Environment

Australian bushfires

A friend of mine who is a major science Professor in Australia wrote this about the bushfires in an email to me recently:

Largely due to extended drought and inability to carry out fuel reduction burns in winter due to a number of reasons.

Lack of investment at state and federal level into fire filters to do back burns.

 

Mostly due to ideology of progressive left that back burning kills fluffy animals so we lock up the forests, especially the case for kangaroo island.

 

People seem to have forgotten that the first French and English explorers described the east coast of Aus as being perpetually shrouded in smoke from forest fires.

I had been thinking that I may have to do some serious research and write an accessible article on the Australian bushfires, but I don’t think I’ll have to now that James Delingpole has done a pretty good job with this article.

 

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8 thoughts on “Australian bushfires

  1. Hector
    The small town I live in has been surrounded by big fires for months now. Wet rainforest pockets that have not burnt in millions of years , relicts of when Australia was connected to Antarctica, including trees that were ten thousand years old ,have been incinerated .
    The fire ecology(s) and fire history of Australia too complex for a brief comment- it involves about 60,000 years of history to begin with.
    However:
    It’s not the changes (or lack of changes ) in temperatures or rainfall that really matters for fire behaviour, rather it’s the longterm and in this case very measurable increase in the total number of days of hot and very dry north westerly winds that have pushed up annual evaporation rates that matters . The annual evaporation rates have risen to levels that are well above annual rainfall and that is what’s behind the sheer scale of these fires . And this has happened all the way from subtropical Queensland to the Mediterranean climate zone of South Australia .
    Sure the lack of fuel reduction over many years, dickheads with matches, building suburbia surrounded by huge piles of eucalyptus the most fire loving tree in the whole world have added to the flames but it’s the increase in winds blowing away what moisture we had that is the heart of this crisis.

  2. When we lived in Oz we were most amused to learn that a stretch of “virgin forest” (I think that was the term used) that had survived for, oh, tens of thousands of years, ABSOLUTELY HAD TO BE protected from the vile loggers. Then someone found some old photographs that showed that the forest had been cleared previously and had then grown back.

    Back then Oz was already beginning to be plagued by fanatical Green notions, some reminiscent of Nazi pagan nature-worship.

  3. That’s typical. A bunch of green cranks have seized an piece of open ground near me, claiming that this “meadow” is the “last unspoiled green space” in the area. It’s two minute’s walk from one of the largest parks in the city, and used to be football pitches. Clay football pitches, at that; twenty years ago, this “unspoiled green space” was bright red.

  4. dearieme
    Yes the greens are very annoying, because most of them live in the cities they actually know next to zilch about the nature and spirit of the land. Their use of the term ‘wilderness’ in itself shows how little the know of this land.

    The small groves Plumwoods;the pockets of wet cold cloud-forest, that i was referring to truly did date back to when Australia was a cold damp land connected to Antarctica. And that is millions of years before eucalypts and their fire loving allies came to dominate so much of Australia’s landscapes.

    The Plumwoods were not logged, they are not hardwoods and their timber had little use-value to foresters. They were simply valued for their beauty. The eucalpt forests that bordered the Plumwoods were logged and/or burnt back which reduced the fuel loads close to those Plumwood groves.

    No species of eucalpt lives longer that about 600-800 years,in fact most eucalpts live for less than 400 years. Eucalpts are basically ‘fire-weeds’.

    BTW Hector all of what your Professor said is (basically) correct, but the statement needs to add this: the extreme drying out of the land is probably down to climate change.

  5. “the extreme drying out of the land is probably down to climate change.”

    The only people who ever “denied” climate change were the alarmist advocates of the infamous Hockey Stick, who pretended that the historical Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age never happened. Everyone else knows that the climate of the Earth has always been in constant flux. Even the continents have been in constant motion, as shown by the former connection between Australia and Antarctica. The alarmists look at today’s snapshot of Planet Earth and fail to realize that they are looking at only one frame from a very long motion picture.

    What we humans need to focus on is adapting to change. At one time, much of the Sahara desert was a green and pleasant land. Now it is not; some of the people moved away, while others changed their lifestyles. Today, fortunately, we have technology which gives us much more flexibility about both moving (over a period of generations) or adapting to change while remaining in place.

  6. Yes and many of them view climate simply as convenient stalking horse for their real ,socialist ambitions. And Australia has been drifting north and gradually drying out for tens of millions of years.
    It has really gotten worse in the past thirty years. Around here we used to get about 500 mls a year, evaporation rates were about 550mls a year and about twice in ten years we got 1000 mls in a year, plenty of ‘water in the bank’ to get us through the tough years: For about thirty years now evaporation rates have risen to about 700mls a year and really wet years have become much less common , these days the ‘water in the bank’ has all been spent.
    Whatever the causes, adaption is essential but its hard to get people to talk about it let alone spend money on it, if it is not accepted that its a real and pressing issue. Down here our polity has been stuck in a groundhog day for ten years and there have been plenty who believe that climate change is bunkum.

    Much depends on the speed-scale of change.
    Australia’s fire ecology, environmental history etc are of long professional interest to me. While by October I was sure in my bones that we were heading for a very bad “fire Flume” season and we all had done lots of prep and live in a region that still has the traditional self-organising, community minded and individualist, Australian ethos;
    The sheer scale, the sheer immensity of it, the impact of living with it for months and months is hard to convey.

  7. BTW John Monash
    well summed the traditional Australia ethos.

    “not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs…the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline”

    Its an ethos shaped by living in a beautiful , extravagant but sometimes very unforgiving landscape.
    So far no other continent has a climate anything like the so unpredictable,so prone to drought fire and flooding rains that Australia has but that could change in no time at all.

  8. Gavin it’s finally raining, all of us are totally rooted and there is god knows how long and how much cleaning up and repair ahead of us.
    If you’re right and there’s nothing the world can do to reverse climate change then we are all fucked.

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