Bushfire Royal Commission: Climate Change has “Gone Nuclear”

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. You don’t have to drive far to find forest management failures in Queensland, Australia. Author Eric Worrall

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Former Queensland fire chief Lee Johnson arguing for militarisation of the fire service, to deal with the climate apocalypse. But as the picture above shows, there may be another explanation for bushfire problems in Queensland.

‘Climate change war’ demands national, military-style response: Ex-fire chiefs

By Mike Foley
July 6, 2020 — 5.45pm

Australia is fighting a climate war as well as battling more natural disasters, which demands a military-style, co-ordinated national response, the bushfire and natural disaster royal commission has heard.

Former Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Commissioner Lee Johnson fronted the royal commission on Monday, saying “we’re confronted with a locality of battles in a greater climate change war”.

He said state and federal emergency agencies need help from the Commonwealth to develop military-style capabilities in “communications, intelligence, surveillance and support”.

“Following Tropical Cyclone Larry in 2006 I realised that emergency services needed to operate in a more military-like fashion,” Mr Johnson said. “This is where the federal government can support with experts and probably what’s missing is some kind of national command college.”

Mr Mullins said the climate change enemy had “gone nuclear”, which required a “step change in how we coordinate the insufficient resources we have to deal with this threat”.

Read more: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/climate-change-war-demands-national-military-style-response-ex-fire-chiefs-20200706-p559h7.html

Other fire experts take a different view, dismissing the climate change argument, saying uncomfortable things about Australia’s recent bushfires being the government’s fault for failing to properly maintain government owned forests.

The following is an interview with renowned former CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney from January this year. His view, the fires were “the inevitable result of the government abrogating its responsibility to manage public lands”.

In the interview Cheney explains decades of failure to manage forests, including a failure to implement prescribed burns recommended by the 2009 Bushfire Royal Commission. Cheney also slams local district council red tape, which prevents landowners from conducting controlled burns or tree removal on their own properties.

The militarisation idea, if implemented, would have to be handled very carefully.

Australian rural fire services rely heavily on unpaid but highly experienced volunteers, who when they are not fighting fires have normal day jobs; farmers, shop workers, mechanics, financial advisers, doctors. Established professional people, in many case business owners, who are there because they want to protect their homes and keep their families and communities safe.

I suspect if some inexperienced fresh faced graduate from a newly militarised fire service academy showed up and started ordering them about, I doubt many of them would put up with it for long.

Update (EW): Clarified that the “tinderbox” picture above was taken in the state of Queensland. Lee Johnson is a former fire chief of Queensland.

64 thoughts on “Bushfire Royal Commission: Climate Change has “Gone Nuclear”

  1. Many forests around the world evolved because of a firescape ecology. The forest is supposed to burn sooner or later. That is natural. What is unnatural is allowing forest fuels to accumulate to the point where one spark is capable of setting off a major conflagration and then whining and complaining about it. Not doing something about the accumulation of the fuels is the real crime.

    Sounds like former fire chief Lee Johnson knows absolutely nothing about anything, and how he ever got to be a fire chief is beyond the pale. Most fire fighters know that allowing fuels to accumulate and then blaming it on climate change is an ignorant excuse used by no nothings to whine and complain about other things like climate change, which has absolutely nothing to do with it. Sooner or later, it will dry out for a few weeks and then catch fire. Much of it is arson anyway. Actually, the real arsonists are the people making the Gov’t policy like no nothing former fire chief Lee Johnson.

    • “Sounds like former fire chief Lee Johnson knows…” how to squeeze more money and power from the state government.

      Blame Global Warming, Climate Change, Climate Emergency Climate Nuclear Armageddon instead of incompetence and following the Greens environmental policies. Of course, that’s redundant because, following the Greens environmental policy is incompetence.

      • He won’t ever get another government job he got fired over not sitting on and hiding sexual harassment claims.

    • Lee Johnson is a twentyth century beuracrat, all mouth, no brain .
      We are to blame, as those of us that can thiMk ? Don’t use our capability!

      • A fire-bureaucrat who is trying to dodge the implication that this situation developed on his watch….. and tgat he and his cohorts did nothing about it.

        The more you claim to know tgat bad fire conditions are coming, the more responsibility you have for preparing. Every major inquiry into bushfires for the last 80 years has concluded that we are not managing fuel.

  2. There are two good options: one is to burn the ground litter everywhere about every 10 years. Hopefully, there will be no bad fires when the litter has not been burnt for 9 years.

    The other is to burn the litter every 3 or 4 years but only around settlements and along access roads. This needs far fewer people to do the burning, and should be easily possible with the volunteers available. The rest of the ‘forest’ can be let go, and if it burns, then not to worry, it will not kill people or stock. Just let lightning, and arson set off the fires on a random basis.

    The third option is the worst, hamstring all the farmers and landowners so that very little is done in the way of clearing, and then blame the Prime Minister when it all goes pear shaped. Note that Morrison was very unjustly blamed in the bush fire season. Responsibility for the National Forests and similar areas is totally the responsibility of the States. There was no reason why he should be blamed for taking a holiday.

    This leads me to the view that if the PM and Commonwealth Government are to be blamed for the outcome of bush fire disaster, then the responsibility for these lands should be given by the States to the Commonwealth.

    • Dudley
      You are generally correct.
      The 2009 royal commission required 5% clearing per year. This implies an average of clearing/ burning every 20 years.
      But if a sensitive forest has multiple species with different tolorences to fire, and say that after an environment assessment it is recommended the forest can only withstand burning every 40 years then burn every 40 years BUT do extra mechanical clearing.

      However, the radical Greenies just want to ban all clearing

      • yup
        and many trees need 15+yrs to recover to flower after fires advice from an old beekeeper who handed sites in cos they kept burning(easy toget at sites) every 5 yrs killing the trees or making them useless for honey production.

        • I burn portions of our farm every year. Tall grass prairie, riparian buffers, and invasive trees.

          Fire is ONLY manageable where you can control your fuel load. This is not possible over the entirety of Australia (or California, etc.).

          I would suggest managed fire breaks to address the problems from the comments above. After each massive fire, some portion must thereafter be a designated “fire break area”. These only need to be strips of an appropriate width. Pick level ground, with good soil. Plant whatever mix of grasses and ground cover that is appropriate for that soil and climate.

          MOW IT AT LEAST ONCE/YEAR to suppress growth of woody vegetation. Mow it again when the fire hazard conditions are extreme for the surrounding wild/uncontrolled land.

          Fire crews can suppress fire much more easily along these breaks, especially if the soil/cover conditions make the break driveable. They can also easily start back fires at these points and extinguish the small head fires going the wrong directions on their back burns.

          Obviously, this works much better in areas with enough rain to establish some ground cover for soil stabilization and erosion control. How bad is the erosion in the desert parts of Australia? Obviously you cannot use a cookie-cutter approach for an entire continent of micro-climates. But bush hog (mow) strips in the desert if you have must to establish fire breaks, and leave the other 98-99% of the land in its natural state.

          • Reliance on fire breaks is NOT the answer. In my opinion (17 yrs as a volunteer firefighter), fire breaks serve two useful purposes:

            1. Access for fire fighting equipment
            2. Establishing a line for safe back burning

            In a severe fire, embers carry for many kilometers – I have lost count of the number of times I have heard “it’s jumped the break” over comms.

            The answer is regular cool season controlled burning as the real experts have been saying for years.

    • or you can GRAZE animals thay will eat the young woody weeds ie trees
      nsw /snowy reckon they wnt to cul 20k brumbies for damage to plants n water
      theres maybe 1,100 from locals on ground reports
      so they shoot n leave to rot the foxes n wild dogs eat the roos , the pigs eat the dead horses too,and the grass grows faster and the fires will be awesome in 5 yrs or less.
      and they theyll blame ag all over again
      morons in city and the greentard uni profs given power is a bad bad move

    • Dudley…
      The 2009 Royal Commission recommended a MINIMUM area burnt of 5% per annum. The Western Australians, with 30 years of actually doing it successfully, are aiming for an average of 8%.

      Do not believe the lie about fuel reduction burning killing trees or “turning the bush into a parking lot”. The aim of regular managed burning is to keep fire intensities low so that trees are not killed, the animals are not killed, the soil is not eroded and so that firefighters can deal with fires before they get too big and intense.

      The idea that we can just “let fires burn” in remote areas is what leads to mega fires. A classic example is the Canberra fire of 03. Over two dozen fires were lit by lightning strikes and all but three were extinguished by farmers, foresters and the RFS. Three fires were permitted to continue burning for over a week until extreme weather arrived. The fires were then uncontrollable, with confirmed spotting up to 60km and there simply were not enough resources available to contain them. Four people died and 500 homes were destroyed.

  3. “militarisation of the fire service,”
    Well Australia is gonna need a Jack-booted thug army to round-up the climate dissidents for their internment and re-education. Go Climate Scam.

    • Well it seems that the current structure of mainly voluntary fire fighters has been totally insufficient in terms of man-hours and availability to properly clear dangerous buildup of fuel load.

      Paid for full time employees whether military structured or not would seem to be necessary.

      • Not an Aussie, but have relatives that are volunteer fire fighters in the U.S.

        They all have “other” jobs. They just respond after there is a fire.

        Clearing fuel load is serious labor depending upon your level of mechanization. I would have convicts do the serious grunt work portion and offer to cut their sentence in half. (The joys of clearing land may also cut the recidivism rate.)

  4. “…renowned former CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney…”

    There is your clue as to why he is speaking up and the truth about bush fire management in Australia.

    • He is also a current member of climatecouncil.org.au … so an activist
      The MSM is just publishing the beatup pushed out by climate council to get a proper perspective you really need to look at the actual hearing.
      https://webstreaming.lawinorder.com.au/rcnda

      Lee Johnson is day 17 at timestamp 2.19.30

      The other climate council dropkick Greg Mullins is day 17 at timestamp 1.12.20

  5. I am very saddened by this “climate lie” about bushfires.
    The failure to acknowledge the lack of fuel reduction ( both mechanical and burning ) is discusting.

    I also saddens me to make this dark prediction.
    Here, in Melbourne Australia the two most fire prone areas in possibly the entire world are due for a bushfire.
    1. The Gateway area of Eltham in the Nillumbik shire, and
    2. The dandenongs in the adjoining Yarra Ranges shire.
    If drastic fuel reduction does not take place, a bushfire in either of these areas is likely to cause 1000s of deaths.

    • It isn’t making much headway in the royal commission the MSM is just publishing climate council press releases rather than giving a perspective view of submissions to the hearing. Basically a couple of leftie journos publishing their mates junk.

      • The Aussie MSN is shocking at misreporting and only reporting extreme left content. There is a guy at work who is all for the Victorian Comrade Dan’s lockdown of Victoria to stop the spread of COVID-19 but just weeks go 40,000 people were allowed to protest in Melbourne about BLM. Not a word in response to that when I mentioned it.

  6. One characteristic of the Aussies I have had the pleasure of encountering is an abundance of common sense. Where was Lee Johnson when that was being handed out?

  7. Well, in NSW at least, I seem to remember seeing a fire map at the time that indicated that over 90% of the recent bushfires began in (and consumed large parts of) state or national parks. Correlation is not causation,, but…

      • I have first-hand experience. I live in NSW in a suburban area with standard suburban houses on the other side of the road. Our side of the road is on a steep slope, around 50° average slope, with larger blocks, and trees at the top of the block. It’s a designated high-risk bush fire zone.

        We’re getting an extension built, and we had to get a bush fire risk assessment report before we could apply for a development application. We’re slightly woody suburban. Why are we in a bush fire risk area? It was explained that there is an unbroken tree corridor between us and the nearest national park, about 500 metres away, “and that’s where bush fires come from”.

        My wife and I were in a meeting with the architect and the subject came up. You’ve got to be careful with architects because many of them are very green. But, I said that we were close to a national park and that’s where bush fires come from. The architect agreed. Local experience for many years.

  8. Johnson was a urban area fire chief, before getting statewide responsibilities and had to leave his last job prematurely
    “QUEENSLAND’S fire service has been branded a toxic workplace for women and its Commissioner will leave the service immediately following damning report.
    QFES Commissioner Lee Johnson will retire earlier than planned, while Assistant Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll will take the reins.”
    https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/top-cop-katarina-carroll-to-take-over-as-fire-service-commissioner-after-fire-chief-walks/news-story/4e2503506051959d12625c6956a7159d

    • Not really relevant to his testimony but yes he is a pompous ass who oversaw a boys club and got fired for it.

  9. Climate change provides a convenient scapegoat for government department failures of all kinds. Flooding caused by not maintaining the waterways, climate change. Water shortages caused by failure to provide sufficient infrastructure, climate change.

  10. Climate Change has “Gone Nuclear”
    Indeed.
    Russia is building the first nuclear icebreaker of the new generation
    The Russian state company Rosatom announced yesterday that it has started the construction of the icebreaker “Russia”, the first in the new project “Leader”, which is being built in the shipyard “Zvijezda”(Star), in the far east of Russia.

  11. “Other fire experts take a different view, dismissing the climate change argument, saying uncomfortable things about Australia’s recent bushfires being the government’s fault for failing to properly maintain government owned forests.”

    It sounds like they want a military to fight bushfires. Would it not make more sense if they are going to have a military involved to use it to clear the bush and do proscribed burns frequently instead of waiting for out of control and uncontrollable fires to start and then deploy them? Or, does that make too much sense?
    These people are neither acting like they think there’s a problem nor planning for the prevention of wildfires. I wonder why that is? Do they believe in AGW/CC or, not?

    • No he wants a military council to enforce Climate Change policy to which parliament answers by drafting law changes … aka they become supreme rulers.

  12. Probably most depressing for the greens in Australian was the horrible performance in last weekends by election in Eden-Monaro.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Eden-Monaro_by-election

    In a seat ravaged by the bushfires they managed to have support down 3.17% to a new low of 5.61%

    The humour of the week came with the leader of the greens Adam Bandt suggesting the Eden-Monaro result sends a clear message on climate change. That sent quite a few giggles around even leftwing MSM, he probably needed to think that thru a bit better.

  13. ”Former Queensland fire chief Lee Johnson arguing for militarisation of the fire service, to deal with the climate apocalypse”

    ha ha . Firemen with automatic weapons firing at …….I dunno… Parliament house? The sky? LOL

  14. While this might seem amusing, the unions in Victoria and a compliant government have taken over the volunteer country fire authority. This might not seem like much, but there were reports of metropolitan fire fighters asking a store owner, with a poster for the opposition party in the window, to take it down or they might not come to put out a fire. Played down as a joke but I’m worried that it will become something even Ray Bradbury couldn’t dream up.

    • ” there were reports of metropolitan fire fighters asking a store owner, with a poster for the opposition party in the window, to take it down or they might not come to put out a fire.”

      WHAT!!?? If this is true it need to exposed.

    • Now this does not surprise me about Victoria, the CCP state of Australia with Comrade Dan at the helm of a burning and sinking virus infected state.

    • If you ever see or hear about that sort of thing in Australia ask the person to simply report it to the Crime and Corruption organization in that state. It is not something the police will give a rats about but most state based corruption committees love to get there numbers up by looking at things like that.

    • We used to live in Melbourne, Victoria. During a state election campaign some years ago, we were door-knocked at home by two metropolitan fire fighters. They told us that if our state electorate didn’t vote labor, there might be a delay in fire-fighters turning up if we had a fire. They also implied that there might be many spontaneous house fires in our area. Charming! But then, that’s SOP for the labor unions and their puppet government.

      These are the same people who have spent years destroying the Country Fire Authority. Every barrier they come across, including court orders, have been relentlessly overcome by means foul.

      We left Victoria.

  15. Continually putting out fires leads to more massive fires sooner or later. Why aren’t people saying this????? It’s a delicate situation and I can’t see anything really changing. We need to keep putting out fires near dwellings But we can’t do that much about the hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of fuel. …in the short to medium term. So let’s blame fossil fuels and then we can can relax and look smug. This is really vomit worthy stuff from the fire ”chief”

  16. Every time we have a big fire we ultimately get inquiry recommendations on funding for fuel load reduction.

    This is generally met for a few years, but over time the amount of money allocated decreases. Both NSW and Victoria had let this type of funding slide quite significantly in recent years.

    Every 10 years we get a major bushfire. It should be until around 2030 that we hear again about global warming and bushfires in the same sentence in Australia.

  17. When the federal gov t. stops chasing the inner city green vote, demands the Chief scientist tell us the truth about CO2 and its real properties, then we can get rid of the Green menace.

    Its about time he general [publicc realise that the real aim of the Greenies is to destroy Western civilisation, then they will of us their version, Communisn mark 2.

    VK5ELLMJE

  18. Nobody seems to be mentioning that Australia has a history of circa 50,000 years of controlled burning which came to an end once Europeans began to settle the country. The intensive bush fires of the last 100 years are a new phenomenon. The evidence for this is in Australia’s archaeological and geological record.

    • It’s almost as though our ancestors were smarter than we are, and knew how to live in a country like Australia.

  19. I think climate change has gone far beyond nuclear, and into the supernova category. Yes folks, climate change will not only destroy our planet, but will engulf our entire solar system. We humans have pulled the trigger on a massive, runaway nuclear fusion. However, there is still time to stop this process, via a worldwide, UN-enforced ban on fossil fuels. Yes, it will be difficult at first. But just think of how fit we will all be, walking and biking to our government-mandated, personally-assigned cooperatives. We will live in large coop-run dwelling clusters, with only 100 sq. feet of space per individual allowed, because that is all we need. There won’t be any storeage space, because anything we aren’t using on a daily basis is stuff we don’t need. Lawns will be outlawed, of course. Only gardens will be allowed, and these will be coop-managed, with everyone assigned tasks, which will be done using hand tools. It will be wonderful, like living in nirvana. Yes it will.

  20. We all need to follow the Finnish raking and vacuuming their forests. there’d be no problem then.

    If you live close to a forest – Why?
    If you do not ensure that your property is fire resistant – why?

    • Ghalfrunt:

      We all need to follow the Finnish raking and vacuuming their forests. there’d be no problem then.

      Are you sure the Finns rake their forests?

        • <blockquote . . . the potus says so!

          Well I was thinking more about Heartland, but hey, if you’re in agreement with BOTH Heartland AND Trump, I say good for you to be brave enough to admit such a thing given the plethora of precarious prowling progressives lurking about here!

          I want you be very careful to avoid leaving any trails for your former intellectual cellmates to follow. Just look what happened to, e.g., the two Michaels, Moore and Shellenburger!

          Everyone! Applause for the bravery of Ghalfrunt!

    • But it will rot of course over time, releasing methane and the same CO2 anyway. So it is a moot point, and is terrestrial carbon and not fossil carbon. Gid rid of old dead and mature vegetation, and get young new trees and plants/grass growing, and that is much more fire resistant. If you want to control the risk of major fire that is.

      This is why professional managed forestry and logging makes sense in certain ‘commercial’ forests, since its fate is sealed in the scheme of things, which is to recycle the terrestrial carbon/CO2 within the biosphere through plant life via the atmosphere. And the global Ocean does much more than terra firma.

    • CO2 is good. It greens the planet, allowing more food to be grown, and helping to save millions from starvation. Or are you one of those people who believe that the planet is better off with less people?

  21. Globalization has been very hard on people whose only salable commodity is their physical labor. There used to be lots of jobs in factories, now not. I say we have an ‘army’ of arborists who care for the forest. It will cost but it will be a way of allowing people to live among trees, something we like, while not getting burned in the occasional fire, something we don’t like.

    • It won’t cost a thousandth of what they want for “climate change mitigation,” that much is certain.

  22. Yep. And it seems with the little preventative burning they do carry out, many don’t understand what they are trying to achieve. A friend told me the fire brigade had burnt near him, but they lit it up, then hosed it all out before it really got going. He said that all the bush litter was still there, except now it was blackened a bit and left wet.

    I did not think too much of that, but recently saw exactly the same thing happen in a reserve near my house: with a different fire brigade. I was pleased to see it being lit up, but the next day found they’d lit up and then hosed down and then left! Most undergrowth and litter was still intact. Bloody useless token gesture actions.

    An aside: recently had an online argument with someone who said NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) had doubled their burnign off in the most recent decade compared to the decade before. “Thus this is proof climate change was the problem!”.
    When I checked the figures, it turned out they’d increased from burning 0.5% per year to 1.0% per year. ie, from a 200 year burn cycle to a 100 year burn cycle.

  23. Mullins and Johnson are both ‘former’ fire department heavies upon whose watch it all went haywire, that the fuel load reductions were not done, the reality of what might happen was not responded to and who are now trying to cover up their negligence. Mullins is actually a member of an Oz green-left climate loon outfit headed by none other than Tim Flannery. They are just a joke and (got my fingers crossed on this one) I hope the RC issues findings which confirms their negligence and unhinged blame it all of climate change and the deniers.

  24. They (and California, and the MSM) must have missed this one:

    https://tinyurl.com/y7h8qle3

    Royal Society – Global trends in wildfire and its impacts perceptions versus realities in a changing world. Apart from one mention at the end for form’s sake stating it “might some day” have an impact, climate change is not mentioned.

    • Coach Springer “You don’t fight fires by reducing CO2”.

      In fact fight fires WITH CO2. I keep my CO2 extinguisher handy but I hide the label so ill informed people don’t object.

  25. The military response required may very well be to fight off the Marxist takeover that is well underway utilizing the phoney causes of global warming, gender issues, white privilege, race bias and any other means they can think of to make western society break down by making people feel guilty. That’s all on top of intentionally bankrupting nations- Trudeau is doing a stellar job here in Canada.

  26. I own a farm that was burnt this year, as was my community.
    We live next to a 250,000 acre eucalyptus forest that has not had a hazard reduction burn in at least 100 years. We also are not allowed to clear our boundary because they may have endangered trees (despite the massive forest next door).
    Now the left claim it is due to climate change.
    It is due to ignorance and apathy.
    The landowners, who know the truth, are being ignored

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