spate of recent highs has been shocking to watch. Long term records smashed by multiple °C, repeatedly. The writing is well and truly on the wall for people living in fire/drought prone areas of South Eastern Australia, next dry will bring an even worse fire risk unless some serious land management changes are made. After this summer I think they will be.

        As crazy as it sounds most areas have dodged a bullet as the winds have not really been as bad as they could have, every other factor was off the scale but with a really windy day I can imagine
        far worse. There are some chilling vids from the 2009 fires where 78 mph winds were recorded.

        As far as the noisiness or otherwise of the early data, there is lot of ‘greyed’ uncertainty in the early period. That and a few El Nino might account for you observations. Since the middle of the last century temps appear to be accellerating at about the same rate as CO2, as uncertainty dwindles. But that is a different issue.

        • “Hot records are now swamping cold records. The spate of recent highs has been shocking to watch.”

          Couple of things should be qualified.
          1) In the US temps are measured over 5 minutes averages.
          The WMO guideline recommend that, at a minimum, 1 minute averages should be used to measure temperature.
          In Australia – 1 second measurements are taken.

          In my local Tasmanian area temps would appear to be regularly ‘adjusted’ by up to 0.9 of a degree – but I have seen them ‘adjusted’ by up to 6 degrees.

          These ‘adjustments’ always take place the next morning just after 9am – but are not reflected in any of the 10 minute observations, reported online.

          2) The rollout of digital measuring devices in Australia started in the mid to late 90’s and was not completed until the late 2000’s.

          Whist the BOM suggests these digital devices were calibrated with the pre-existing analogue measuring systems – they failed to keep any evidence proving these calibrations.

          This means that (on average) these Temps are not the highest recorded – rather the highest recorded in the last 20 years.
          This ’20 years’ is not enough of a trend to be even recognised by the talking heads at the IPCC – which requires 30 years.

          Funnily enough the BOM & the CSIRO has detected a 20 year trend impacting the South East and South West of Australia – Coinkidinks or Contrived?

        • I currently live in Tasmania. There is a local joke that summer is between February 3-6. We had 2 days over 30 in December. Most of the time the temperature (max) is low 20’s. It’s drizzly most of time. Dry leaf litter at 35C is just as dry as leaf litter at 15C. We had bushfires last year in the southern part of Tasmania. I think you have very little idea of how nature works. Elevated temperatures are not going to make dry things drier. Eucalypts drop leaves, twigs and branches all year round, they are not deciduous.

      • Pierre Gosselin has an article on his ” No tricks zone ” website showing how the Australian temperature records have been ” Adjusted ” to try to claim that it has been getting warmer , when in fact the long term trend has been colder .

        It should be no surprise to most people the amount of lies that the green loonies will come up with to try to keep the Global warming scam going .

    • As usual Loydo, you are off:
      The BOM has deleted the pre 1910 data for people like you who will not do the research and get the facts. Fortunately for us Tony Heller has done it. This was posted on another post for your benefit but I note you have comprehension problems:

      And Jennifer Marohasy has also done the work for you:

      • As was posted for your benefit but I note you have comprehension problems:, nothing is being “hidden”. Do you consider yourself a skeptic Gerald?

  19. CO2 fertilisation has increaed foliage and available Eucalyptus oil fuel for Australian forest fires.
    And it’s only going to get worse until forests are systematically removed and planted with trees that don’t produce highly flammable oil with a boiling point of 176°C and a flash point of 49°C.
    But the green cartel can’t bring themselves to blame forest greening right now because it goes against their narrative.
    More foliage = more insects = more of everything = less species extinction etc.
    Not the ‘extinction’ message currently being peddled, but that will change after they’re able to arrange suitable peer-reviewed papers declaring increased forest foliage (courtesy of CO2) will increase extinctions. They’re working on it now . . .
    An additional issue for Australian forests is the natural detritus under tree is resistant to microbial/fungal break down due to the preserving properties of Eucalyptus oil . Australian forests are designed to burn and burn hot! If you don’t want burn, get rid of them.

  20. A recent article in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph paints a despondent picture: horrible bushfires are “the new normal” because of climate change. The fire season, we learn, now extends to nearly 10 months of the year, and bushfires have become so intense that they cannot be stopped before immense damage is done. According to former NSW fire commissioner Greg Mullins (now a member of the Climate Council): “The price of inaction [on climate change] will increasingly be paid in lives lost and communities shattered”.

    This echoes comments made in the wake of the bushfire that destroyed the town of Yarloop in Western Australia in 2016. The conditions were described by authorities as “unprecedented”. And following the 2018 Queensland bushfires, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters “If you want to know what caused those conditions, I’ll give you an answer – it’s called climate change”. Greens leader Richard de Natali and Greens MP Adam Brandt are both blaming the current fires in NSW on climate change.

    Let’s assume for the moment that this is all correct. Put aside the views of most bushfire experts that the basic problem is a combination of drought and the failure to control forest fuels in the expectation of a bushfire. Droughts are an inevitable component of Australian climate. If you add high fuel levels the result is always uncontrollable bushfires. On the other hand, even under hot, dry conditions, fires in areas with low fuel levels are mostly easily controlled.

    But just for the sake of argument, let’s accept that, thanks to climate change, the bushfire threat in Australia is now completely out of hand and deteriorating by the day. So what is to be done?

    Simplifying things a little, there are broadly two options for responding to this “unprecedented” bushfire scourge.

    The first is: “Fix the Climate”.

    This approach comes primarily from environmentalists and The Greens and their supporters. Their plan is to fix the bushfire threat by fixing the climate. This will be accomplished by reducing/eliminating emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere, which in turn will be accomplished by shutting down the coal industry, generating power by wind and solar instead of fossil fuels, switching to electric vehicles, and so on. The outcome of these measures is presumed to be a significant reduction in atmospheric CO2, and a return to cooler, wetter and less windy weather across Australia. As a result the bushfire threat will be ameliorated.

    Not surprisingly, the ‘Fix the Climate’ option seems attractive to most people. Everybody wants milder summer days, more winter rain, lighter winds and no cyclones, and if at the same time the bushfire threat diminishes, that will be a welcome bonus.

    However, there are two critical drawbacks to this approach. The first is that it is not supported by climate science; no link has ever been established between global warming and drought. On the contrary, increased temperatures lead to increased rainfall, not the other way around. More importantly the promised outcome cannot be achieved overnight. Indeed, it is likely to be 20-30 years before today’s reductions in CO2 emissions will fix the climate. Over those years we will continue to be faced with lives lost and communities shattered by unstoppable bushfires.

    However, those who promote Fixing the Climate as the solution to our bushfire woes are well aware of the latter drawback. They also know what must be done to keep bushfire damage at bay while we wait for the falling atmospheric CO2 factor to cut in. This is to massively ramp up the nation’s firefighting capability, especially to invest in a greatly enlarged fleet of water bombers.

    Fixing the climate so as to fix the bushfire crisis is particularly popular with the authorities. Being able to blame the climate for unstoppable bushfires is a politically-beautiful strategy: it absolves Ministers and agency bureaucrats of any accountability.

    The second option is to “Fix Bushfire Management”.

    This requires governments to move away from the current approach (based on putting bushfires out after they start) and adopt an alternative approach. This will focus on reducing bushfire intensity, thus making fires easier, safer and cheaper to control.

    The key strategy is to shift investment from fire suppression and fire recovery into preparedness and damage mitigation (including fuel reduction burning). The outcome of this revised policy will not be fewer fires, but fires that are smaller, less intense and thus easier to suppress.

    Those who support the second approach and promote the adoption of a bushfire policy that focuses on preparedness and damage mitigation, recognise that this also has advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that the benefit is immediate. Instead of waiting 30 years for the climate to be fixed, land managers/owners can get out there, reduce bushfire fuels in the potential firegrounds and improve bushfire resilience in threatened communities. Things will start to get better straight away. There is also a substantial economic benefit: preventing bushfire damage is much cheaper than trying to put them out and then rebuilding in their wake.

    There is also the advantage that this approach has been tried and tested and was found unequivocally to work. The ‘Fix the Climate’ approach, by comparison, is speculative.

    But there are disadvantages, Firstly, fire prevention is not sexy. Nobody gets any credit for a disaster pre-empted. Journalists and inner-city people love a good bushfire. It is the ultimate theatre, with swooping water bombers, firefighters putting their lives at risk, forest infernos, houses bursting into flames, farmers shooting burnt sheep in blackened paddocks, funerals with bagpipes, and so on.

    The other disadvantage of the pre-emptive approach is that environmentalists hate fuel reduction burning, saying that it destroys the biodiversity and generates smoke (which contains CO2). Green fear of prescribed fire and climate change dominates bushfire policies in all Australian states at the moment (with the exception of WA) with the result that Australian bushfire management (when seen in terms of outcomes rather than inputs) has fallen to Third World standards.

    For this reason the “Fix the Climate” approach seems to have the numbers amongst Australian governments … and little wonder. Firstly, it enables them to side-slip responsibility for inaction in the fields of effective land management and mitigation. If world-wide changes in climate are the cause of bushfire calamity, a State government in Australia cannot be blamed. Secondly, they escape the wrath and ballot-box revenge of the environmentalists.

    Finally, and most tragically, Australian governments are increasingly being suckered in by the media and the aviation industry to put their faith in water bombers. Everybody else knows that even the world’s mightiest fleet of water bombers cannot slow the progress of a crown fire in heavy forest. Nobody blaming climate change for unstoppable bushfires seems to appreciate this irony: on the one hand they claim that climate change has made fires unstoppable, but on the other hand they assert that if we have enough water bombers the unstoppable fires will be stopped.

    There is a way through all this nonsense. We could stop arguing about whether nasty climate change caused by emissions of nasty CO2 is the cause of nasty bushfires … instead we could adopt a set of strategies that prevents a bushfire from becoming nasty – and does so almost immediately, not in 30 years time. We know how to reduce fuels in bushland, and how to harden up communities in bushfire-prone areas, and we know that these strategies work and can be implemented on the smell of an oily rag compared to the water bomber approach. We should adopt them, not simply because they will be effective in reducing bushfire disasters, but because they will work irrespective of projected climate change.

    • “Droughts are an inevitable component of Australian climate. If you add high fuel levels the result is always uncontrollable bushfires.”
      We have had droughts in the past, and high fuel levels. Prescribed burning is fairly recent, and despite claims here, has been increasing rather than decreasing. But the extent and intensity of fires has been going up and up. Since 2009 we have been losing whole towns (Kinglake, Marysville, Yarloop, Cobargo, Mallacoota etc etc).

      • Nick,
        Prescribed burns have been used for 50,000 years in Australia, but I suppose that’s recent history compared to the Phanerozoic Eon.

        And surely you’re aware that the population of Australia has gone up 568% (3.8 to 25.4 million) since Federation in 1901, 263% since 1940 (7 million), and has grown by more than 10% in the past decade alone. Of course there is more property damage from fires than in the earlier periods of comparable weather conditions. More houses set amongst trees and bush that may no longer be cleared. Shocking, isn’t it? More fire losses.

        • “since Federation in 1901”
          Kinglake, Marysville, Yarloop, Cobargo, Mallacoota etc etc were there before Federation. But they burned in the last eleven years.

          • Come on Nick, you’re just being obstinate aren’t you? Were there houses enough for 25 million inhabitants, but 85% of them were unoccupied, waiting for future immigrants? No, now there are many more houses and firebreaks are prohibited.

            And I wonder how many teenaged arsonists there were back then. Do you suppose their dads took them aside and gently inquired if they were feeling gender-confused, causing them to act out? They probably might have lost their computer time for putting the family and community at risk?

            Back in those benighted days the government didn’t do its sacred duty of protecting long-toothed rat habitat or stopping people bringing foreign apples into the country for that matter. It was a chaos of people doing whatever was necessary to protect their farm and livestock. Thank God things have changed, eh?

          • You cannot compare today with conditions at Federation. Back when I was a kid rural roads were always cleared fence line to fence line so acted as effective fire breaks. Now, with current council practices, the roadsides are dense bush with large amounts of ground fuel. The 2009 Black Saturday fire proceeded by burning along road lines, e.g. this was the main fire path from West Kinglake to Kinglake.
            The related issue is that the roads are now death traps. Take Strathewen down from Kinglake. It has one road in which was impassable because of the fires. Many people died there because there was no escape. People who did try died in their vehicles.
            My old house in the area has about a 300 metre road frontage which had over 100 dead trees along it along with large living eucalypts and enormous ground fuel. The council did not allow any clearing of this, though they relaxed that a little (blind eye) after the 2009 fires.
            You cannot equate the past with current ground conditions.

        • Don’t blame Nick, he is all in on global warming…climate change…climate extinction will kill us all.

          Rather than adapt to small changes with better policies he dances with the devil.

      • **But the extent and intensity of fires has been going up and up. Since 2009 we have been losing whole towns (Kinglake, Marysville, Yarloop, Cobargo, Mallacoota etc etc).**

        Really? have you checked back to 1850’s?
        What was the intensity back then?
        Intensity may be related to the lack of prescribed burns.

  21. Since 1939, there have been at least 18 major bushfire inquiries in Australia, including state and federal parliamentary committee inquiries, COAG reports, coronial inquiries and Royal Commissions. And no doubt there will be further inquiries following the recent widespread fires.
    The major findings:
    1. There has been grossly inadequate hazard reduction burning on public lands around country towns.
    2. Local knowledge and experience is being ignored by State government bureaucracy, supposedly in the interests of protecting forest areas.
    3. There is a lack of political will in some jurisdictions to comprehensively plan, fund and implement fuel hazard reduction strategies on fire prone public land.

  22. analyses the annual frequency correlation between rainfall, very hot days (40C+) and average maxima in eastern Australia – including a spotlight on the 20 ACORN stations (with a start year of 1910) in the drought/bushfire zone of southern Queensland and all of NSW.

    ACORN 1, ACORN 2 and RAW historic temperatures are compared. In the long term across eastern Australia since 1910, rainfall is up (mostly in the northern half) and very hot days are down. However, at the 20 ACORN stations in the bushfire zone, rainfall has been in decline for about 30 years (following increased rainfall from 1950 to 1990).

    Reduced firebreaks, increased human population/fire cause, delayed arrival of monsoon rainfall, warm air over Antarctica for several months, and low rainfall in the drought zone since 2015 have combined to spark the current bushfire crisis.

    Most of the points made by Willis are correct and the linked page (desktop, not mobile) is a more comprehensive look at the rainfall-temperature correlation across Australia. The page’s top left links are also worth exploring, including data showing that ACORN has apparently robbed Australia of its 100F heatwave world record set in the early 1920s, with that world record now unwittingly held by America.

  23. Aussie fires

    The BOM is a tad slow in getting the temperature observation summaries up for the spring months, but the general impression is that the southern states actually had a cooler spring than normal. Queensland a little warmer. The BOM reported that this was a function of a sudden warming in the stratosphere which has resulted in polar vortices impacting on southern states. So global warming not an issue. Cool dry was the prevailing condition. And this is exactly what Roy Spencer observed in the recent Californian fire season! Of course the common denominator and the word that should not be spoken is EUCALYPTUS.

    The eucalyptus is a plague in OZ, and it causes similar problems in California, Portugal, Morocco, Spain … and is devastating in Africa where the problem of fires is accentuated by the eucalyptus driving the water table so low that the locals are unable to get at it.

    Grow a more amenable tree!

    • “The BOM is a tad slow in getting the temperature observation summaries “
      Data and maps are there, even for December. Here is November maximum anomaly. Almost the entire coast of NSW was at least 3°C above average; the inland ranges, where the fires come from, about 4°C higher. SE Qld was hot too.

      “The eucalyptus is a plague in OZ”
      It is, of course, the universal native forest tree. And if it weren’t for eucalypts, in much of the area forests could not exist. They are uniquely adapted to the climate which would be too warm and dry for most other types.

      • Yes, uniquely adapted to fire. Without fire Eucalypts would not have evolved. They shed their bark twigs and leaves every year to create a fire bed so they can regenerate. Yet we continually hear the BS from enviro nutters who claim climate change has created fires in areas that have never been burnt before, yet charred eucalypts are found. We are hearing it with the current fires, we heard it with previous fires.
        Until they can tell the truth and or learn the facts, green credibility will continue to go down the gurglar. And thank god for that.

  24. I’m an old timer now but when I was younger I had the opportunity to hear stories from old timers about the state of vegetation around 150 years ago in the central east coast of Australia. Large areas that are now dense with shrubby vegetation and taller trees were open grassland with widely scattered large eucalypts. It takes a moment to consider what would have happened to fires prior to European arrival. They would have burned out with nobody to stop them.

    • ColinD, that is similar to a story my 93 year old father related to me. He was talking to an old timer and related that he was felling timber on a certain well known historic property. The old timer told him “You know, I was mustering there in the 1920s, and there was not a tree on the entire place”.

      There’s been some vegetation changes over the century.

  25. Leftists around the world support eco-wackos’ agendas which assure devastating wildfires will occur: no controlled burns, no removal of accumulated deadfall, no removal of diseased trees, limited clearing of trees along major power lines, ban or severe restrictions of lumber harvesting, ban or severe restrictions on firebreaks, ban or severe restrictions on new fire roads or maintenance of existing ones, ban on limiting tree populations to maximize healthy forests, severe restrictions on building new dams and reservoirs, ban of private landowners to clear deadfall, ban/severe restrictions on private landowners from removing diseased tress or creating firebreaks on their property, etc.

    To “fix” their criminal mismanagement, Leftist politicians and bureaucrats remove research papers and memos from their databases that warn of the devastating damage their insane policies and agendas will have on: the environment, loss of life, property damage and adverse economic repercussions…

    Moreover, the Leftist MSM refuses to investigate and report on the Leftist enviro-wacko policies that actually cause these horrendous wildfires, and instead blame it on Global Warming and free-market economies…..

    The immutable law of Leftist irony….

  26. Once it is all burnt it is fixed for about 5 years. The places that have not burnt will get sorted next time around.

    The solution is not to build houses in forests. Maybe the property losses are great enough this time to get insurers’ attention and they are more discriminating about what they insure. In those circumstances, property owners will be forced to undertake fire risk management when insurers refuse the risk.

    A more expensive option is to raze the National and State forests and replace them with wind and solar power generators. There is enough public land to power Australia if we can also convert every mine and hill top to pumped storage. That should sort the problem in 1000 years or so as China depletes the fossil fuel reserves and CO2 gets back to starvation levels. It could be longer as humans have a habit of underestimating fossil fuel reserves.

    We often hear in Australia that the original Australians used fire as a method of hunting. Well they learnt it from birds:
    Who knows how long theses birds have been using fire to flush out their prey. Fire is nothing new to the Australian landscape. The extent of current fires is nothing new although intensity is apparently greater due to ridiculously high fuel loads. Each year a fire is “controlled” means it is building fuel load for the following year. More water bombers means more fires controlled and the fuel loads build even greater levels.

    Fires have been part of the Australian landscape for thousands, or millions, of years. The recent changes are higher productivity in forests and severely limited commercial logging; meaning there is reduced commercial incentive to manage the fire risk in forests.

  27. Willis,
    Look at – The Australian Research Council, Australian Government on “Insight into climate extremes from paleo climate data”-
    https://climate Abram .2pdf
    If you look at the South East Rainfall and IPO reconstructions from the Law Dome Ice Core –
    . IPO positive phase increases drought risk in Australia
    .Eight mega droughts are identified including one 39 year drought (1174-1212 CE), which occurred during an unprecedented century of aridity (1102-1212 CE).
    Look at the chart of drought from 1000 CE to 2000 CE. Drought including mega drought in Australia is commonplace.
    See Vance 2013 on which the graph is based.
    The US material on historical drought is also interesting.

  28. I’m not against some of the arguments, only skeptical.
    I googled up “australian fires and aboriginal massacres map” for “one week” sites and both recent historical maps of historical sites of aboriginal massacres and very recent maps of Australia’s fire disasters, with so many in New South Wales and Victoria.
    There was significant similarity of general locations for the worst massacres – aboriginal people just shot outright and their bodies thrown onto kerosene fires and burned up – and the general locations for the worst fire disasters.
    I feel sad for the fire victims, who obviously did not conduct the massacres, but Australia as a white man’s stolen country seemed to have been receiving payback from the higher universe at last.
    If I were an Australian, I would tell the government to repent, apologize, and seek the help of the aboriginal peoples and their traditional method of bush fire reduction, if it’s not too late.

    • We used to practice good fuel reduction policies back in the ’70s and ’80s without having to reference the “traditional” method of bush fire reduction. And damned if we should have to apologise for incidents that the vast majority of the population were never associated with – that is just more “woke” thinking.

      The MSM down here are now trying to mask the backtracking on controlled burnoffs by referencing “traditional aboriginal fire hazard reduction” as the way “forward”. No thanks – let’s call it as it is

    • JimW

      Paul Homewood? Hmmmh.


      I think these people above ‘covered the issue’ long time before he ‘did’.

      In hte Aussie guardian, you can read an interview of a BoM collaborator:

      Dr Andrew Watkins, head of long-range forecasts at the bureau, identified three key factors that have pushed temperatures to record levels – two of them natural, and one of them not.

      Australia is currently feeling the impacts of one of the strongest Indian Ocean Dipole events on record.

      When the IOD is positive, the waters off Australia’s north-west are cooler, dragging moisture away from the continent and leaving very dry conditions.

      On the flipside, Watkins said parts of east Africa had seen devastating impacts from flooding rains, in particular in Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

      “That positive IOD has kept things very dry in winter and spring,” Watkins said. “That sets us up with an extremely dry environment. It has been the second driest year to date and the warmest year to date.”

      A second natural driver, Watkins said, was a negative phase of the Southern Annular Mode that was kicked off by warming of the atmosphere high above Antarctica.

      The SAM had helped drive the extreme heat in NSW and Queensland, Watkins said, adding to the extreme fire danger. This has also brought drier and warmer air across the continent on westerly winds.”


      • BOM are latecomers regarding the IOD which was only identified by Japanese researchers in the late 1990’s.
        During that decade I had noticed some correlation between historical dry periods in Indonesia and what I knew to be similar dry periods in Victoria Australia. I contacted BOM at the time regarding it and their response was that it was merely coincidence.
        About the same time it turns out that a meteorologist who considered that BOM weren’t using data from the likes of the Southern and Indian Oceans left their employment and set up own subscription weather forecasting that did incorporate these and other data successfully achieving a high strike rate with his forecast modelling and a loyal, and grateful, number of subscribers mainly from the agricultural sector.
        It also turns out that early British colonialists that moved from India to Northern Australia in the 1800’s had seen the same similarities that I had seen when comparing the weather patterns between India and Australia.
        It all became clearer as knowledge of the IOD increased and it was that same meteorologist who put the final pieces in place for me when explaining how all land bordering the IO are subject to the changing patterns of ocean temperatures which is well understood now, but it was only about a decade ago that BOM began to incorporate the IOD into their modelling.
        I suspect that the fixation upon the Pacific El Nino/ La Nina had diverted attention away from the IO as they were seemingly being promoted as the answer to everything weather related.
        It never rang true to me as we knew that the weather moves west to east and I recall my old man checking the synoptic charts in the newspapers in the 1950’s looking for what weather was moving into or across Western Australia. Even though the IOD had not been identified at that time it is likely that the effects either phase would be having on WA would over time been associated with the weather coming across to the eastern states, particularly Victoria by those who did follow the synoptic charts. I am left wondering as to why it was Japanese researchers and not our own Australian researchers that finally identified it.

  29. A bit more grist for the mill.

    This was a few weeks ago, and it’s now equal to the big fire in the 1970s … you remember the 1970s, when some of the same scientists now screaming about “GLOBAL WARMING” were warning us about “GLOBAL COOLING!” …


    • “This was a few weeks ago, and it’s now equal to the big fire in the 1970s”
      That is correctly annotated “far west NSW fires”. There are no forests in the far west. These are fires of semi-desert scrub and grass. In fact, burning of the growth following a wet year.

    • Here is a radio interview with David Packham someone who knows far more about bush fires than Nick Stokes. He explains that the fires have nothing to do with climate change but everything to do with fuel load. The maximum fuel load that firefighters can deal with is ~3- 4 MW per meter. The fuel load in the current fires is above 30 MW per meter so they are unextinguishable. It is all about fuel load and nothing to do with climate.

    • Australia is not even to the half way mark of this ‘fire season’, in other words the worst may be yet to come. According to the agencies the current fires will not be ‘put out’ they will have to burn themselves out.

    • The 1950s and 1970s were the wettest decades last century and many fires followed because of the grass cover and mostly lit by lightening. There are no fires out west now – there’s no feed because of the drought.

      Time Magazine cover had a scary picture of the world covered with Ice around 1974 – The Ice is Returning! or some such.

  30. Willis, this attached file presents information on the worst file in Victoria’s worst fire when one quarter of the state burnt in February 1851. It has been well documented in Government files and newspaper reports but is not part of the collective memories of the public because they never saw any reports on the evening TV news so apparently it never happened.

  31. “My best regards to everyone on a lovely clear night,”

    Dear Willis, would you agree if we translate your article to Dutch and publish it on our website?

    Our readers definitely need this information to counteract the narrative.

  32. In the UK the BBC and Sky are reporting the Australian wildfires extensively. However there is never a mention of pyromaniacs, firebugs or arsonists although a large number have been arrested.

    The implication by the MSM is that the weather is very hot because of climate change and that this is causing drier landscapes and more ferocious wildfires. Does 48C start a fire? Does a newspaper burst into flames at 48C? According to Ray Bradbury, paper burns at Fahrenheit 451, about 233C. 48C seems not really a problem.

    20 years ago I never thought the UK media could be so controlling as to suppress information to support their narratives. Sad times.

  33. Just look at any of the pictures of burnt out cars homes businesses and outbuildings and what do you see in the background? Burnt out trees all around them and where do the evacuees go for safety? It’s the same deal with the floods in Indonesia at present. Lots more people and property in harm’s way of these weather events.

  34. Willis you say “But although the last couple years have been dry, the last half-century in Australia has been wetter than the previous half-century. Not dryer. Wetter. And a lot wetter.”

    Whereas according to Monckton: “The long, severe drought in Australia, culminating in the most extensive bushfires in recent history,”

    Care to comment on Monckton’s post?

  35. I’m curious whether Aussie police are going to investigate whether any arsonists were paid by environmental groups, like the $70k paid by WWF to arsonists to torch the Amazon basin.

  36. Police have arrested 186 people who have lit fires in NSW and Victoria over the past month.

    When the radio screams ‘a bad fire day is coming tomorrow, with high winds and temperatures’ the arsonists know when to act, and do.

    Back in November, this happened. When the announcement was made there were no fires but by that evening there were fires all over the place.

    A conundrum, how to make people aware of the possible danger, without exciting the fire bugs. Impossible, I’d say.

  37. It seems all of you guys are still not getting it.
    The hunger years are here!!!
    Due to the extensive rainfall around the equator there will be less clouds and rain available at the higher latitudes.
    the droughts on the higher lats – + higher temps.

    are here or will start, just from about: now….?

    I explained it to you all, did I not?

    but WUWT never wants to report on it?

    • I’m sorry, Henry, but the data doesn’t agree with your hypothesis. Here are the trends in rainfall over the last couple of decades. The increase in tropical rainfall is concentrated in the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). However, there is no sign of the decrease in rainfall in the temperate zones that you claim is happening. All that’s happening is that more tropical water is being evaporated and rained down, without affecting rainfall further from the equator.

      Best regards,


      PS—I discuss the “Gleissberg Cycle” in a few posts below:

      The Tip of the Gleissberg 2014-05-17

      A look at Gleissberg’s famous solar cycle reveals that it is constructed from some dubious signal analysis methods. This purported 80-year “Gleissberg cycle” in the sunspot numbers has excited much interest since Gleissberg’s original work. However, the claimed length of the cycle has varied widely.

      The Effect of Gleissberg’s “Secular Smoothing” 2014-05-19

      ABSTRACT: Slow Fourier Transform (SFT) periodograms reveal the strength of the cycles in the full sunspot dataset (n=314), in the sunspot cycle maxima data alone (n=28), and the sunspot cycle maxima after they have been “secularly smoothed” using the method of Gleissberg (n = 24). In all three datasets, there…

      Sharpening a Cyclical Shovel 2016-11-03

      There are a number of lovely folks in this world who know how to use a shovel, but who have never sharpened a shovel. I’m not one of them. I like to keep my tools sharp and to understand their oddities. So I periodically think up and run new tests of some of the tools that I use. …

      • Hi Willis

        I am not sure if you read my article.
        In my comment I said: …..are here or will start, just from about: now….? The data you bring are not from now, i.e. 2019/2020

        I am saying the droughts at the higher lats are only starting [from] now. We have seen it happening now in California and Australia. Last summer in Europe was also already very dry and hot.

        It happens every 87 years,
        hence the last one in North America was the Dust Bowl drought from 1932-1939.

        • My apologies, Henry. I did miss the fact that you are making untestable claims about the future. I can say nothing about those, and because there’s no way to falsify that, I’m totally unclear why you brought it up.

          Please come back, however, when you have a testable claim.

          Best regards,


          • Dear Willis

            We are predicting the future droughts by looking when droughts happened back in the past.
            That is what climate scientists are supposed to do: predict the future weather, even if it looks bad….
            If you do not support that sentiment I am not sure why you are or claim to be a ‘climate scientist’.
            The table I showed in my article claiming the relevant GB cycle (84 years, standard deviation =5.5) is not the only one I can show.
            There is more…. if you are interested?

          • Henry Pool January 9, 2020 at 8:37 am

            Dear Willis

            We are predicting the future droughts by looking when droughts happened back in the past.
            That is what climate scientists are supposed to do: predict the future weather, even if it looks bad….

            Thanks, Henry, but not on my planet, at least. I’ve proposed many times that climate scientists should stop predicting the future entirely until we can explain the past. And at present, we cannot do that. We know that after the Medieval Warm Period ended the world went into a Little Ice Age … but we don’t know why the MWP ended, or why it ended when it did. We don’t know why it got colder then instead of warmer. We don’t know why following the LIA we didn’t slide into a real glaciation. We don’t know why the LIA ended, or why the world started warming sometime around 1750 and not 1700 or 1850. And we don’t know why it has gradually warmed in fits and starts at ~ 0.5°C per century since then.

            And until we can answer those questions about the past climate, we should avoid claiming that we can predict the future climate. All that has done to date has been to lead to a hysterical obsession with an entire series of failed doomcasts of Thermageddon.

            If you do not support that sentiment I am not sure why you are or claim to be a ‘climate scientist’.

            That’s the job of a climate forecaster, not a climate scientist. I make no claims that I can forecast future climates, and I’m not sure that’s possible even in theory. I strive instead to understand how the climate works.

            The table I showed in my article claiming the relevant GB cycle (84 years, standard deviation =5.5) is not the only one I can show.
            There is more…. if you are interested?

            Henry, I’ve seen numbers for the so-called “Gleissberg Cycle” ranging from 69 years to 105 years. Even your own data gives results from 76 to 95 years … you seem to think that if you just average those numbers you get the “real” length of the cycle. Me, I think that the huge spread in those numbers means that the “cycle” isn’t stable or persistent in any sense, and certainly not something to rely on.

            I’ve given you three studies linked just above, explaining EXACTLY how Gleissberg got his numbers, and the problem with his numbers. I’ve shown that the “Gleissberg Cycle” in the first 2/3 of the sunspot record is totally different from that in the last 2/3 of the record, despite the overlap. I used both CEEMD and Fourier analysis to show that there is no regularity in what is called the “Gleissberg Cycle”.

            So me, I do not think that the so-called “Gleissberg Cycle” is a real, unchanging, repeating cycle. Instead, it seems to be one of what I call “pseudo-cycles” which are omnipresent in natural datasets. These seem to be real cycles, but they appear out of nowhere, last for a few periods, and then disappear only to be replaced by some other cycle with some other period.

            And they are totally useless for predicting the future.

            My best regards to you,


          • Henry Pool January 9, 2020 at 8:59 am

            obviously, if truth be told,
            droughts do go together with [more] fire hazard.
            Can we at least all agree on that?

            Sure. Fire danger is an amalgam of inter alia general dryness, temperature, fuel load, dry fuel moisture, presence of ladder fuels, soil saturation, wind, woody fuel moisture, vegetation greenness, terrain steepness, and other measures.

            Not sure what your point is here.


  38. Willis

    Sometimes the ‘planets’ do seem not to arrive in time, causing the sun to make ‘a warmer period’ or a ‘cooler period’. Do not be confused about that. [I think] It has to do with the DeVries cycle, 210 years.

    Or you refuse to believe that too?
    Perhaps you should study the above mentioned report?

    That makes me think now: truthfully, what force on earth do you think exists that made you into a person who can think and decide?

    • Henry Pool January 9, 2020 at 10:38 am


      Sometimes the ‘planets’ do seem not to arrive in time, causing the sun to make ‘a warmer period’ or a ‘cooler period’. Do not be confused about that. [I think] It has to do with the DeVries cycle, 210 years.

      I’m sorry, but that makes no sense at all. The timing of the planets can be calculated thousands of years in advance. How could they possibly not “arrive on time”? It’s not a railroad, it’s a dang planet!

      Or you refuse to believe that too?

      Unclear. If the question is do I think that the planets might show up late, no, I don’t believe that at all.
      Perhaps you should study the above mentioned report?

      I did study it. Unlike you, I don’t believe things until I run the numbers myself. I was interested in the paper’s claim that there are clear cycles in the GRIP Greenland ice core temperature.

      So I went and got, not just the GRIP ice core data, but data from three other Greenland ice cores as well. I figured that if such cycles exist, they should assuredly show up in all four ice cores. I analyzed them using a Fourier periodogram. Here are those results:

      Resolution on all of these is 20 years.

      As you can see, there is no agreement between them. As just one example, two of them show an 80-year cycle, which you’d think would bolster your case of an 87-year Gleissberg cycle … until you notice that the other two show no such cycle.

      In addition, none of those cycles are significant, they’re all on the order of 0% to 7% of the size of the signal, down in the noise.

      Anyhow, that’s what I get as a first cut when I “study the above mentioned report” … what did you get?

      That makes me think now: truthfully, what force on earth do you think exists that made you into a person who can think and decide?

      Darwin. Darwin made me do it.



  39. Willis

    Thanks for your replies, it is always enlightening and interesting to discuss things with people who – as a matter of principle – seem to go against all natural ‘cycles’ to explain warming. You are a bit of an outlier here, being skeptical of both natural warming and man made warming? Anyway, we do not agree and I don’t think we ever will.
    Note that the warming is real but I think the increase in CO2 is more related to the warming of the oceans than anything else. Henry’s Law, and all that…; you can click on my name to read my report on that, and I would say that warming or cooling is due to the varying amount of UV and IR being let through the atmosphere.

    Like I said , there is more evidence for the GB cycle, like the reports mentioned in Table II in the report below:

    perhaps we should again both study Yousef’s report and make a determination where exactly he went wrong?

    What I was trying to explain is that the reason we exist is precisely because there are certain built-in brakes, in the sun-earth interaction, preventing earth from boiling up or freezing down completely. For example, we know that if we look at the night sky, at dawn,
    we can now see Aquarius. Every 2130 year we enter into a new era of a zodiac sign, until we completed all 12 signs, some 12 x 2130 years from now….It is called precession and it is due to the wobble in earth’s rotation around the sun which changes our view of the universe. Apparently the pyramid builders knew about this… amazing is it not>?

    The brakes that I have found, e.g. to keep the sun from getting too hot or too cold can indeed be correlated with the position of the planets. Hence, I found the current GB cycle at 86.5 years and this is the reason I am predicting serious droughts at the higher latitudes e.g. on the big plains of America.

    But hey, that is just my opinion, OK? We are still friends. We will talk again in the years to come – which [I think] are going to be tough.

  40. Sorry, Willis, I note now that my comment is not being very specific. But I was actually posing a question. What, in your opinion is the reason for the warming of the earth?

    • What is the reason for the warming of the earth?

      Here’s the ugly truth.

      Nobody knows.

      In 1600-1700s, the earth was in the grip of the Little Ice Age. Some time in the 1700’s the earth started to warm. This warming has continued, in fits and starts, ever since.

      So: why did we enter the Little Ice Age after a previous warm period? Nobody knows.

      Why did the LIA start around 1600 and not say 1400 or 1500? Nobody knows.

      Why did it start warming after that instead of continuing to cool? Nobody knows.

      Why did the LIA end ~1750 and not 1650 or 1850? Nobody knows.

      Why has it warmed ever since? Nobody knows.

      One thing we do know.

      The answer is not “CO2”.


  41. The answer is not “CO2”.


    Heh! I am so glad we are agreed on that!! That CO2 story is really the biggest lie ever told!!

    Now, I have noticed here at the site of the nuclear power plant in Koeberg, South Africa, that sea life in the ocean has been affected due to the heat produced by the power plant. There are also many manufacturing processes that involve cooling, e.g. just think of the making of aluminium and iron. Even just the anodising of aluminium required enormous amounts of cooling water. So here is my question that I want to throw up in the air here: could it be that all our shipping and all our power plants and manufacturing processes that involve installations whereby cool water is drawn in and then returned as much warmer water into the rivers, seas and oceans, be a / some factor in the warming of our oceans by about 0.7 C degrees over the past 50 years?

    • That seems unlikely, Henry, just because the ocean is so damn big. Hang on, let me think …

      OK, might get to it like this. Here’s how I’d attack the problem, you can look over my shoulder to see my work.

      The world produces about 155,000 terawatt-hours of energy per year. Consumption is about 110,000 TWh. The difference is lost as heat.

      The difference is about 45K terawatt-hours/year. A joule is a watt-second. So that is 1.6 E +14 megajoules per year.

      It takes 4.186 megajoules to heat a tonne of water by 1 degree. The ocean weighs 1.3E+18 tonnes. So it would take 5.4E+18 megajoules to warm the ocean by one degree.

      Now, maybe as much as 2% of the total energy loss goes into the rivers. Likely less, most human activities don’t dump energy into the rivers or the ocean. So perhaps 3.2E+12 megajoules goes into the water per year. That’s 1.6E+14 megajoules over 50 years.

      Finally, that number has been ramping up steadily over the last 50 years, so we’re looking at somewhat less, call it 1E+14 megajoules over 50 years.

      Recall it takes 5.4E+18 joules to warm the ocean by 1°C. So that total might warm the ocean by 0.00002°C over 50 years.

      Not a lot … and even if we’re out by a factor of 100, it’s still not a lot.

      Here’s another way to look at it.

      At the end of the day, most of the energy we consume ends up as heat. We use 155E+15 watt-hours of energy per year. With 8,766 hours per year, that’s a constant flux of about 1.8E13 watts.

      Dividing that by the global surface area of 5.11E+14 square metres gives us 0.04 watts per square metre … four hundredths of a W/m2 in a system where the 24/7/365 average downwelling radiation is half a kilowatt per m2.

      We like to think we’re big players in the energy game, but we’re not …


      • Willis, that is amazing! I always thought of mathematicians as magicians…You are indeed a magician! Sorry, I cannot check you up on this, but I do believe you. I did ask this question once before and I remember now getting a very similar answer from somebody else, i.e. the energy produced is next to nothing.

        Just one more question. Was the burning of fossil fuels for shipping, motor car driving and flying included in your calculation? I gather that the heat produced during flying, driving and shipping will eventually also all flush back into the rivers, seas and oceans due to the normal atmospheric processes, i.e. clouds, mist, rain, snow, etc.

        If your estimation is more or less correct, it only leaves the sun or the earth itself as a source for the extra heat coming into the oceans. Or their interaction.

        I think we cannot exclude earth as a source. I mean: who says that the cooling of earth from Genesis is always or has always been on an absolute straight line? Maybe there are some ups and downs on that line? no doubt again related to the magnetic field strength of the sun; something like a magnetic stirrer effect.
        What I mean is: incidentally, like the past 50 years, there might be more volcanic action underneath the seabeds due to a slight turning of earth’s inner core, as also witnessed by the shift in the magnetic north pole.

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