Fires and Burning

Burning off our biodiversity

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Up in smoke. Researchers at the Australian National University calculate that hollows of this size take more than 300 years to form

The Clarence Environment Centre is also witnessing and questioning the arson being carried out in their local area. The immense damage being done to wildlife and ecosystems, under guise of ‘public safety’ is galling. So many of our rare and threatened wildlife are dependent on large old trees with hollows for nesting and sheltering. 

DELWP report on Reducing the Effect of Planned Burns on Hollow Bearing Trees

Friday, April 8, 2016

There is inadequate information on the fate of hollow-bearing trees (HBTs) subject to planned burns in Victoria. This study aimed to provide a methodologically robust estimate of the
collapse rate of HBTs in planned burns in the forests of Gippsland. The study’s primary goal was to quantify the impact on HBTs of exposure to a single instance of planned fire; the secondary goal was to provide evidence-based options for managers seeking to reduce this impact.

When backburns backfire

Friday, January 15, 2016

Leaked documents and The Age’s excellent exposé on the disastrous decisions by DELWP fire managers before Christmas, again highlights this culture of gung-ho-ness which is causing so many losses – personal, social and environmental.

There was more fire-excitement, more bad decisions, more escaped government burns, more homes lost, more wildlife killed, more heartache and angst. We will see yet another enquiry that will recommend exactly the same  - fire management needs to improve. This DELWP created disaster happened just weeks after the Lancefield escape burn report and recommendations came out. It repeated what the last enquiry said, and the one before that and so on.

Letting it burn so they can earn

Saturday, November 14, 2015

For years people have been witnessing what seems like the deliberate prolonging of bushfires. Right back to the 90s up until now, a new agenda has created these monster fires.

Many of them are due to planned burns that just happen to escape on the weekend when no one is patrolling – a-la Wilson’s Prom. Other instances of deliberate perpetuation of a fire comes directly from CFA vollies and govt crew, where they are told to push a burning log across the track if they want to be on $40 an hour rather than $25 for the next week.

Lancefield fire investigatator scrutinised

Saturday, October 17, 2015

After the escaped burn around Lancefield during the week of 6 October burnt 3,000 hectares, destroyed 4 homes, dozens of sheds, fences and pasture, the Victorian Government has commissioned Mr Murray Carter to oversee an enquiry.

Murray Carter Mr Carter was the Manager of the WA Department of Environment and Conservation’s Fire Management Services at the time of WA’s horrific Margaret River fires in 2011. Escaped burns there destroyed 32 homes, nine chalets, four sheds and burnt out more than 3,400 hectares. A 50,000 hectare wildfire south of Nannup, a small town 70 km east of Margaret river, was also caused by an escape from a prescribed burn lit at the same time as the Margaret River burns. These were the two most costly and disastrous escapes from prescribed burns in WA and it all happened under Mr Carter’s management.

Mr Carter was then promoted to Director of Western Australia's Office of Bushfire Risk Management. He appears to have no qualifications in fire ecology or risk management, but has worked within the WA bureaucracy for many years.

Lancefield fire investigation – a smokescreen?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lancefield escaped burn Oct 2015The public has every reason to be sceptical of the outcome of the investigation the Victorian Government has commissioned into the escaped departmental burn during the week of 6 October 2015.  There is huge public outrage over the burn that turned into a wildfire and destroyed over 4,000 hectares, 4 homes, dozens of sheds, fences and pasture around Lancefield. This ‘independent’  investigator from WA was also being investigated for the very same failings in 2011-12 when he managed WA’s most disastrous escape burn that destroyed 32 homes and nine chalets in WA’s tourist region of Margaret River.

Mr Murray Carter seems an inappropriate appointment to oversee this enquiry or quell the outrage. Will this be a careful cover-up under the guise of an independent investigation? It is expected to report back by early November. Read more detail here

We are also hearing that the attitude of many DELWP employees in the local area is as appalling as we witnessed during the 2014 Goongerah-Deddick fires. We are hearing outrageous stories of DELWP vehicles and contractors bulldozing through people’s private properties, knocking down valuable vegetation and trees that pose no risk, without so much as a g’day. The disrespect is profound. The more work DELWP and contracted bulldozer drivers can find, the better their pay cheque. We seem to be witnessing another replay of the Red Gold incentive running the show, as seen so many times before!

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