Aussie Bush Fires



  • Does anyone have first hand nuanced understanding of the anti-greenies 'They stopped us clearing fuel!' argument?

    As it stands I find "It's all the Libs fault because climate change" and " It's all Labour/Greenies fault because fuel clearing" equally unappealing while the crisis is going on so trying to avoid being educated by the screechers.

    I know very little of the fuel clearing argument except from a brief conversation with an ex-flatmates parents who own some land in country NSW and opinion was divided between them and their neighbours.



  • The issue centres around management of National Parks in NSW.

    We've got hundreds of thousands of square km of National Parks, and outside of the major parks near Sydney (eg Royal National Park, Blue Mountains, Ku-Rin-Gai etc) they have very low visitation.

    These vast tranches of land present difficulties for National Parks. The purpose of these parks, broadly speaking, is to preserve the landscape. There is a faction within the management of National Parks that believe these areas should be left completely alone, or managed with a very light touch.

    The problem that approach presents is twofold - fire management and pest management.

    There are plenty of people west of the range who think that National Parks have been negligent in managing these two issues. They have allowed a build-up of fuel which reached levels which some deem unacceptable. In the deep, dark recesses of big parks that's never going to be fixed, but in areas surrounding property it causes landowners considerable angst.

    Same goes for pests, which run riot in these big parks and in turn damage the land, fences and stock of bordering landholders.

    People point to various funding/staff cuts for National Parks, but that's only part of the story. It's more of an ideological issue with how this land should be treated.



  • @Rembrandt said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    As it stands I find "It's all the Libs fault because climate change" and " It's all Labour/Greenies fault because fuel clearing" equally unappealing while the crisis is going on so trying to avoid being educated by the screechers.

    On this point - the political tightrope must be hard for the major parties in Australia to walk at times:

    Lib/Nat coalition: "free markets" but also "coal lobby"
    Labor: "Greater good" but also "mining union"

    Then of course the Greens are on their own scale between "militantly batshit crazy" and "unrealistic dreamers".

    Different policies on the entire climate change thing have been tried of course - the carbon price was thrown out almost immediately (still waiting for my $500 saving on electricity, Tony), while the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has been pretty good overall.

    Lack of specific policy by our Federal Government is leaving a degree of uncertainty on this. It seems that our emissions overall aren't decreasing so welding that to the science, there is still an issue.

    State governments here are making lots of nice gestures but then we're also having wind farms knocked back from expanding - which is a bit ridiculous because the infrastructure build is a significant cost, so if you can expand an existing site its much easier than starting a new one.

    https://www.goulburnpost.com.au/story/6458594/crookwell-iii-wind-farm-knocked-back/

    You can't simply stand up solar/wind farms anywhere because you need to balance load through existing network or build out (expensive) new ones.



  • Without having any knowledge of where the populations are and what precautions are already in place wouldn't it make sense to have very large firebreaks and frequent fuel removals from any populated areas? From what I understand bush fires are a historic inevitability so trying to stop them from occurring would be a waste of money but maybe more could be done to protect people and property. I guess that is where it is being argued the funding cuts have hit.



  • @Rembrandt said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    Without having any knowledge of where the populations are and what precautions are already in place wouldn't it make sense to have very large firebreaks and frequent fuel removals from any populated areas? From what I understand bush fires are a historic inevitability so trying to stop them from occurring would be a waste of money but maybe more could be done to protect people and property. I guess that is where it is being argued the funding cuts have hit.

    Given that fires can create their own weather patterns, firebreaks would have to be enormous scars on the landmark to ensure that embers couldn't create spot fires kilometres in front of the main fire.

    One only has to look at the damage in suburban areas from Black Saturday:
    alt text



  • @Rembrandt said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    Without having any knowledge of where the populations are and what precautions are already in place wouldn't it make sense to have very large firebreaks and frequent fuel removals from any populated areas? From what I understand bush fires are a historic inevitability so trying to stop them from occurring would be a waste of money but maybe more could be done to protect people and property. I guess that is where it is being argued the funding cuts have hit.

    Yes - you're on the money there, but there are a few challenges as urban areas grow, they are sometimes hard up against native bushland. Burning off right next to residential areas presents problems of its own.

    Some Councils have restrictive policies on clearing - to the point where the big Victorian fires in 2009 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Saturday_bushfires) featured some localities practically wiped off the map, while individual houses survived due to clearing a belt around themselves. One resident was actually in the middle of a legal battle with local Council for cutting down these trees, from memory, and was the only house that survived in the immediate area.

    The Australian landscape - particularly forested areas - has an intrinsic relationship with fire (https://www.bushheritage.org.au/what-we-do/science/themes/fire-ecology & https://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/community-safety/bushfire) and so finding the right balance is key.

    The bushland around Sydney - the Blue Mountains - gets tinder dry at points through the year, but at the same time if you descend into lower areas, it is practically subtropical rainforest that generally won't burn due to moisture content, even in high summer. Something similar is happening to the subtropical rainforest hinterland up on the NSW north coast where the worst fires are burning.

    4e36c6a3-c3dc-44ce-9b7f-ea7eb822259b-image.png

    That map had a few red icons yesterday for bushfires out of control. THankfully none now.



  • Couple of fires kinda closish to us now at Woodgate/Buxton, 20km away but across the river.

    Not that embers can't skip across that ... So far though wind hasn't pushed it our way.

    Would be hoping there's not a lot of fuel in and around us.

    At the moment wind is blowing in from the north, which is directly off the sea for us. (And it's been howling today, dropped wuite a bit now.) Which has been weird as there is this massive pall of smoke haze hanging around looking like fog. But there's nothing North of us to burn.

    So I guess it's smoke from further south on a bit of a merry go round.

    Either that or from up around Rocky/Yeppon way ...

    Took some photos ... will see if I can load them.



  • Resized_20191113_070308_411424639499619.jpeg

    This from the hill above our place looking NE towards the main part of Hervey Bay town.

    May not be particularly clear but if you zoom up the photo you'll get an idea of the smoke. Sky was otherwise pretty clear.

    You'd usually see Fraser Island in the background, but you're struggling to see Point Vernon 8km away.

    As I say, found this remarkable as the wind was coming directly from where there is nothing to burn, so indicative of the smoke being ubiquitous at the moment.



  • @antipodean said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    @Rembrandt said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    Without having any knowledge of where the populations are and what precautions are already in place wouldn't it make sense to have very large firebreaks and frequent fuel removals from any populated areas? From what I understand bush fires are a historic inevitability so trying to stop them from occurring would be a waste of money but maybe more could be done to protect people and property. I guess that is where it is being argued the funding cuts have hit.

    Given that fires can create their own weather patterns, firebreaks would have to be enormous scars on the landmark to ensure that embers couldn't create spot fires kilometres in front of the main fire.

    One only has to look at the damage in suburban areas from Black Saturday:
    alt text

    I challenge anyone who didnt look at that pic and instantly focus on that house up the top that didnt burn as all thier neighbours did.

    Also, why did the houses burn but the trees didnt?



  • @Baron-Silas-Greenback said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    @antipodean said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    @Rembrandt said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    Without having any knowledge of where the populations are and what precautions are already in place wouldn't it make sense to have very large firebreaks and frequent fuel removals from any populated areas? From what I understand bush fires are a historic inevitability so trying to stop them from occurring would be a waste of money but maybe more could be done to protect people and property. I guess that is where it is being argued the funding cuts have hit.

    Given that fires can create their own weather patterns, firebreaks would have to be enormous scars on the landmark to ensure that embers couldn't create spot fires kilometres in front of the main fire.

    One only has to look at the damage in suburban areas from Black Saturday:
    alt text

    I challenge anyone who didnt look at that pic and instantly focus on that house up the top that didnt burn as all thier neighbours did.

    Also, why did the houses burn but the trees didnt?

    Funny how the brain works. My first focus was on the house down the bottom of the pic that didn't burn. Didn't notice that other house until you pointed it out.



  • @Baron-Silas-Greenback said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    @antipodean said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    @Rembrandt said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    Without having any knowledge of where the populations are and what precautions are already in place wouldn't it make sense to have very large firebreaks and frequent fuel removals from any populated areas? From what I understand bush fires are a historic inevitability so trying to stop them from occurring would be a waste of money but maybe more could be done to protect people and property. I guess that is where it is being argued the funding cuts have hit.

    Given that fires can create their own weather patterns, firebreaks would have to be enormous scars on the landmark to ensure that embers couldn't create spot fires kilometres in front of the main fire.

    One only has to look at the damage in suburban areas from Black Saturday:
    alt text

    I challenge anyone who didnt look at that pic and instantly focus on that house up the top that didnt burn as all thier neighbours did.

    Also, why did the houses burn but the trees didnt?

    Bush fires are as weird as hell.

    Could be that the canopies went up real quick with all the volatile oils from the eucalyptus and just blackened the leaves (quite common from where I've seen the aftermath of fires). I suspect that is the case.

    Could be that the undergrowth burned and missed the canopies.

    And maybe some of them are different types of trees that didn't catch alight as easy.



  • @Baron-Silas-Greenback said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    Also, why did the houses burn but the trees didn't?

    First thing that got me.

    @booboo might have explained it, but it looks bloody odd.



  • Quite interesting, innit?

    In that pic there are a few burned smaller trees, which you have to zoom in on to see a blackened trunk. The larger ones survived - as @booboo says: sometimes fires sweep through so fast they don't have time to catch - large eucalypts in particular are mostly trunk for the first few metres, which is the height of the houses. Get enough wind and it'll rip through the grass and shrubs, getting enough flammable surface area to consume and move on.

    Moisture content is also a significant factor. Trees contain moisture and might receive blackened trunks, or even lose leaves, but at some point the fire may not have enough fuel to sustain itself.

    Most houses are also built out of low density wood that burns fast e.g. pine frames - while the eucalypt is generally hardwood; high density. You also need dry timber for building houses in order to maintain structural integrity. Tack on some plasterboard eaves and timber butting and you've got a wick for a very big candle.



  • On a side note: Eucalypt trees have a very interesting InfraRed profile in aerial photography. Generally their leaves hang pointing downward, allowing them to grab sunlight for photosynthesis in the morning and evening, but avoiding the hottest part of the day i.e. adapted to the Australian climate

    (And they said that GeoScience 303 would never come in useful for anything! HA!)



  • @NTA said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    Most houses are also built out of low density wood that burns fast e.g. pine frames - while the eucalypt is generally hardwood; high density. You also need dry timber for building houses in order to maintain structural integrity. Tack on some plasterboard eaves and timber butting and you've got a wick for a very big candle.

    You'd question which, if any, of those houses met the requisite AS 3959-2009 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. I'd suggest none of them were above the lowest category.



  • @antipodean it's probably like cyclone standard housing up here. Every time one comes through, the old non-compliant houses get blown down, and replaced with new houses that are to standard (ie brick bomb shelters)



  • @antipodean said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    @NTA said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    Most houses are also built out of low density wood that burns fast e.g. pine frames - while the eucalypt is generally hardwood; high density. You also need dry timber for building houses in order to maintain structural integrity. Tack on some plasterboard eaves and timber butting and you've got a wick for a very big candle.

    You'd question which, if any, of those houses met the requisite AS 3959-2009 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. I'd suggest none of them were above the lowest category.

    So many moving parts around introduction of the standard, fire categorisation of area, date of construction.

    Like renovations prior to council standards changing. Some dodgy shit out there.



  • @booboo said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    @Baron-Silas-Greenback said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    @antipodean said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    @Rembrandt said in Climate Change #3 & Other Environmental Issues:

    Without having any knowledge of where the populations are and what precautions are already in place wouldn't it make sense to have very large firebreaks and frequent fuel removals from any populated areas? From what I understand bush fires are a historic inevitability so trying to stop them from occurring would be a waste of money but maybe more could be done to protect people and property. I guess that is where it is being argued the funding cuts have hit.

    Given that fires can create their own weather patterns, firebreaks would have to be enormous scars on the landmark to ensure that embers couldn't create spot fires kilometres in front of the main fire.

    One only has to look at the damage in suburban areas from Black Saturday:
    alt text

    I challenge anyone who didnt look at that pic and instantly focus on that house up the top that didnt burn as all thier neighbours did.

    Also, why did the houses burn but the trees didnt?

    Bush fires are as weird as hell.

    Could be that the canopies went up real quick with all the volatile oils from the eucalyptus and just blackened the leaves (quite common from where I've seen the aftermath of fires). I suspect that is the case.

    Could be that the undergrowth burned and missed the canopies.

    And maybe some of them are different types of trees that didn't catch alight as easy.

    Looks like a false flag to me. Big FireService trying to convince us there's more bush-fires than there are. That photo is clearly a fake.



  • Things get better in some parts, and worse in others. Going to be a long summer for fire crews

    Screenshot_20191115-134429~2.png

    Screenshot_20191115-134513~2.png



  • Some thunderstorms brewing hereabouts:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR083.loop.shtml

    Screenshot_20191115-135435_Chrome.jpg

    The one just west of Childers is heading towards big fire (fires) making a mess around Woodgate (on the coast eastish) and threatening to cross the river in a Hervey Bay-ward direction. (Would doubt there's enough fuel vegetation for it to get to town though). So a dumping of rain on that would be good.

    Possible dry lightning strikes where it isn't raining would not be.

    Interesting yesterday watched about 6 seaplane water bombers heading to and fro Woodgate from the local water supply dam. I believe they skim the surface to refill. (Was at a place called Howard, you may make that out and Lake Lenthall just next to it on the screenshot above).


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