“The Bush Needs to Burn”: Climate Obsessed Greens Ignoring Indigenous Wisdom

Aussie bush fuel load
Fuel load in the Aussie bush; a tinderbox waiting for a spark. The above photo was taken a few minutes drive from my house. Author Eric Worrall

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Peter Ridd; Climate obsessed greens are ignoring advice from indigenous people to burn the bush, to prevent a bushfire catastrophe.

But Professor Reece of James Cook University, Peter Ridd’s old institution, claims traditional wisdom “has limitations”, because of the changes white people have wrought on the land – climate change and settlement.

Australia fires: Aboriginal planners say the bush ‘needs to burn’

By Gary Nunn Sydney

12 January 2020

For thousands of years, the Indigenous people of Australia set fire to the land. 

Long before Australia was invaded and colonised by Europeans, fire management techniques – known as “cultural burns” – were being practised.

The cool-burning, knee-high blazes were designed to happen continuously and across the landscape.

The fires burn up fuel like kindling and leaf detritus, meaning a natural bushfire has less to devour. 

Since Australia’s fire crisis began last year, calls for better reintegration of this technique have grown louder. But it should have happened sooner, argues one Aboriginal knowledge expert.

“The bush needs to burn,” says Shannon Foster.

She’s a knowledge keeper for the D’harawal people – relaying information passed on by her elders – and an Aboriginal Knowledge lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Experts agree that cultural burning has limitations, partly because colonisation led to development and human-created climate change, presenting us with a very different landscape now to hundreds of years ago.

Prof Preece has been in areas where, day after day, the conditions for cooler cultural burning weren’t right.

“It’d be too moist, too cool, too hot, too dry – you have a narrow window. And with many firefighters in Australia being volunteers, they’re working during the week, and you could go four Saturdays till the conditions are right.”

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-51043828

Shannon is also critical of current controlled burning policy, suggesting it leads to fires which are too intense – because it isn’t done in accordance with traditional wisdom.

You know what? I’d be happier if the government listened more to indigenous knowledge keepers like Shannon. We have to try something; the current system of forestry management clearly is not working.

144 thoughts on ““The Bush Needs to Burn”: Climate Obsessed Greens Ignoring Indigenous Wisdom

  1. There is no global warming, cooling, extreme weather or otherwise, just changeable weather and conditions as we’ve had for centuries. This con has to stop! Read “Inconvenient Facts” Gregory Wrightstone and grow up.

    • One of the inconvenient facts here is that a limited number of volunteers is not sufficient to manage the problem. That is NOT forest management , it’s abdication.

      It’d be too moist, too cool, too hot, too dry – you have a narrow window. And with many firefighters in Australia being volunteers, they’re working during the week, and you could go four Saturdays till the conditions are right.”

      so they admit there was not enough clearance being done, basically because they will not invest in salaries and expect working citizens to give up the little free they have left to manage the forestry.

      At least the next enviro rally to block controlled burning will get a pretty short shrift in local communities at risk.

      • Yes, correct, land socialism does not work.
        All national parks and land that is under government control should be sold to highest bidder.

        • There might be some controversy about setting fire to the bush in Australia but clearing vegetation around people’s houses shouldn’t be that controversial. It’s really ridiculous, and in this case, dangerous, not to be able to clear fire hazards from your own property.

          I could go out (here in the USA) and cut down every piece of vegetation on 10 acres of my land and burn it and noone would say a thing other than the local volunteer fire department likes to know in advance of any burning so that in case they get reports of smoke from that particular area, they will know the source, and won’t have to investigate.

          No restrictions on clearing land whatsoever. Of course, I do live outside the city in a rural area. Cities have different rules, but the Australian bush isn’t burning inside cities, it is burning out in the rural areas.

          Australia needs some Trumpian deregulation. Set the people free!

          • Whoa.
            All vegetation!!!.
            Here in the state of Victoria we have local state and federal laws restricting the clearing of vegetation on private land.

          • Many Australian cities do have rextensive areas of natural bushland around them where vegetation reaches into settled areas. We love our leafy green suburbs and parks and many of those are natural bushland. There are parts of most Australian cities you couldn’t pay me enough to live in!

          • The concept of State and Federal laws are not flawed in principle, here they are flawed in design and implementation

  2. I for one count this is a good step forward by Shannon Foster, and glad that the local aborigines are having their say as well. Maybe, just maybe, something will change for the better out of all this.

  3. Not to be critical – but before the ‘Indigenous’ emigrated to Australia, Northern Australia was a verdant and lush Tropical rainforest.

    Over millennia, they changed the climate of Australia with their ‘fire practices’. This is real man made climate change.

    These ‘practices’ were not based on any methodology – other than to keep a live fire (as they had no flint and iron).

    Let them celebrate their mythology – but understand it is just a myth, a dreaming within the dreamtime.

    They burnt the landscape indiscriminately.
    Surely, we can do better?

    • “Burning the bush indiscriminately” allowed animals to survive low intensity fires. The current system of forest management, not so much.

      I don’t think it really matters what the bush was like 50,000 years ago or whatever, and whose fault it is that the bush changed. We have to deal with what we have now – vegetation which has evolved to be highly flammable, which wants to burn, to clear competing species. Wishful thinking won’t turn back the clock.

      • “Burning the bush indiscriminately” allowed animals to survive low intensity fires. The current system of forest management, not so much.

        Agreed!

        More simply I am trying to counter the narrative that Australia’s Indigenous immigrants had developed some ‘greater knowledge’ – when they did not.

        • Agreed
          Local Aboriginal groups probably had a good idea of the local area in a limited time frame.
          Maybe grandpa would say something like there were more berries in this area when I was young. But there’s no way they would know they were changing the forest plant species ratio over several generations.

          • My reading of history says that the immigrant aboriginals mentioned above displaced the existing population of previous immigrant aboriginals.

            Supposedly the most isolated, genetically distant population in the world are the current aboriginals in Tasmania – about 40,000 years genetically distant from most people.

            Given that fire was used so extensively in this region, surely there are deposits of alluvial material that can be dated to show when burning practices started, evolved or changed?

            Flint and steel are not needed to create fires – a fire drill and a piece of medium hard wood works fine. People have known how to start fires for a very long time. The southern regions of the Northern Forests in Canada were managed using fire (to hold it back and create more grazing).

            The use of fire in Australia and Africa is not “magical” it is just one of the ways people change their habitat to their advantage. It doesn’t mean it was optimal, just that it provided some perceived benefit. It is pretty obvious that Australia needs more frequent and far smaller fires. Whether the ancient local practices were optimized to provide that is not certain. Let’s start with their advice and find the scientific roots of good management practices.

          • “Given that fire was used so extensively in this region, surely there are deposits of alluvial material that can be dated to show when burning practices started, evolved or changed?”

            Sure is. Look at this pollen/charcoal profile from Lynchs Crater ib Queensland:

            https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Peter_Kershaw3/publication/43455503/figure/fig8/AS:671522603687938@1537114873106/Selected-features-of-the-palaeoecological-record-from-Lynchs-Crater-in-relation-to-the_W640.jpg

            It is easy to see when the aborigines and their fire-sticks arrived – about 40,000 years ago.

        • Compared with the “knowledge” taught at the James Cook University, I’ll take the indigenous knowledge every time.

      • Eric
        In any certain forest different species have different times to maturity. Each species has a tolerable fire interval TFI
        If species #1 has a TFI of 20 years and species #2 has a TFI of 50 years, if the aborigines burnt bush on average every 30 years species #2 would die out (maybe taking centuries) and the forest would change. There is no way aborigines knew they were doing this.
        But this TFI concept is what environmentalist use to justify limiting prescribed burning

        • So if you are going to use TFI as the basis for controlling burns in order to increase the population of P2 (the good) then you need to be prepared to accept fires of disastrous size (the bad), losing both P1 and P2 in the process, OR get smarter and solve the problem another way. TANSTAAFL. This seems unlikely to happen in watermelon land, however.

        • I’m glad you said “TFI concept.” Guess how much reliable data underlies that concept: little to none.

          Here’s a quote from the primary TFI document: “The hypothesised maximums are based on problematic extrapolation of scant and somewhat contradictory data.”

          Speaking as a GIS expert (I was SW architect of one of the first popular GIS systems 😉 )… the “data” for TFI has no uncertainty levels, no sources, no actual measurements. It is conjecture based on various satellite scans and assumptions.

          Just a few obvious errors in the TFI concept:
          * Frequent small burns can be incredibly beneficial to a forest. TFI doesn’t allow for that. It assumes all burns are bad.
          * Some species are unable to reproduce without fire. TFI doesn’t allow for that.

          Perhaps it would be better to say that those promoting TFI don’t know any more than the aborigines.

          • It takes for a seed to sprout and then grow to a size where it won’t be killed by a small fire.
            If fires occur more frequently than that, then no plants will survive long enough to produce seeds.

          • Mrpete
            There are several problems with the TFI concept.
            The main problem is that if the fire experts say we need to do prescribed burning every 10 years to keep the fuel load down the Greenies say NO we need to do ecological burning every 35 years based on whatever TFI calculation. No risk assessment had taken place to compare value of flora and fauna to value of human life.
            There is an easy scientific and risk based solution.
            The area within 500m of town is prescribed burn or cleared every year.
            The area 500 to 2000m from town is prescribed burn every 7 years
            .
            The remaining forest is ecological burned based on TFI of forest species. * Above times and distance are examples.
            The above balanced approach for protecting human life and the environment is what the greens say they support but is realty they fight all they way.

          • MarkW… quicker than one might imagine.

            For meadows, typically a three year cycle is plenty.
            https://longwoodgardens.org/blog/2016-04-08/fire-meadow-beneficial-burn

            Also note: not all seeds sprout at each opportunity. There’s a bank of additional seeds underground.
            Also note: it’s incredible how animal life takes care of spreading seeds. We recently visited the “moonscape” of Mt St Helens… turns out, burrowing prairie dogs etc survived the horrific blast. Their digging brought seeds to the surface. And roving antelope pooped on the black ground, providing fertilizer and more seeds. 😀

      • 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals in Europe were in the midst of an ice age, I doubt that the Australian Aborigines’ controlled burns affected the climate worldwide, but I DON’T doubt that the end of the latest ice age affected climate worldwide,

      • In the complete absence of humans, it is only a matter of time until lightning sets a forest on fire probably with higher fuel load and thus more devastation than the puny agrarian and wildlife herding efforts of humans. Probably, humans also set fires so they had refuges from deadly conflagration during next year’s hunt, since trying to outrun a forest fire would be very incentivizing as far as future planning.

      • In my experience Australian aboriginals did not burn the bush to mitigate bushfire risk. They burnt the bush to make hunting easier. As a young man doing gold exploration in the mid-1960’s, I witnessed aboriginals at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory burn bush to drive out of hiding and capture one of their favourite foods, Sand Goanna. We also burnt bush on a regular basis to provide easy access for gold exploration. We had aboriginals in our field crews, and I expect that it was their influence that led to the practice.

    • “These ‘practices’ were not based on any methodology –

      Yet so many, including farmers, fire-fighters and Parks and Wildlife, are now interested in learning their non-methods.

      “other than to keep a live fire (as they had no flint and iron).”

      Humans were starting fires hundreds of thousands of years before iron was smelted.

      • The Aborigionals used fire to catch and kill their prey in one move. Todays barbecues are a far cry from the aboriginal big affairs, although they now much prefer ours as the beer is expertly chilled these days

      • That’s true Loydo and they used fire to flush out game. Interestingly enough I grew up in the Northern Territory with Wet and Dry seasons and fire was an ever present companion in the Dry season. So much so that it wasn’t a threat as the fires burned the understory and you didn’t have crown fires and the hawks and kites would have a field day circling over them and hunting small fauna.

        Ask yourself where are all the reports of catastrophic fires in the north of Australia? You think the north doesn’t have trees and bush then check out the video of Litchfield Park-
        https://northernterritory.com/darwin-and-surrounds/destinations/litchfield-national-park
        It is true there isn’t the property and people in harm’s way but the bushfires there are so regular they’re not the runaway threat they are in the populated south east where fire has been effectively banned by ignorant eco-freaks. There’s also a large aboriginal population in the Territory.

    • I thought tropical rainforests were supposed to be too damp to burn until they had been dried out by climate change.

      • Not so there are wet and dry seasons. Darwin has a monsoon climate. The months from July to November are relatively dry. October and November are the main bushfire times. Dry lightning from storms before the monsoon light fires. The same happens on the east coast of Queensland. We have subtropical rain forest in SEQld. The dry months are July, August and September sometimes going into October and November as this year when there were fires (lit by arsonists). The wet months are January, February and March where at my place the average for these months is 240-260mm (it is raining now). The rains get heavy in these months from cyclones from the tropical pacific ocean. It is possible in a wet year to get 200 to 1000mm in one day.

        • But the warmists told me that the tropical forests would never burn before Climate Change (TM) hit them. Are you suggesting that they were divagating just a fraction form the truth? Surely they would never do that.

      • Actually there was much more wet forests during earlier interglacials. The patches left now in Australia are relicts, in places where they are protected from fire.

        Australia only has monsoon forest, not true wet-all-year rainforest. To find that you have to go to New Guinea, and even there some parts, like Trans-Fly and the area around Port Moresby, are monsoon forests.

    • Surely, we can do better?

      who are “we”

      land socialism is baloney — only private ownership can solve problem.

    • a happy little debunker – January 13, 2020 at 6:19 pm

      These ‘practices’ were not based on any methodology – other than to keep a live fire (as they had no flint and iron).

      Are you actually brain silly, …… or just pretending to be?

      Ancient humans learned to start fires long before “flint & steel” was ever invented.

      1. friction hand drill
      2. two person friction drill
      3. pump fire drill
      4. fire plough
      5. bow drill
      6. fire piston
      7. flint & steel
      https://www.instructables.com/id/7-Methods-of-Primitive-Fire-Starting/

    • I sincerely doubt these aboriginal fires changed the climate very much. It did probably change the biome in Australia by a considerable amount.

      We need to be more accurate in our descriptions. Biome IS NOT climate! The flora and fauna that can survive in a given area determine the biome description and while climate does influence what can survive it is obviously not the sole determining factor.

    • “Surely, we can do better?”

      Not easily. Yes, it might be possible to change back into less eucalypt-dominated forests, such as existed during earlier interglacials. If you could avoid all bushfires for several hundred years. Not so easy that.

      Or you might try to replace eucalypts by planting other trees that are also fire-resistant, but less fire prone. For example sequoias do rather well in Australia and might be planted to replace Mountain Ash, which is ecologically rather similar but burns like blazes.

      • Not sure it would take several hundred years. Estimates are that if the prairies of the central US are not burned regularly they would be taken over by evergreen species (cedar, pine, etc) within 30 to 40 years. I suspect the same thing would happen in any kind of savanna, be it in the US, Africa, Australia, etc.

        • Estimates are that if the prairies of the central US are not burned regularly they would be taken over by evergreen species (cedar, pine, etc) within 30 to 40 years.

          I seriously doubt that the prairies of the central US would burn very often during the cool, cold, wet periods such as the Younger Dryas, Little Ice Age, etc. Periods suitable for conifer growth.

          And even if they didn’t burn, ….. it would still take at least a couple hundred years for the “seeds” of said evergreen species to spread (migrate) across the expanse of the American prairies.

          The grazing animals, especially the Bison (buffalo), would have done as much damage to tree seedlings as a fire would.

          • Unburned savannah creates a layer of dry mulch that is excellent tinder for lightning strikes to set on fire. The central plains of the US and those in central Africa have been semi-arid deserts for for literally millenia. It’s why the prairie grasses have developed root systems that go 8 feet deep or deeper. It’s why they can withstand fires, the root systems are not destroyed and quickly regenerate.

            While the buffalo herds were vast they were not ubiquitous. Farmers and ranchers today who don’t burn have a continual fight against blue spruce even though the pastures are heavily used as feed for browsing cattle. The blue spruce has a shallow root system and burning a pasture will destroy any that have taken root. Cattle won’t eat blue spruce or cedar. They can only damage them by knocking them over and trampling them. Some always survive.

            I have lived in the rural areas of the central US plains for 70 years. I have seen farmers use bulldozers to clean off pastures that have been overgrown with spruce and other brush growth. I have also seen those darn blue spruce repopulate, admittedly rather sparsely, with five years!

          • I have lived in the rural areas of the central US plains for 70 years. I have seen farmers use bulldozers to clean off pastures that have been overgrown with spruce and other brush growth. I have also seen those darn blue spruce repopulate, admittedly rather sparsely, with(in) five years!

            Tim Gorman, …… to wit:

            Colorado spruce (also called blue spruce) is a pyramidal conifer native to Colorado and the central Rocky Mountains. It has been extensively planted across Nebraska in shelterbelts and landscapes and is one of the most common evergreens in communities, especially in central and western Nebraska.https://nfs.unl.edu/woody-plants/blue-spruce-colorado

            And shur nuff, Tim Gorman, …… iffen the Blue Spruce seeds are buried in the humus, ….. they will re-populate within a few years.

    • I suspect the retreat of the Ice Age had some bearing on any decline of historic Australian rain forests.

      Also, Australia currently boasts many rain forests; one is claimed to be one of the oldest in existence. shrug

  4. Bush management was much easier in Aboriginal Times when the population was 318,000, or so, Nomads than now when there are 25,000,000 settled homeowners. Nevertheless, the Aboriginal method of bush management is still the best compared to the Greenie head-in-the-sand method.

    • The 25 million current inhabitants are largely based in the coastal cities. The bush is largely unpopulated by comparison. Sure, the bits that worry humans most are nearer human settlements, but large stretches of bush are a long way from significant settlements.

      Educating people to unintended fire setting, and taking a tougher hand to those intentionally creating blazes will both help as well. But no … our national broadcaster is all focused on fires being exacerbated by climate change.

  5. The Aboriginals were doing it for thousands of years with little problems. Why not let property owners clear brush along their lands to maintain structure safety and let the Aboriginals continue with prescribed burn management?

    • “Prof Preece has been in areas where, day after day, the conditions for cooler cultural burning weren’t right.
      “It’d be too moist, too cool, too hot, too dry – you have a narrow window.”

      Yeah, the Aborigines were checking the weather before starting any burns to keep the fuel load under control. Me thinks they are making the idea of a burn much too conditional. Light the darn thing and let it burn. It is a mistake to put a strict scientist or bureaucrat in charge of something because they will impose all kinds of imagined “important” conditions on a process.

      • yeah we now have vehicles with firetanks n pumps so burning on warmer/drier days(within limits, wind being a large risk) might be smarter

        now heres a funny
        our vicroads are doing works on a towns main(only) rd about 20km away from tues to friday lanes closed delays etc warning given..
        so what?
        well a tad further along IN that town they have a controlled burn planned for WED
        so restricted access machinery all over thenlight a fire?
        gee thats clever!
        seeing as its been high 30slast days and we have TWO fires within 25k of my town this afternoon , ones suss as theres NO lightning or rain etc, the others prob a deep stump relit a prior firezone.

      • As I read it, the Aborigines were constantly lighting fires, whether for driving game, attacking other groups, defending themselves from same, or trying to keep the fire sticks going. The continent was never NOT burning and fuel loads were minuscule, much lower than between even the most aggressive burn schedules ever done by forest management in Oz. If the interval was 3 years instead of 30, how much less fuel would you see on the ground?

  6. The perfect is the enemy of good enough.
    Too cold, too wet, too hot, yadda yadda yadda…
    I am guessing that there are broad ranges of acceptability, but the only acceptable answer for too many people is just simply, NO.

    • Part of the problem of having a lack of suitable conditions is a lack of having suitable numbers of qualified people available to do the job. The vast majority of our rural firefighters are volunteers who are simply not available 7 days a week. Dragging forestry staff from their regular duties will cause other priorities to drop. A dedicated force to do the job would be idle most of the year. Finding a workable balance will, I suspect, be very difficult and very expensive.

      • The royal commission for the 2009 bushfires made it clear the Victorian government was to fully FUND and be held accountable for a rolling average of 5% prescribed burning of public land.
        If there is an issue with weather you need to then plan of fully resource 7-8% per year to cover any problems. Current rolling average about 1.5% no excuses the Victorian government has FAILED

      • Part of the problem of having a lack of suitable conditions is a lack of having suitable numbers of qualified people available to do the job.

        Problem is land socialism.
        If it is privately own and mismanaged at least people affected can sue the absolute shit out of them in every way.

    • ”The perfect is the enemy of good enough.
      Too cold, too wet, too hot, yadda yadda yadda…”

      To paraphrase a bloke speaking on this very argument on the radio yesterday ”Ábsolute bullsh*t
      Where is the evidence that the ”widow has narrowed” in the last couple of decades? I don’t buy it for a second.

      • Mike,
        The approval to burn has become a longer process, like 3 months notice in advance some places. That narrows the window. Geoff S

      • Poor widow. 😉

        But the recent decades are because BoM/Csiro did a report based on 1970’s to 1990’s. Never mind the historical fires. They never existed by default. Australia has good records from 1925 on.

  7. Why not just listen to the older fire fighters who were burning off without any major issues back in the ’70s and ’80s?

    • Climate activists and their puppet masters don’t give a dam for facts, opinions, experience or what works, their goals are to control us via their insidious propaganda and no amount of evidence will change an iota of their objective, to take over and control western civilisation (the jewel in the worlds crown) in a totalitarian dictatorship. Communism cum marxism. Facts just get in the way.

    • Lots of deadly bushfires in the 70s and 80s including the
      Ash Wednesday bushfires South Australia &Victoria 16 February 1983
      1,030,000 acres burnt 75 burnt about 2,400 houses destroyed.

  8. Same with American Indians- they did controlled burns, too Pioneers in Oregon territory note places like th eWillamette Valley were clean and open. Due to the regular fires. Other tirbes , too it was also to improve game habitat..
    “The white man may know a lot of things, but he doesn’t know everything..” Old Salish saying..

    • Some years back, when the National Forest Service let a “controlled burn” go wild (burning a fair-sized chunk of western New Mexico and Eastern Arizona), there was a sharp line beyond which the fire did not go. That line “just happened” to be the border of the White River Apache Reservation. Their land did NOT burn, as they practiced proper management. (Which includes not only small low temperature burns, but also manual brush clearing and livestock grazing.)

    • “The problem with our liberal friends isn’t that they don’t know anything, but that they know so many things that just ain’t so.” – Ronald Regan

    • I grew up in the Willamette Valley when you could still do field burning and there’s a lesson I learned from government involvement.

      Before government got involved in when we could burn our fires were hot, clean burning (little smoke) and over with fast. This was done by plowing a fire break around the field and as soon as the harvesting was done in that section, drop a match. Burning can be done in as little as 20-30 minutes

      Once government got involved the conditions had to be just right. Right temperature, right humidity, right wind direction (can’t have any smoke heading towards a city). By the time we were allowed to burn a field the straw had been rained on several times and green grass was growing. This made starting a fire hard, it burned slow and smoke like mad. We are talking slow like in hours to burn a field instead of minutes.

  9. Anybody able to explain why ‘too moist’ or ‘too cold’ are problems? (If it’s because they can’t get the fire to start in the first place, perhaps they just need to try harder and give every boy scout a box of matches and say, ‘bet you can’t get a forest fire going…’)

    • Just tell the boy scouts that they can’t bring matches. They will find a way.

    • I do not understand this concept of being to cold to burn. I’ve had extremely hot fires outside when it was in the single F digits, hot enough to consume 3-foot wide stumps. If there is enough fuel and flame to get a fire going, fires generate their own heat; the outside temp is pretty much irrelevent. And I can cut down a tree and burn it up while green once the leaves have dried. They are actually much easier to control when the wood is wet.

      • Surely you understand that none of our ancestors survived the bitter winters before industrialization because it was too cold to start a fire. Otherwise they’d still be with us.

        /sarc off

          • Actually, not a campfire, but “d@mn” wood I needed to get rid of. The goats sure enjoyed it. Went to sleep and woke up to find they basking in it’s radiant warmth (which was the reason for the fire at that particular time, i.e., to keep them warm)

  10. The trouble today with having to schedule pre-determined areas of bushland fuel to cool burn is that favourable conditions don’t just occur when we want them to.

    My understanding of ‘pattern’ burning is that the ancient aboriginals just conducted patch-work burns when conditions were permitting.

    I doubt that they had a pre-determined quota and schedules.

    • All true except the ancient bit; these traditions are alive today in many areas. Unfortunately there are plenty of places in the south and east where living aboriginal local knowledge has been lost and so the lessons might have to be relearned, in many cases, the hard way.

      • Also and equally unfortunate, there are far too many greenies that do all they can to stop prescribed burning to “Negate preconceived Habitat Damage” regardless of the potential for greater damage to happen via unplanned ignition

      • Local crews doing a few stretches of bush – a gully here, a ridge there – every other week or daily when there’s a dominant high system overhead would get a lot of fuel burned over the course of a year.

        Just in rural areas though. The remote inaccessible bushlands will have to do what they’ve always done – burn until they reach a wide break or until rain inevitably comes.

      • yeah..or we could just graze more roadsides and parks using electric fences in spring through to the real hot weather..
        and make sure we have wide well cleared areas through and around parks etc
        lotta flack beginning re landowners and somes justified ie yuppy bushblock do nothing fools
        but themajority cant get approvals to cut overgrown saplings let alone proteted woody weeds like the acacia in Vic thats a damned pig for burning even in winter.
        I and a few others are getting damned sick of the claims being made for aboriginal caretakers sacred whatevers and “culture”
        even 60yrs ago living IN the NT there was little culture and a lot of whingeing n sponging off whitey
        and it hasnt changed

    • Observing history means it is sooner or later discovered there is “Nothing New Under the Sun”
      Understanding History means it is eventually discovered “What happened in the geological past will happen again”

  11. A really good video tracking the recovery of the forest after the last big fire in Victoria a few years ago.

    • Yes, I was there last February and the area is remarkable in its recovery. The yellow Pea that is described is abundant. I had seen it elsewhere but was astonished at its profusion here. So much so that in my ignorance I originally thought it must be an invasive species. Hats off to the Parks Victoria staff who have worked so hard to get the area accessible to the public again.

    • I absolutely distinctly remember the ”experts” and ”scientists” saying the following after Black Saturday.

      #1 ”this is different”
      #2 ”this is unprecedented”
      #3 ” it has killed all the trees and it’s not like a normal fire”
      #4 ”It has even burned down into the soil and destroyed the seed bank”
      #5 ”These forests will never be the same”
      #6 ”These forests probably will never recover”
      This is a good example of the extent to which most experts, including climate experts, actually know as opposed to what they say they know. If it’s only one thing this whole saga has taught me, it is to be much more sceptical about almost everything.
      It’s also the reason why I just have to laugh when someone links to ”skepticalscience”

    • I am sure the extra CO2 in the atmosphere also had nothing to do with the forest’s recovery.

      The above is sarcasm….

  12. The Bunya Mountains in Queensland contain a superb rainforest remnant with great floral and faunal diversity. It only takes a twenty minute walk from there to the escarpment to reach a totally different dry sclerophyll landscape, one that with floral variations stretches over the majority of the Australian land mass.

    This Eucalypt dominated land is dry, the trees and bush leaves are oily, the bark is stringy and very flammable and floor debris builds up and, being dry, does not break down to humus readily.

    It is a land dominated by low rainfall, no doubt assisted by indigenous land practices, but I suspect that millennia of low rainfall drove the rainforest to remnant patches, human interference(“traditional wisdom”), merely managed what was there.

    It is, and will continue to be fire prone, no matter what we do.

    • It is, and will continue to be fire prone, no matter what we do.

      This. We have to do everything we can to reduce the intensity, but most years there will big fires and unless we remove all the native forests, in drought years there will be infernos where early warning and evacuation is the only resort.

      • stopping idiots building surrounded by forest and planting more back on land they think theyre reclaiming for nature
        stop the govt paying them to lock up and NOT be able to touch in any way l arge segments of scrub trash on farms!
        green climate fools supported and pushed for the funding cos “climate”

    • They support prescribed burns, but only under certain conditions.
      It’s not their fault that those conditions have never been met.

    • Appropriate conditions for burning depend on fuel load. If you burn too infrequently the window for burning is dramatically reduced by the excess fuel.

    • Greens may not be in power in any Australian Parliament but they do hold a key block of the cross bench in the Federal Senate. That gives them and the other minor parties some considerable clout. That’s life and the PM of the day has to work with it.

      • Nonsense. I burned some dry dead grass after a rain the other day when it was in the 30s F and the ground was soaking wet. Safest time to burn. Academics/bureaucrats need to get their heads out of their @sses and learn something about the real world.

    • You link to The Conversation? Hummmm…no bias there. I would go and look at local authority environment and sustainability statements to get a better understanding of “green” political influence in local govn’t policy. It’s a real eye opener. I guess if you are a typical “green”, you would not know what the country side is other than what is posted at The Conversation.

    • The party itself may not be in power yet most local councils will have an abundance of green-leaning idealists. They control everything in those councils.

  13. “Experts agree that cultural burning has limitations” Could they be the same experts who wouldn’t listen to Canada’s Inuit who said for several decades, the ‘experts’ were underestimating the number of polar bears in Canada’s Arctic?

  14. Anthropogenic firebreaks to protect people and property. Allow Nature’s Green policy to reduce, reuse, and recycle the rest.

    • I suspect slash and burn makes a lot of sense if you don’t have modern agricultural chemicals. A lot of pest eggs and fungus spores don’t survive a nice hot fire.

      • Welcome to the Holocene Interglacial! It’s only around 11,500 years old so far, & seeing that most over the last 2 million years lasted around 10-20,000 years, we hopefully should be ok, but being Nature, there’e no gaurantee!

  15. I am awaiting the Royal Commission in to the fires. As the Greens will be bleating “climate change” , it is only reasonable that we put John Cook on the witness stand and ask him this simple question-“In your 2013 paper, Quantifying the Consensus, which provided a comprehensive review of 11,944 papers over a 21 year period, how many papers came to the conclusion that human CO2 as distinct from natural sources of CO2 is the dominant cause of catastrophic or dangerous global warming/ climate change?” Perhaps request the actual papers, since it is a Royal Commission.

    I would love to see the look on Richard di Natale’s face when it emerges that there is only smoke and mirrors as “solid” evidence with ZERO actual proof.

    John Cook’s seminal 2013 paper has such a large (totally comprehensive) sample size that it is actually a fatal weakness in terms of a conclusion. If a comprehensive review of so much literature that would contain the “Holy Grail”/ smoking gun of scientific literature over such a long period of time shows there is no actual evidence that can justify the radical “climate action” that the Greens want in general, then some pretty strong conclusions can be reached in terms of the validity of the hypothesis of catastrophic climate outcomes caused by human CO2. The Greens will bleat- 100% consensus with some further semantic manipulation.

    Add to this the Andy Pitman admission that as far as the climate scientists know, there is no link between drought and climate change, in spite of what the media report.

    As for the chair of the Royal Commission, I have a few names to bring forth- Craig Kelly MP, Senator Malcolm Roberts, Professor Ian Plimer and for legal expertise, Professor David Flint. On a lighter note, it would be hilarious if the chair was SHY. I can just see the YouTube videos with her believing all the fakes such as barren desert on fire and saying billions of animals will be killed in hazard reduction burns. Perhaps we should just make the video of the spoof Royal Commission for a hoot.

    Roll on with the circus. I hope members of the public will be allowed to witness the momentous admissions that there is no evidence whatsoever that can justify the radical actions the Greens propose. Perhaps the juicy testimony needs to be conducted at the Olympic stadium with people paying $80 a head to be part of history and to do something really useful , like buy a couple of firefighting flying supertankers.

    The drinks down at the pub after could be quite “interesting” with skeptics celebrating with carbonated beer etc and the warmists soiling their nappies and crying over their champagne .

    • It really would be a godsend if such a Royal Commission exposed the blatant lies and deception of the Catastrophic Climate Change juggernaut and this became the catalyst to bring down the whole house of cards world wide. Maybe every cloud does have a silver lining?

  16. The professed superlative indigenous land management must have failed most miserably in Victoria during 1851.

    • By 1851, hadn’t a lot of the aborigines been killed or driven out of the arable areas of Victoria?

    • Yes, actually most had been killed by disease, particularly the big smallpox epidemic 1829-31. 1851 probably marks the first time when enough fuel for a catastophic bushfire had accumulated.

  17. Not allowing Aborigines to burn, because they wanted the pasture, caused the dreadful fire of 1851 which burned about half of Victoria.
    Rolf Boldrewood talks about watching Aborigines burning techniques when he made a journey from Melbourne to Port Fairy in his book ‘Melbourne Memories” published in 1890 (?). In one case the bushfire was approaching across grassland towards a homestead. The old Aborigine went about five paces into the grass from a road, then every ten paces he lit the grass and let if burn towards the road. He did this for 250 metres then turned, stepped five paces into the grass and started lighting the grass again, and so on, until he had an area 50 metres wide that was burnt. The approaching fire reached the burnt out area and, of course, stopped.

    The second instance: late in the afternoon, in a grass paddock along the coast the Aborigines lit a fire along a 250 metre front with the sea breeze behind it. The grass burned vigorously until dark when the sea breeze stopped and was replaced by the land breeze. The fire then turned with the wind and burnt back on itself and, of course then went out.

    I know this was grassland but the principle of using the natural elements showed the mastery of the skill.

    Not allowing people who want to burn the roadside scrub beside their land when it is cool, to not clear fence lines, to not collect fire wood from dead wood along the roads is madness. The other thing I have noticed is the lack of ploughed strips or graded strips (fire breaks) along roads in properties. It seems no one expects a fire to enter their property, ever.

    One farmer I spoke to said he used to plough strips every 50 metres across his grass paddocks, then burn along one strip every year so that there was always a clear strip that would not carry a fire.

    Bill Gammage’s book “The Biggest Estate on Earth” gave clear evidence of the park-like landscape that the first settlers to any area noted. Clean open forest was the norm interspersed with areas of thick scrub that gave refuge to animals. Small areas were always freshly burned – they gave a concentrate feeding area for hunting game. Most of Australia looked like this. New farmers found the ground plough ready – no scrub, not bushes, just clean open ground or open forest.

    • “The old Aborigine…showed the mastery of the skill”

      Thats a bit different to “people who want to burn the roadside scrub beside their land”.

      There are a lot of people who have no such mastery as that old Aborigine had in 1890 with his knowledge the product of 10s of thousands of years of first trial and error. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be burnt, just pointing out the risk of swinging the regulation pendulum too far the other way and the gap in our understanding. The only to bridge that gap quickly and to reduce fuel loads quickly is by a massive investment in things like training and fire services.

  18. Way too much academic, media and greenie hand-wringing going on, they over-complicate everything with imaginary drivel, worries and excuses. This is how anything that’s necessary doesn’t get done. Ignore the noise makers, the political grand-standers, idiotic protesters and ‘debate’ hijackers, and just get it done. ‘Consulting’ with the ‘community’ is how nothing happens.

  19. In my personal experience the biggest obstacle to doing the appropriate amount of hazard of reduction burns, is not the weather but the NSW NPWS and the bureaucracy surrounding the process, it is designed to allow them to refuse the most hazard reductions they can get away with refusing.

  20. Hey Simon have think as to how long Aborigines have been here. 50 – 60,000 years? How long have we been here? Some 200 years. Green party, prescribed burning, hottest ever recorded, its all irrelevant in the time period of indigenous habitation. I mean there’s been an ice age in between. Just consider for a moment how much they would have learnt, adapted and altered the landscape and how they have seen wild climatic fluctuations in that time. The link you provided just adds to the ignorance of what I have just described.
    The root cause of the current situation of today’s infernos is not learning from our indigenous forefathers and how they managed the landscape for thousands of years prior to our hiccup.

  21. My experience in the Northern Territory of Australia was observing both aboriginals and cattle station owners driving throughout their areas throwing matches (with long heads) out the window.
    This was at the late stage or just after the wet season, the spear grass had dried and fallen over with the wind.
    There was still some soil moisture. A fire burnt about 5-10 acres and would go out by night with the dew.
    After about 10 days the grass regenerated with the soil moisture.
    This resulted in a series of patches a bit like a chess board with some burnt but green and other areas unburnt.
    This gave good green pick to both cattle and native animals.
    The unburnt areas gave some protection from predators.
    When a fire came all the animals moved to the burnt ares to avoid the greater heat in the fires.
    Even if the grass had died in the previous green areas later in the dry, the animals knew the fire would be much less dangerous.
    The aboriginals set fire to high burnable grass not just for hunting but also they said “it looked untidy”
    They preferred the height lower.

  22. In. Victoria where Black Saturday bushfires came through the north of the city and out west along the coastal communities there have been no fires of any description. I think it’s not coincidental that areas which have recently ( 10 years ago) have suffered major bushfires had no bushfires this summer. Either the memories have influenced their councils to be more vigilant or the bushfires of 2009 have helped protect them this summer. If the major fires were started by lightning as claimed why did it only affect areas that have avoided fires in the last 40-50 years. Lightning must have been prevalent throughout Victoria but can only take hold where the fuel load enhances combustion . It’s just another inconvieient fact that points to greens inspired forest management failures increasing the fuel load.

  23. All you need to know about current bushfires in Victoria is available in the following State government data.

    Victoria’s recommended annual planned burn target agreed to from the Royal Commission into the 2009 bushfires is 390,000Ha.

    Actual planned burn area:
    2018-19- 130,000 Deficit- 260.000
    2017-18- 74,728 Deficit- 315,272
    2016-17- 125,052 Deficit- 264,948
    2015-16- 197,940 Deficit- 192.060
    2014-15- 234,614 Deficit- 36,674

    Cumulative deficit over the last 5 years totals 1,068,954Ha. Planned burns only achieved 45% of the target over the last 5 years. An honourable premier would stand down over such a dismal performance on such a critical target.

    You do not see these numbers in the popular press. They are readily available in government reports.

    One way or another, the bush will burn. Without cool burns for fuel reduction, each accidental fire controlled early results in more fuel accumulation and that simply means the fuel is building for an uncontrollable catastrophic fire some time in the future.

  24. Its not “indigenous wisdom” we need to listen to, but our own science-based common sense. And that has told us several times that forest fuel loads need to be reduced constantly and continually to prevent catastrophic burns. Its really not that hard to grasp.

  25. The “narrow window” narrative is the RESULT of insufficient burning, not the cause.

    When fuel levels are kept low, you have far more leeway. It is when they are permitted to increase that the weather becomes more critical.

    ….. and the use of volunteers as unpaid labour for Government agencies that are not meeting their responsibilities is an abuse of the community good-will that prompts volunteering.

    We are hereto protect our communities. Not to cover bureaucrats’ arses.

  26. I don’t know if anyone else sees a parallel between
    1. lots of little fire to help prevent the big one – the hand of man
    2. Lots of little tremors to help prevent the big one. frakking – the hand of man

    both violently opposed by the greenies

  27. Ok people, forget everything you have ever known, learned or studied. Loydo is here to state “truth”.

  28. Heed the warning from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Central West area manager Fiona Buchanan, in April last year: ‘We are getting the message out there that removing firewood, including deadwood and fallen trees, is not permitted in national parks. We want people to know the rules around firewood collection…it’s important people are aware that on-the-spot fines apply but also very large fines can be handed out by the courts.’

    She wasn’t bluffing. A man had earlier been fined $30,000 ($20,000 US) for illegally collecting firewood in the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. Why? Because, as Buchanan explained: ‘Many ground-dwelling animals and threatened species use tree hollows for nesting, so when fallen trees and deadwood is taken illegally, it destroys their habitat. This fallen timber is part of these animals’ natural ecosystem.’

    Those natural ecosystems are now, across thousands of hectares of national parks in New South Wales, nothing but cinders and ash. Enjoy your protected habitat, little ground-dwellers.

  29. This discussion is all too familiar.

    Three things are required for fire. Heat, Oxygen, and Fuel. You have all seen the fire triangle. Remove one leg of the triangle to control the fire. Which leg can be preemptively managed by man in the near term to reduce fire risk? It isn’t heat and it isn’t oxygen.

    I live in the mountains of Colorado where we have significant wildfire risk due to overgrown forests. [high fuel loads in dense overgrown forests]. This excessive fuel load is the result of eliminating fire from the forests generations ago. Our forest management policies failed to retain fire as a risk management tool. As a result, in the last 20 years we have experienced wildfire conflagrations in Colorado instead of manageable wildfires.

    We have had our problems with escaped controlled burns [prescriptive fire] and as a result, have resorted more to mechanical mitigation and thinning methods. Although we still burn when we can. The end goal is still the same … reduce [not eliminate] the fuel. This doesn’t involve “clearing” the land. The goal is to return the forests to their previous fire tolerant condition that will not sustain crown fire conflagrations but will allow manageable surface fires. In some WUI areas we are actually making progress. In many others we are not because mechanical fuels management isn’t cheap and convincing our politicians that they must support adequate mitigation has been extraordinarily difficult.

    Our politicians don’t live in the forests and as a result cannot appreciate the scope or urgency of the problem. They haven’t stood behind their house and watched a miles long flame front approaching their property. For those that have, the answer seems “Homer Simpson obvious … duh”. Reduce the fuels any way you can. If you cannot burn it, get out the manpower necessary to mitigate mechanically. If the fuels are reduced, so is your fire risk.

    For those who believe we should attempt to or can manage fire weather instead of fuels, good luck. It won’t work. Our worst local wildfire occurred during a cold front passage in the winter 8 years ago with snow on the ground.

  30. Huh??😐. The land is empty, so still the same?

    Experts agree that cultural burning has limitations, partly because colonisation led to development and human-created climate change, presenting us with a very different landscape now to hundreds of years ago.

  31. Does anyone still remember when California burnt and Trump said that this is more of a Land Management issue? He was derided but it turns out that Trump might have been more in tune with old aboriginal wisdom than those green extremists that want to abrogate human existence on this planet.

    • The bureaucrats in DC as well as most elected politicians have no idea any more of what it is like to live in a rural area. They are 100% “citified” and the only fires they have any experience with are house and building fires that are, of course, bad and tragic. Trump at least has been in rural areas being developed for golf curses and such. He’s at least talked with real people in rural areas. I’m sure his common sense is far greater than any bureaucrat in DC that has lived in asphalt and concrete jungles their entire life.

  32. When I was a boy I can remember the whole sparse but local community came together to burn off their
    properties every couple of years and in the 10 years I lived in that Aus bushland area not one house was lost to bush fires.
    All this without the help of Firefighters or their equipment, only the people on the ground using wet hessian
    bags and freshly broken off tree branches or the odd pump or two. Without the build up of fuel it was no great drama.
    I just wonder what has happened since, being one of those old white men without any knowledge I am at a loss.

  33. Humans are de-evolving. aka getting stupider.

    How many polymaths are there today compared to the past? Do you even know what polymath means?

    The intelligence on earth is fixed. The population is growing. You do the math if you can.

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