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.



Basically, rather than throwing resources at putting a lightning strike out on the 19th December DELWP managers chose to light more fire. Despite the army of water bombers the state now claims it has, despite the known effectiveness of their ground attacks on smaller fires like this one was, the Department’s fire boys decided to increase the fire perimeter just when they knew bad fire weather was coming. Hey Presto – 115 homes destroyed! (Oh whoops).

This is unforgiveable! Jane Garrett – minister for emergency services, it's time to get a team of psychologists onto this problem, not another report.

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