Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Australia's Fire - Preventable?

About a year and a half ago I wrote about major wildfires that did significant damage to southern Utah as well as Southern Idaho. There were many associated with those fires who blamed our no-logging, no grazing, no restoration federal policy, fueled by environmentalists, for the fires being so severe and dangerous.

Recently another fire of that magnitude erupted in Australia, destroying property and killing many people. Some of the residents affected by the fire are taking up the same mantra as those I wrote about almost two years ago.
ANGRY residents last night accused local authorities of contributing to the bushfire toll by failing to let residents chop down trees and clear up bushland that posed a fire risk.

During question time at a packed community meeting in Arthurs Creek on Melbourne's northern fringe, Warwick Spooner — whose mother Marilyn and brother Damien perished along with their home in the Strathewen blaze — criticised the Nillumbik council for the limitations it placed on residents wanting the council's help or permission to clean up around their properties in preparation for the bushfire season. "We've lost two people in my family because you dickheads won't cut trees down," he said. "We wanted trees cut down on the side of the road … and you can't even cut the grass for God's sake."

Another resident said she had asked the council four times to tend to out-of-control growth on public land near her home, but her pleas had been ignored.

There was widespread applause when Nillumbik Mayor Bo Bendtsen said changes were likely to be made about the council's policy surrounding native vegetation.

But his response was not good enough for Mr Spooner: "It's too late now mate. We've lost families, we've lost people."

ht: Michelle Malkin


Frank Staheli said...

Excellent thoughts. I had heard about possible arson, but not about the environmental restrictions in Australia.

I had a similar take on the California wildfires just over a year ago.

Cameron said...

The problem was that the fire was so hot and spread so quickly that it killed people. In the article I linked to the local fire chief was quoted as saying that even if he had had more firemen available, it would have only resulted in more dead firemen.

By clearing out the dead undergrowth that serves as fuel, the fires would be less severe and less deadly.

Unknown said...

I just read your other fire post. Many things have led to the hotter and larger fires of the past 5 or so years. In Utah and most of the Western US a large part of the problem is the logging industries practice of taking out the old growth trees that typically don't burn, leaving the smaller less protected trees.

The policy of putting out every fire for the last 100 years I believe is the biggest reason for the fires we are seeing today. Many of the forests in the Western US have a history of burning regularly, these fires were smaller and mainly cleared out the underbrush. Not allowing fires to burn has increased the fuel load. Grazing is not an answer, most of the fuel load is ignored by domestic grazing animals.

We do need to allow the under brush to be cleared and some Utah communities are working with the State on doing that.

To blame it all on one group or another (Im not saying you are) such as the logging industry or the environmentalist is the wrong way to look at it. There are was of reducing the fire risk and hopefully reducing the large, hot fires that are environmentally friendly, while still allowing residents to clear brush and loggers to cut trees.