Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t JoNova; According to a former regional forest manager with over 60 years experience managing bushfires, government incompetence, fuel load and local green activists are responsible for Australia’s 2020 bushfire disaster, not climate change.
An Inferno of Incompetence and Obfuscation
17th January 2020
The most frequent question I have received over the last month is “who is to blame for the bushfire mess up and down the east coast?” There is a school of thought, mostly put about by state premiers, that the blame game is bad form. We should put the whole bushfire business behind us and move on, they say. Forget the past, the future will be wonderful. I reject this concept, because in any disaster situation lessons must be learned (or rather re-learned) and those lessons applied to improving the way things are done. I also believe those who need to be accountable for the current mess must be identified and the ways they have let us down highlighted.
The trouble with side-stepping accountability is that mistakes are perpetuated. The same people go back to business as usual, and the same disasters re-occur. If nobody has done anything wrong, as the premiers maintain, no changes need to be made.
This, of course, is the beauty of the “blame it all on climate change” position. If climate change caused the bushfires, no individual can be pinned, not even those “fire chiefs” who were in charge during the entire time the current disaster was incubating and who now suddenly know what was the problem.
I reject the ‘blame it on climate change” position because it has two killer flaws: firstly, it ignores fuels, which are the main contributor to uncontrollable fires during a drought; secondly, it provides no practical solutions to the immediate problem. Both of these factors render the climate change argument utterly unsustainable, indeed ridiculous.
It is very obvious who the people are who should be held accountable for the current mess.
At the top of the list are the premiers and ministers responsible for land management, such as it is, and bushfire policy, and the public servants in their departments with jurisdiction over forests and national parks. State governments in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria have palpably failed to do the most important job they were elected to do: protect the lives and livelihoods of their citizens and the health of their environment. And their public servants have failed to do the job they are being paid to do: serve the public.
Local government authorities are also high on the list of those accountable — and here again state governments bear responsibility, as they should never have allowed them to get away with the nonsenses we have seen coming out of town halls over recent years with respect to vegetation clearing and building approvals. Some premier or minister should have cracked down hard on this foolishness, and cracked down hard.
Roger Underwood is a former district an regional forester in Western Australia with over 60 years experience in bushfire science, planning and operationsRead more: https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2020/01/an-inferno-of-incompetence-and-obfuscation/
To be fair, there is no doubt dry conditions have made managing the bush especially challenging the last few years. A few of the smarter greens have started suggesting that fuel loads are high, because climate change is making it too difficult to conduct controlled burns.
But accepting the climate change explanation for poor fuel load control would not absolve greens of responsibility. If green anti-burn activists are causing narrow windows of opportunity to be missed, the activists and their political and media enablers carry even more responsibility for this year’s bushfire disaster.