Regional Forest Manager: Politicians are Using Climate Change to Deflect Blame for Bushfires

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
Roger Underwood

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 operations

Read 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.

133 thoughts on “Regional Forest Manager: Politicians are Using Climate Change to Deflect Blame for Bushfires

  1. “Climate Change” is now simultaneously the universal excuse for bad Progressive policy and the excuse for more bad Progressive policy.

        • Humans can start fire accidentally – car crash leads to grass fire.
          Humans can start fire by stupidity – bbq fire on total fire ban day.
          Humans can start fire intentionally- aka arsonist.
          The last two reasons are illegal and can incur jail time. You can be arrested.
          Fires caused by arson and stupidity are a real issue.
          On a personal note – our vacant rural property was once totally burnt because the neighbour was using oxy cutting tools on a total fire ban day. He was held responsible

          • Waza: Been there, seen that. One of the largest grass fires in our area was due to welding on a fire ban day. Another due to using a chain saw. BOTH activities were stated to not be allowed as part of the fire ban. One fool managed to burn his grandmother’s house down, along with several hundred acres. The only climate that changed is the intellectual one, and it is devolving.

        • Give us the truth then, Nick. Go on! You know you want to.

          Facts, figures, sources. Just like we do in science every day. Evidence. Proof. You know how it’s dond.

        • Did you melt when you read it? Seriously, you have zero science in your comments and look more like a preacher in a church. Nick, you dissappoint….Ad hominems, strawmen. So sad.

        • Call it a lie if you please, but of that 183 a number were arsonists, some 30 at least, and the rest were charged with reckless casting away cigarettes, etc. The end result of either is a fire in a difficult to control situation.

          • “The end result of either is a fire in a difficult to control situation.”
            No, in many, probably most, cases no fire was involved at all. 24 were charged with deliberately lighting a fire; others just did things that breached broad safety rules. Like using an incinerator in a back yard on a fire ban day.

        • Murdock press bad.

          You haven’t refuted the claim of people being arrested for arson and/or inadvertently starting fires. You’ve just made an unsubstantiated claim.

          • It’s what leftist scum do. LIE! Obfuscate. Holier than thou control over all you think and do. Disgusting people.

        • So Nick Knock are fires new to Australia? Only my use of my SUV could be the cause right? Good god you leftist are sickening puppies.

        • Nick is correct. Nevertheless 183 were arrested/cited/charged/cautioned for starting fires.

          Only about 24 were arrested on the charge of arson. That requires evidence that the accused started a fire *intentionally*. It’s difficult to prove intent and hence the number of arson incidents was probably much higher.

          What is clear:
          * Many of the fires were started by humans intentionally, by accident, or out of stupidity.
          * Fuel load played a large part and reducing it will reduce the fire risks in future.
          * There’s a lot of rhetoric and not much evidence to show the fires can be attributed to “climate change”. There is nothing we can do to reduce the short term impact of climate even if it can be shown to be a factor.

          • “Nevertheless 183 were arrested/cited/charged/cautioned for starting fires.”
            No, they were accused of breaches of laws associated with bushfire safety. These are quite broad, and in many cases won’t involve an actual fire. It includes all the people who were using their BBQ on a fire ban day, or dropping a cigarette butt. 24 were charged with deliberately lighting a fire.

          • **Nick is correct. Nevertheless 183 were arrested/cited/charged/cautioned for starting fires.**
            No, Nick is avoiding the issue. MOST of the fires are HUMAN caused. Climate change is only the scapegoat. Nick keeps hiding and will not admit it. The same remark goes to the Greens and most of the media.

          • ”It includes all the people who were using their BBQ on a fire ban day,”….And you accuse others of lies, really?? MOST BBQ’s are gas or electric and are allowed to be used on a total fire ban day. This from the TFS web site. ”On Days of Total Fire Ban, all outdoor fires are banned except electric stoves and barbecues, and gas stoves and barbecues provided they are cleared of flammable material for at least one metre.”
            Stokes you are defending the undefendable. Regardless of what you consider a breach of the law, negligence on a total fire ban is inexcusable and should be considered to be an attempted arson offence.

          • “and should be considered to be an attempted arson offence”
            Using a charcoal BBQ in your suburban back yard on a fire ban day is not attempted arson.

          • ”Using a charcoal BBQ in your suburban back yard on a fire ban day is not attempted arson.”…Nice deflection Nick, but that’s not ALL BBQ’s is it. Throwing a cigarette butt out the window, using an angle grinder, lighting a camp fire definitely are. All these things are absolute stupidity being done on a total fire ban day and should attract heavy penalties.

        • I read that 24 of those arrested were true arsonists. The rest are charged with carelessness, or violating fire restrictions.

        • Your version Nick. Why don’t you admit climate change has little or NOTHING to do with the fires. 87% were started by humans, accidentally or arson.

        • OK Nick. Are you saying 183 people were not arrested for Arson. Are you claiming the fires were not a result of that? What exactly are your claims and what do you think should be done to address the bushfires?

          Somehow, I expect Nick’sresponse will be crickets.

        • Nick Stokes January 19, 2020 at 3:36 am

          That is a lie from the Murdoch press that just doesn’t seem to go away.

          Nick Stokes, you know your first steps – address the press with your knowledge.

      • Yes! And how many were hired to start the fires? No doubt the answer will be covered up if it leads to the greenies in government.

      • french island? somewhere off the coast of westernport in Vic had a fire start
        dunno how? but once again magically theres colonies of chlamydia free Koalas there..
        bloody amazing how it got started when as far as i know no lightning around until maybe today/tonight, but thats coming with decent rains so fires pretty unlikely to get a start.
        4 local fires(within 80k radius or less) all of which started on cool reasonable humidity days as well.
        media arent talking as to the how?whys at all

        • Ozspeaksup, ….. just ask Nick Stokes (January 19, 2020 at 3:36 am) ….. “as to the how?whys at all” …… that those fires got started …….. because he has extra sensory, far distant, futuristic knowledge knowing mental capabilities …… that are 100% correct.

          To be as great as he is, Nick must be “attuned” to Einstein’s “space-time warp” thingy.

          • Samuel, in regards to Nick’s “futuristic knowledge knowing mental capacities…that are 100% correct.

            He must be slipping, or he just picks and chooses as to what he is going to latch onto like a dog with a bone.

            I asked him four times last week, “how do firemen put out a fire in a a solar farm?”

            He refused to answer.

          • Nick was simply trying to hold you whingers, personal abuse merchants (yeah I’m firing back at all you right wing snowflakes who must spend a sizable proportion of your lives being triggered and offended by left wing values and policies, whether imagined or real, following the prodigious example of the Snowflake in Chief, Mr Trump) and conspiracists to the facts. Rarely goes down well on here.

            How about thinking about this then: the temperature is rising across the world it would seem, though very slightly, and climate does change (it’s an ever evolving thing), so therefore it must have some effect on the weather, and it will very likely as a result, at some stage, also have some effect on bushfire prevalence too. The difference may or may not be as small as the change in temperature, but there will almost certainly be a differential effect.

            Reasonable or unreasonable suggestion? Or is it widely believed on here that yes, the climate may be changing (whatever the cause) but that won’t have any effect on the weather and it won’t have any effect on bushfires?

    • Indeed. And the adopted policies increasingly are causing or exacerbating the problems that Greenies claim to want to fix – including of course the fires in Australia and California. Also increasingly, I wonder, for instance, how much the perturbation of air flow caused locally and downwind from wind farms is affecting weather patterns. How ironic, yet again, if climate change is being CAUSED by wind farms!

  2. Now the same people are pushing indigenous fire management techniques, which seem pretty similar to the old white people management techniques, but maybe less red tape.
    Whatever they want to call it to salve their consciences, the important thing is to get excessive fuel out of the bush.

    • Aboriginal fire does not produce CO2, nor does it harm local wildlife.

      White people’s backburning is an inherently racist and oppressive land management tool that is a hallmark of colonialism and should be abolished.

      The Rainbow Serpent knows best, after all

      • yeah..now were going to get holdups with required trained elders etc to come n do the work were more than capable of doing ourselves, but havent been ABLE to do cos of regs and restrictions redtape
        Im going to be clearburning my entire blocks as soon as fireban seasons off, sick of waiting for the delwp mob to come n supervise

        • Look at the bright side it will help with indigenous employment and they are probably easier to convince the burn needs to happen compared to some green brainwashed CALM or council enviromental officer.

    • Can you spend more tax money if you have a royal commission into the brushfires? If so, yes, you need one.

  3. Many years ago when I lived in New Zealand, I met someone who use to negotiate international air routes for Air New Zealand on behalf of the NZ Govn’t.

    From the article the term…

    “…public servants…”

    He never used that term. He used “civil servant”, and his quip was…”I don’t need to be civil nor serve anyone.”

    Can be equally applied to “public servants” IMO. Sums them up perfectly.

  4. A lot of bluster was spewed about “too small a window of time” to do preventative burning!
    News flash! Chainsaws and bulldozers don’t care about whether it’s too dry or a little too damp to burn!
    FFS!

    • But dozers have hot exhaust systems and chainsaws have been known to throw occasional sparks which do not mix well with “too dry” brush

      • Fine! Then let’s have Richard DiNatale and Adam Bandt go out and create beneficial salads from the offending horticulture, then distribute said salads to every Australian to encourage us to become converts!

      • No just let it build up and burn every few years like it did.

        Satisfies all the basic requirements … it pushes all the endangered wildlife to extinction, clears large tracks of land for future housing development and speed up the EPA approval process.

    • The small window of time is not an acceptable excuse.
      The Royal Commission recommendation was for a rolling average of 5% of public land per year . This is equivalent to clearing on average every twenty years. If for whatever reason 5% can’t be achieved then just plan for 7-8% the next year. This will not impact the overall averages or adversely increase fire risk.
      In Victoria local CFA units used to burn very localised areas immediately adjacent to houses and on roadsides within towns. It was sort of an annual training event. greenies have stopped this.
      Mechanical clearing using slashes and heavy machinery can also be used to create breaks around towns, but is also opposed by greenies.

      • In reality only 30% of the 5% target had controlled burns, so the actual burn figure was 1.5%. Minuscule.

      • all the fallen limbs make even getting INto the roadsides more than 4ft at best damn near impossible most places in Vic. throw in huge clumps of prickly acacia and your stuffed without bulldozers to rip it out
        burning it defeats the endgoal as it regenerates as fast as bacteria

    • “Chainsaws and bulldozers…”
      Targets are about a million ha of bush nationally, to be done in a few weeks. Not much chainsaws and bulldozers can do.

      • Wrong a council slashing program can be carried out over several months November/ December and even into January. There is no reason why council land immediately adjacent to residential properties can’t be cleared all year round.

        • yeah..IF theyll spend the funds for labour
          ours wont even mow the bloody grass in residential streets unless your aged infirm and refuse to pay someone 45$ n hr to do it for you.
          they get over 1,400$ a yr ratesfrom me and apart from a garbage pickup i get no verges or other servicesprovided I go out with a linetrimmer to trim THEIR bloody waist high weeds every yr.
          and im jacked off bigtime.
          but if their land goes up, then the horses agisted on my block would be harmed

          • OK boomer! My township in U.S. is same, no garbage p/u, schools…..sad!, no nothing, but they do plow the snow, eventually.

            P.S. what is agristed? Our horses over here don’t get that, I don’t think

      • Million ha annually , not in a few weeks .
        Chainsaws and bulldozers are just for the edges and extremes where cool burning is too difficult at certain times .

      • Nicks alternative is you burn what 6-8 Million hectares every few years 🙂

        As I said above look on the bright side we are clearing for easy future housing developments and we will be able to take a pile for refugees to fill them.

      • Wanna bet?

        Call the hall and turn us loose.

        If you wanna stand in the way, I promise not to notice you 🙂 🙂

      • Wrong. Fire trail work and removing dangerous trees can be done any time of the year.
        Biggest problem is the greenie bureaucrats in the hierarchy of national parks letting bulldozers in, in the first place.

  5. I may not be completely right on the numbers but I believe that the IPCC, in their last assessement, indicated that of the .8C rise, only .3C was due to increased CO2, the rest due to natural warming. Someone else might be able to refine the numbers a little better if they are a good student of the IPCC report(s).

    Can anyone tell me how much of the blame for the bush fires is due to .3C man made warming (supposedly) and how much is due to the remaining naturally occurring 313 degrees C?

    • All of it, if it gives cover to poor government policies and results in great hardship for the citizens. Everyone knows that.

    • I am still waiting for someone to demonstrate how climate change starts a fire. I keep looking out my window and do not see it, yet the Canadian government said Canada is warming faster than the world so they declared a climate emergency.

  6. I think that is a view held by many land owner groups, they fear that climate change will be used to scapegoat the issue as lots of politicians and councils go for cover. I don’t think any reasonable person would say drought and climate change were not factors. However those two factors are long term issues and outside what can really be controlled here and now.

    What can be controlled here and now is fuel load and fire fighting resources and those are what needs to be concentrated on.

  7. Eric,
    “and local green activists are responsible for Australia’s 2020 bushfire disaster”
    and accompanied, yet again, by the pic of your 10 old friends from Nowa Nowa. But it’s your interpolation. He didn’t say anything about local green activists.

    He did have a complaint about some specific “ivory tower academics”. But whatever the truth of that, he put it in correct context:

    “And what of the greenies and the ivory tower academics from Murdoch, Curtin and Wollongong universities? The anti-fuel reduction burning academics have no understanding of practical bushfire management. They are misguided, misinformed and, by my reckoning, dangerously mischievous. But they have not been running the show.

    He’s right. There will never be unanimous agreement on any policy. You’ll always find a few people like your NNs, or even the odd academic. But they have not been running the show.

    • Nick Stokes

      You are cherry-picking sentences from the full article. By ‘not running the show’ he clearly means he is blaming the politicans etc (who ARE running the show) for listening to those academics.

      The full quote is “But they have not been running the show. The premiers, ministers and senior public servants overseeing the land-management agencies could have, and should have, simply rejected the academics’ green ideology and its foolish precepts.”

      • There are lots of opinions around, on any issue. Governments are responsible for what they decide. But I see no evidence that they were influenced by such opinions. Insofar as some people think the level of burning is not yet adequate, cost is a bigger issue for governments than the opinion of a few academics.

        • And yours are more relevant than the Regional Forest Manager?

          “Nick Stokes January 18, 2020 at 11:59 pm

          …cost is a bigger issue for governments than the opinion of a few academics.”

          So they listen to “academics” while whole towns and forests burn! We done Nick for confirming what most people consider true.

          But you got you CSIRO pension eh?

          • The Royal Commission 2009 clearly stated that the state must fully fund prescribed burning and that human priority should be the highest priority.
            No matter how you cut it – burning targets, risk strategies or mechanical clearing lack of funds is not an excuse.
            BTW the Royal Commission also required the state to be transparent on budgeting. The government seems to have enough money for rescuing koalas after the fire. It will be very interesting analysing the budgets over previous years.

          • Classic. Mr. Stokes, it’s not just “possibly”, they must pay attention to the treasury and it’s a truism to say they do. They have two ears? I.e. the capacity to listen to academics, too? Why do you pretend one excludes the other? One might get the idea you want to avoid something, something like “govt’s with limited funds listen to academics, spend $ on long-range ‘climate solutions’ at the expense of short-term fire protection”.

          • “Why do you pretend one excludes the other?”
            Why do you pretend that “academics” speak with one voice. The few (at the minor universities he nominates) are outweighed by the academics saying just do it; taxpayers will be grateful in the long run.

        • “But I see no evidence that they were influenced by such opinions.” We see that. We see you seen very little.

        • “…Insofar as some people think the level of burning is not yet adequate…”

          And the Greens argue/argued against that level.

        • No evidence that they were influenced by those opinions! The fact that the policies exactly reflected those opinions is a total coincidence.

          Also, it must be obvious that land owners, some of whom have been heavily fined for protecting their property by clearing firebreaks, would never have been able to achieve that if it had been legal. Is that how we should understand that Nick? Nothing could be done, due to climate change. Riiiiiight, uh!

    • So you think this Regional Forest Manager is wrong? Wronger than you (Obviously) and wronger than desk bound, city based, forest managers?

      • “So you think this Regional Forest Manager is wrong?”
        “He’s right” I said.
        But he’s not the ultimate authority. He is a retired forest guy from WA. Here is what the real head of firefighting in Victoria, CFA’s Steve Warrington, had to say about prescribed burning:
        “he Country Fire Authority’s chief officer Steve Warrington said there was a “fair amount of emotion” around the issue.

        “We’ve had fire down the landscape here that has had burns go right through it [during colder months] and it hasn’t slowed it at all,” he said.

        The emotive argument is not supported that fuel reduction burning will fix all our problems.

        Some of the hysteria that this will be the solution to all our problems is really just quite an emotional load of rubbish, to be honest.”

        • Nick, it seems your BS filter is defective. You quote the words of CFA’s Steve Warrington a person who is trying to divert the blame with a nothing to see here look over there approach when he bears a lot of responsibility for what has happened. To believe the words of anybody in authority who could reasonably be held accountable shows a lot of naivety.

        • Steve “tow the State line” Warrington to keep his $390K job, he has a lot of reasons not to be trusted.

        • Warrington: we’ve had fire down the landscape that has had burns go right through it and it hasn’t slowed it at all.
          No doubt true, but the benefit of controlled burns is the great decrease in the severity of subsequent fires. Fires in high load areas are devastating in their impact, killing all and taking decades from which to recover. Most trees can’t survive in most fires in these areas.
          Fires in low load areas are significantly lower impact and recovery can start within days and be complete within a season. In these areas most trees survive most fires.
          Both may spread quickly but a year later you can’t tell.

    • Nick Stokes

      When are you going to come out and say unambiguously that spending trillions on ruinable energy ‘solutions’ that will never work (without an almost unimaginable breakthrough in energy storage) in response to an alleged ‘problem’ (which has so far been almost entirely beneficial) is ludicrous?

      Until you do, your comments are utterly without merit or credibility.

    • Nick
      The greenies do not need a formal structure to push their agendas.
      The following is happening:-
      1. Councils have about 20 “Friends of groups” FOGs . Many committed environmentalists who care for such and such creek, lake or furry critter.
      2. Most FOGs receive government funding maybe a small grant to remove weeds from a creek. I applaud this concept.
      3. Some of these FOGs are actually active in many other environmental issues. For example climate change, anti GM, anti logging, and anti development. This also connects them to other groups outside the council area.
      4. Current councillors may have direct or indirect links to these groups ( being current or past members)
      5. Councillors are invited to FOGs meetings.
      6. FOGs are invited to council meetings – often the FOG organises a guest speaker say climate change expert which the council pays for.
      7. Council officers can be linked directly or indirectly to FOGs. Example council officer at council x is a member of green group outside council x which has links to FOG in council x.
      8. These radical FOGs which get funding from government can actually object to council works such as road widening or park clearing even though that is where they get their funding.

      • “These radical FOGs…”
        You haven’t shown that they are radical; still less that they oppose prescribed burning (which is not a council matter anyway). I am very doubtful of your factual accuracy. I am a member of Friends of our local park. It is not part of the council and does not receive any government funding. It could not be described as radical.

        • Nick
          I am very doubtful that you don’t know the above is actually happening.
          Additionally councils are involved in land clearing and indirectly prescribed burning through the Planning Scheme.

        • Their own website says they opposed and oppose burning quotas. If they opposed and oppose the minimum governmental standard for prescribed burning, then they wanted and want less burning.

          How many times does this simple fact need to be pointed out to you? Give it up already.

  8. Because my personal carbon footprint is probably larger than the global mean, I am willing to take one billionth of the blame, as long as I get one billionth of the credit for the world’s increased food supply that is directly due to increased CO2 levels. So sorry, and you are most welcome.

  9. You can bet that the flooding in Australia will be deflected to AGW as well. If the Australians are going to be soo stupid maybe they deserve what they sow (ie not controlling overgrowth)

  10. Underwood blames everyone – including premiers, ministers, local governments, fire chiefs, academics and public servants. Ironically the only groups he doesn’t blame are Eric’s “local green activists” and arsonists.

    He rejects the “climate change is causing bushfires” position and he’d be right there because it doesn’t “cause” them, despite relentlessly rising temperatures and declining rainfall making them more severe.

    • As I read it Underwood did not get support from his superiors when issues were raised. It may be true there was too much “noise” at “control”, that’s regardless.

      In my real world my experience is not RFS etc, it is IT, I raised issues and they were ignored. We then had the second biggest IT disaster in Australia, CommBank, and July 26th 2012.

      One simple change to a computer dialog with a radio button selection would have prevented that. Still, what would I know, eh?

    • Relentlessly rising….gee a fraction of a degree C based on shoddy observation stations. I’m so scared I might go drink a beer.

      • It’s so small that if you look at, say, the daily temperature chart for Melbourne going back 100 years, you can’t even see it at all. But it’s definitely a catastrophe!

    • Loydo
      **He rejects the “climate change is causing bushfires” position and he’d be right there because it doesn’t “cause” them, despite relentlessly rising temperatures and declining rainfall making them more severe.**
      That is called, WEATHER.

    • ”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.”… Reading between the lines I thought that pretty well spoke for itself in regards to “local green activists”

    • “Relentlessly rising temperatures and declining rainfall”? Where did you get those marvelous scare words?

      Temperature rises of 1 or 2 degrees do not cause droughts. That’s just stupid.

  11. Of course they use climate change as an excuse.
    The Mayor of Tampa, FL was preemptively blaming climate change when it looked like Hurricane Irma could threaten the city during the 2017 season. The reality is that over the years the corrupt politicians have allowed development in known flood plains and when/if Tampa does take a heavy strike by a big storm the damage from storm surge will be much higher than it would have been had they maintained the original zoning that prohibited development in those areas.

  12. It seems pretty clear that the ideology of climate change is doing a pretty effective job in Australia as well as here in Europe of impeding rational, pragmatic responses to these kinds of events. Even if they are ultimately proven to be caused by climate change, reducing emissions can only ever be a very very long term solution. Never underestimate the ability of politicians, bureaucrats and academics to deceive themselves (and create a flourishing ‘green’ elite) in the name of guarding the interests of the people! Most universities promote the myth that common sense and practical experience is to be ignored in favour of their impressive technology and super-intelligent models.

  13. Reasonably important question.
    With heightened interest, many people are theorizing about the causes of Australian bushfires.
    The Indian Ocean Dipole, El Nino events, generic Climate Change, arson, lightning, fuel accumulation, drought, to name a few.

    What I have not seen from scientists is a paper or two about whether CO2 fertilization of the forests and grasslands has led to increased growth to an extent that it becomes a factor needing future consideration and management.
    There might be some paper, but my searches have failed to find them
    Can anyone here reference some work about CO2 and fires, especially work of reasonable scientific quality?
    …………………….
    Relatedly, there has been much said and written about how fires are started. One reads less about how fires are ended. Many fires happen in remote locations, where there is no human intervention to end them. Is there merit in studying past fires, by way of fire scars for example, to see if there are patterns of variables like perimeter to area ratios of scars that are potentially useful in ending fires with more intelligent intervention?
    Again, there might be published material, but I have not found any. Help sought again.
    ………..
    Thank you Geoff S

    • it rains or the wind changes and pushes the fires back onto themselves, for the ones that are in unpopulated areas usually

    • Geoff in addition to your important questions I would like to know what is in store for the millions of hectares that have been burned? Some questions:

      1) Does this devastating event offer a buffer for a number of years to come for these areas?

      2) Are there opportunities to make improvements to these lands such as clearing wider areas for firebreaks or improving access for firefighters?

      3) Will governing bodies revise/streamline some of their policies making the preventative burning practices less bureaucratic?

      From Gordon Smith’s twitter regrowth is already underway with recent rains.

      https://twitter.com/macalba

      • 1.) Yes you do get some protection for a few years because you reduced much of the fuel load. There is a caveat that highly flammable grass is controlled until the natural scrubs and trees return.

        2.) Yes but a large number of the areas burnt are notionally the habitat of endangered species.
        https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-19/inside-the-race-to-protect-threatened-species/11877990
        That was the reason some of the areas had not had fuel load reductions done, which is ironic when you look at what has transpired.

        3.) You would hope but that is a political thing and you know how that often goes. That is why many are pushing for a royal commission which will just make findings and provide recommendations.

  14. It’s always nice to hear from those with practical experience. Especially, when it’s been many decades. Common sense should tell us he is correct in his analysis.

    But using cause on either side is too simplistic. Using AGW as the go to “cause” is the rage…..for those who don’t want to really think about it. It’s more about probabilities. How do all these factors impact probabilities of having major fires. Certainly, fuel load has to be at the top of the list.

  15. You should all hope Nick is right and this is due to climate change. It will take dropping back to the 1800’s and living in filth, dust, and mess plus Billions of dollars to the world government/god, but we can cut CO2. Then it will take 100 years for the climate to “recover”. I would say perhaps a billion people will die, if not more. That’s what we all want, isn’t it? The climate to be the cause so millions and millions can die under one-world rule?
    Please explain how that is such a sunny, wonderful belief??????

    A rational person would look at this and see that poor fire management is likely the main cause and can be rectified in a decade or less, with under 100 deaths and no world government. Yet, the CAGW crowd sooooo wants it to be climate change. That’s actually quite terrifying….

    • Planned Population… another wicked solution, albeit to a hard problem: social justice, social progress, and a “Green” environment.

    • Leftist Marxists like NICK STOKES have zero logic when it comes to your logical scribe above. They think we can control climate and weather. That is what the believe and their belief is foolish and dangerous to you and me.

      • I’m pretty sure they want to go back a lot earlier than that. They want to go back to a time before anyone burned any sort of fossil fuels, and the Chinese have been burning coal for about 3,000 years. So, back to before that period, at least…

  16. We declare that you can only have a controlled burn if the temperature is between 60 and 65F. Humidity is between 60 and 65%. It must have rained between 3 and 6 days prior. Winds must be below 4 mph with no gusts exceeding 6 mph.
    Well, obviously climate change caused the fires!

    • And don’t forget, only on the weekends when the volunteer firefighters are available to put out any undesired blazes.

  17. In a previous town we used to live in, we had a Saskatoon tree that provided enough berries annually for one pie. Our neighbour decided to do a spring burn, which many people did, and thought he would do us a favour by burning our yard too, including the tree.

  18. ”…and the public servants in their departments with jurisdiction over forests and national parks.”
    And therein lays one of the major problems. In Tasmanian national parks and I assume the same applies Australia wide, there is a policy in the higher authority to not allow bulldozers to perform fire trail work or tracking around a wild fire. If any outcome from the current fires comes about, allowing dozers in national parks for fire management should be a must.

    • In Victoria, my understanding is dozers are welcome at the fire front , as long as the blade is not longer than 10 foot. Turn up with a 12 footer, and home you go!

  19. Well,we consistently elect fools and bandits.
    Local government has become so toxic and subject to so much nonsense that no one in their right mind wants the job.
    What kind of inconsiderate jerk would subject their family and businesses to the kind of rabid attacks the media and progressive mob launch against anyone who supports uncommon sense?

    Of course the incompetents blame “Climate Change” it is a get out of jail free card,undefined and yet responsible for every calamity known to man.
    As an added bonus,you can dismiss every one who refuses to accept that Climate Change excuse as “Deniers”.
    and all the chattering class will rush to defend your incompetence.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    The damage that this mass hysteria is doing to faith in government,institutions and experts, will be far more profound than the propogandists ever anticipate.
    Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change(Global warming) is an intelligence test.
    One the taxpayers will pass.
    Dooming public funding for most of the NGOs and Government Agencies currently fanning the flames of Doom Saying.

    Kind of hard to get taxpayer support once you prove you are useless and dangerous.
    Which all of our institutions ,created to prevent public folly,have proven themselves to be.
    Who watches the watchdogs,indeed.

  20. Professor Karoly Jan 20th 2020, “Temperatures are about 1.4 degrees warmer than a century ago,” Can this be verified? And CO2 was not mentioned.

    • Anything Karoly says must be treated with extreme suspicion. He says a lot but just has no backup. He says one thing, and then a while later completely backtracks.

  21. In Victoria, my understanding is dozers are welcome at the fire front , as long as the blade is not longer than 10 foot. Turn up with a 12 footer, and home you go!

    • Communist government style make government jobs program.
      If not measuring the blade, they will be measuring the size, font, and location of the name on the sides.
      Nothing must be overlooked.
      You should see them inspecting our new Canadian cannabis stores……….

  22. Incompetence by the conservative Australian government and conservative New South Wales government are to blame. Can’t manage the economy. Can’t manage disasters. Can’t manage a church fete. Neither can their useless supporters.

    • You are a coward. Just like The MSM won’t allow any other point of view except Leftist/Green.
      You come in at the end of a post because you fear that you cannot refute the truth.

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