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Bush Fires

How the f... does Dan Andrews escape massive scrutiny re the bush fires (ditto the NSW Premier). No fan of Scomo but forests are a State Government issue....his head should be the first to roll. I guess the Libs have been silent as they don't want to rock Gladys' boat....

Shame on the lot of them.

The 2010 Victorian Royal Commission recommended the “state fund and commit to implementing a long-term program of prescribed burning based on an annual rolling target of 5 per cent minimum of public land” - equal to 385,000ha annually.

It appears the State Government here abandoned hectare-based targets in 2015, opting for a ‘computer modelled measure of residual risk’ ....WHY?

Using the Royal Commission’s target of a minimum of 390,000Ha of annual hazard reduction burns across Victoria, the actual planned burnt areas were;


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


A cumulative deficit over the last 4 years in Victoria of over one million hectares of land.

And they knew from their mapping that fuel load issue was a major problem again.

And it appears the NSW Government was just as bad!


Finals, then 4 in a row!

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #1
It's hard to know, Fly:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-05/lack-of-backburning-blamed-for-fire-losses-in-gippsland/10869018

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-07/black-saturday-fire-fuel-threat-planned-burns-needed/10787050

We can all take out of the above whatever suits, but there are certainly points from both sides in both of the articles.  While the fuel load isn't met, is the 'average fire risk' at or below 70%? (the 2018 DELWP report says this figure 65% in 2018)

Having a quick look at the VBRC recommendations (67 of them) and then the Implementation reports, most were considered complete/closed by the 2016 report.  Closed does not necessarily mean implemented, as it includes the idea that circumstances can change, so it is no longer relevant, or a better/different solution can be implemented.

Where is the credit for much improved fire plans, warnings, management?  Loss of life is tragic given that it is fire fighters this year that have died in their desire to protect, however, it is a much smaller number than it could have easily been.

This is such a complex puzzle and it is hard particularly when there is a lot of misinformation and everytime someone says something you have to go on a 'google worm' to start to make sense whether it is believable of not.


Re: Bush Fires

Reply #2
Disagree strongly Dodge.

Fires can't be intense, or long lived, if there is little fuel load.

It is a very basic, understood equation - and recognised globally without question (Byram's Fire Intensity Equation)

It's the one thing man can control. And we FAIL to control it. Fail miserably in fact (NSW are no different it seems).

And all the experts know that once the intensity level passes a point - it's uncontrollable - so mitigation/suppression efforts are futile.

Even if you buy (to some extent) the shortened burn off season, someone has f...up badly here.

The RC said burn off 5%, they burn off less than 2%. Massive, massive difference.

Do  the maths on the extra fuel load on the ground....

It happens time after time after time.

That's inexcusable, yet everyone bleats at Scomo (major dill granted).

They should be howling for the blood of Dan and Gladys.
Finals, then 4 in a row!

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #3
State Gov can often struggle to achieve its targets due to federal policy.  I.e.  funding targets. 
"everything you know is wrong"

Paul Hewson

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #4
So much for not burning off, the gift that keeps on giving!

Run off into creeks from the rain is already killing fish by the thousands according to reports coming from East Gippsland this morning.

I must admit I'm very sceptical about the previous conditions preventing burn-off, so is my brother who is CFA and lives near a state forest. He' told me they have been begging the DSE to let them do control burns for three years and they keep getting refused permission with claims it was too dry. But he said the peaks of some areas near him had snow on them, while other peaks had been cleared of all trees for, wait for it, wind turbines!

So we suspect the real reason for missing targets and resorting to "strategic burns" comes courtesy of some bean-counter somewhere who now has a fat bonus for cutting/saving million$ from the spend on forestry management! ;)

I think the correct term to describe the situation is "Cluster of Fork", or something like that!
The Force Awakens!

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #5
So much for not burning off, the gift that keeps on giving!

Run off into creeks from the rain is already killing fish by the thousands according to reports coming from East Gippsland this morning.

I must admit I'm very sceptical about the previous conditions preventing burn-off, so is my brother who is CFA and lives near a state forest. He' told me they have been begging the DSE to let them do control burns for three years and they keep getting refused permission with claims it was too dry. But he said the peaks of some areas near him had snow on them, while other peaks had been cleared of all trees for, wait for it, wind turbines!

So we suspect the real reason for missing targets and resorting to "strategic burns" comes courtesy of some bean-counter somewhere who now has a fat bonus for cutting/saving million$ from the spend on forestry management! ;)

I think the correct term to describe the situation is "Cluster of Fork", or something like that!

Bet article I've seen on topic.

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2020/01/an-inferno-of-incompetence-and-obfuscation/

"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.

Under the Australian Constitution land management, and therefore bushfire management, is the responsibility of the states. It is state governments which decide how crown land will be managed, and how the protection of communities and their assets from bushfire damage will be organised.

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.

Of all the things that perplex me about the current mess the most significant is this: the blatant ignoring  by premiers, ministers  and agency bureaucrats of the warnings of bushfire scientists  that a disaster was imminent and, on top of that, their failure to study bushfire history.  Our climate, even the ‘pre-climate-change climate’,  our vegetation and the abundant sources of ignition mean that we are inherently a bushfire-prone country. And even on top of all that,  our governments and bureaucrats have been provided, over and over and over again, with evidence that killer bushfires will occur in Australia unless pre-emptive action is taken.  Not just here, but in California, Canada, Greece and Portugal — anywhere in the world with hot dry summers, periodic droughts and flammable vegetation."
Finals, then 4 in a row!

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #6
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.
I tend to agree with Thry, while I agree about the waste, waste of money, opportunity and initiatives, the Feds wield far more influence than they are willing to admit.

They'll turn up to spruik their contribution when a new freeway, tunnel or bridge opens, but they 'll evaporate the minute something like this happens with comments like it's a state issue. Yet roads, forests, farms, rivers, lakes and bays are all infrastructure.

 The truth sits somewhere between State run and Federally financed.

A good example is the sale of the Port of Melb, the State made the decision and cut the deal, which the Feds had to tick off. But the Feds also claimed a big slice of the cake while the State argued it should get it all the funds! As far as I know the state lost the debate!
The Force Awakens!

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #7
Whilst not related specifically to the bush fires, I have a friend who works in industry that falls under Parks and Environment. He has been telling for me years these guys (relevant ministers in government and in the Parks offices) are utterly clueless. It therefore doesn't surprise me the forests are a mess.
2017 - Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Harder, Smarter. #ruthless
2018 - Could be a long year...
2019 - The Empire Strikes Back
2020 - No more BS, no more excuses, it's time.

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #8
I do not know if this is state wide, but I've been told people living in Victorian alpine regional areas with logging permits are no longer allowed to clear deadwood or fallen timber, they have to cut live green timber only, with the allocation dropped down from 8 tonne to 6 tonne annually.

My CFA contacts tell me the changes in the rules had a profound effect.

Firstly, apparently in alpine regions it can take about 3 yrs for cut timber to fully dry out before it can be used in one of those expensive slow burners like a space heater or a wood burning Auger stove. If you don't dry it out properly it creates havoc with the heater or stove, so everybody dries their timber.

Secondly, this means that in his highest fire risk areas people now only cut down green living trees, leaving the highly combustible dry fallen timber and branches in the undergrowth, and around the house they have up to 18 tonne of cut timber drying(The 6 tonne in-use pile, and 2 years in advance with up to another 12 tonnes)!

Finally, the bush is full of dead decaying trees, probably from fires, that fall without notice on camper-vans, tents, rare or endangered wallabies, wombats, CAF volunteers or off-road vehicles. Not one has managed to hit a passing politician or Prahran based environmentalist yet, but in the alpine region outside of Falls Creek they are rarer than a Yowie apparently!

It's tough to blame the residents when you find bureaucracy so hard at work! (Downhill skiing it seems! :o)
The Force Awakens!

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #9
Fly - intensity would also depend on what is burning?

I get where you are coming from, however, I can't do the maths on how much extra fuel load exists on the ground:
 - how is it measured
 - what is the baseline
 - how much is added each year if it is not burned
 - what is the rate in which fuel load 'regenerates'
 -  does drought increase the fuel load (low growth, but drier, more combustible load) more than wetter years where growth would be more significant, but may have lower combustion
 - Is there a greater chance of lightning strikes causing fires in wetter or drier years - fires caused by lightning seem to cause more damage
 
These questions are probably answered in research and experience.

It's been interesting reading here and elsewhere, trying to understand where people are coming from - the city v country viewpoints are quite different.  More importantly is trying to understand how the issues intertwine and which are right and which are wrong.

I certainly accept that governments and big orgs have the ability to stuff things up as they are not nimble, unduly influenced by 'lobbyists' and now much more ideologically driven rather than doing 'what is for the greater good'

Cheers Dodge

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #10
Fly - intensity would also depend on what is burning?

I get where you are coming from, however, I can't do the maths on how much extra fuel load exists on the ground:
 - how is it measured
 - what is the baseline
 - how much is added each year if it is not burned
 - what is the rate in which fuel load 'regenerates'
 -  does drought increase the fuel load (low growth, but drier, more combustible load) more than wetter years where growth would be more significant, but may have lower combustion
 - Is there a greater chance of lightning strikes causing fires in wetter or drier years - fires caused by lightning seem to cause more damage
 
These questions are probably answered in research and experience.

It's been interesting reading here and elsewhere, trying to understand where people are coming from - the city v country viewpoints are quite different.  More importantly is trying to understand how the issues intertwine and which are right and which are wrong.

I certainly accept that governments and big orgs have the ability to stuff things up as they are not nimble, unduly influenced by 'lobbyists' and now much more ideologically driven rather than doing 'what is for the greater good'

Cheers Dodge

http://learnline.cdu.edu.au/units/env207/fundamentals/behaviour.html
Finals, then 4 in a row!

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #11
Thanks Fly.  Got to pretend to work today,  so will look later.

Re: Bush Fires

Reply #12
It's the behavior of people that is the real problem, not the way fire behaves.

For example looking at the current media coverage, that stuff that influences political opinions and determines policy. It's clear the media like to emphasize the extremes, for example, nobody is claiming prescribed burning should happen everywhere to everything, in fact it's been shown widespread prescribed burning would be too frequent as old undergrowth areas are needed for biodiversity, areas where the undergrowth and debris accumulates for 50 to 100 years. But the moment somebody tries to sensibly discuss localised prescribed burning, around towns and properties, the media give some inner city based environmentalist an equal voice to infer that all prescribed burning is pure Armageddon, conveniently ignoring the "localised" part of the prescribed burning proposals. The bureaucratic response as painted by the media seems to be all or none, but is it?

Then just in case everybody hasn't been whipped into a frenzy of hatred, they have an extremist environmentalist telling us that once in a 100 year fire events are fine and natural, and we should just accept our towns and properties will burn to the ground at least once in a lifetime!

The media just hate offering middle ground, they always gravitate to extremism on every issue.
The Force Awakens!


Re: Bush Fires

Reply #14
The sooner we listen to competent people the better

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=20&v=N8R9I7CAqCU&feature=emb_logo
 
Couldn't agree more. Most people are spending too much time blaming politics of every side. Let's just listen to the people who understand the land and know how to manage it, and start managing it!