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18 August 2009 @ 09:02 am
What utter rubbish!  
Many of you may remember the terrible fires in Australia (Black Saturday) which killed 173 people and destroyed thousands of homes and burnt 1.1 million acres to the ground - well, the government has just handed down the results of its investigation into the negligence of the National Parks and Wildlife and the RFB.

Now, let's be clear - everyone who lives or has lived near a national park in Australia since the abolition of the Forestry and subsequent hand over of maintenance to the National Parks and Wildlife knows that they locked up the parks and stopped doing essential yearly backburns and clearing of fire trails.

The Australian bush needs to be burnt every year or two in order to prevent extreme a backlog of ground fuel and for the general welfare of the plants and animals living there. When you leave a park untouched for a decade or more - the eventual fire that rips through is so extreme that it kills everything (rather than rejuvinating it).

ANYWAY - instead of recommending that the National Parks and Wildlife DO THEIR JOB and correctly manage the parks, the advice given was that residents should simply abandon their homes in the face of an oncoming fire. For one, that's often not possible because all access roads are gone and there's no safe retreat to start with and two you can't expect people to abandon their lively hoods - it doesn't happen in Australia. If you have stock and crops you're going to stay. What they should be doing is trying to prevent FIRESTORMS instead of sidestepping their responsibility.

EXAMPLE: we live next to Limeburner's National Park - which used to be burnt every year in light burns and never recorded a dangerous fire. After the take over by NP&W we have had three MAJOR fire incidents. The park has not been burnt for 8 years - EIGHT, and it is so thick with scrub that not even the kangaroos can get into it (and thus spend all their time on our properties). Everybody, fearing for their lives and stock (as there is no way out of this area if you get a southerly fire), has BEGGED the National Parks for a burn off while it's still cold enough to do so but we CAN'T GET APPROVAL... I mean, WTF. Do they learn NOTHING from the deaths of 173 people? It's not rocket science. Regular light burns stop raging firestorms - seriously, how can it take an investigation worth millions of dollars 8 months to totally miss the truth that everybody's been screaming from the start?

We've fought through two firestorms in two different national parks - and i can tell you this, nothing has changed - until the government and the National Parks step up and take responsibility for the serious task for which they have been charged, people will continue to die and hve no doubt, the blood is on their hands.

sidhe1sidhe1 on August 17th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
What the everloving fuck? I don't live anywhere near a place where I really need to worry about firestorms and even *I* know you need to have controlled burns to prevent things like that from happening!

That is a similar problem in a lot of areas here, too. Some of it is very similar to what you said above--government agencies simply not doing their jobs. Other times, though, it's some dumbass crunchy granola treehugger group that pitches a fit and doesn't want any of the forest to be burned. Those people make me even more angry than inept government agencies, because if they are soo gung-ho about caring for the land, then they ought to know that controlled burns are a GOOD thing!

Can you and your community just do a burn on your own if you can't get the gov't to do it? I mean, you might get in trouble but it would be better than losing your livelihood or dying in a fire that could have been prevented. My friend's husband did that. They have a big piece of property up in the northern part of my state where they have big forest fires. The park rangers and firemen wouldn't clear the road even though it was right in the path of a big fire. So her husband and his brother took their big giant trucks, put a heavy chain between them on the tow hitches and knocked down the scrub that was going to act as kindling and cleared it away.
ellymelly: australiaellymelly on August 17th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)

Can you and your community just do a burn on your own if you can't get the gov't to do it?

if we do that we'll all go to jail for a LONG time. the best we can do (and are doing) is making sure our boundaries are clear but seriously - there's only so much you can do when embers are traveling 3km in front of 200foot high flames...

last time we had a fire, it caught the bottom part of our boundary (where the tea-trees meet the national park) and we stood there in front of a burning log that was about to catch hold of all our personal forest going, "CAN YOU PLEASE TAKE A SECOND TO PUT OUT THIS LOG LIKE SERIOUSLY YOU NEED TO PUT OUT THIS LOG BEFORE OUR WHOLE FOREST CATCHES FIRE?"

and - despite having nothing to do and being about 10 metres away they wouldn't put the log out, an our later, our whole forest was on fire, burning toward our crops and it took two helicopters to put it out. *sigh* that's the kind of stupidity we have to deal with.
this and that...alyssa22 on August 17th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Community burns would be illegal. You'd be thrown in jail or at least severely fined for doing that. There are some councils in Australia where you need a permit to remove a tree, even if it's threatening to fall on your house.
ellymelly: star warsellymelly on August 17th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
wish it was illegal for a council to be negligent lol
this and that...alyssa22 on August 18th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
Ha. That would never happen...