Can we rise above the ashes?
At the risk of being dubbed ‘politically incorrect’, or perhaps worse, ‘out of touch’, may I bring to your attention a scenario that most might not want to know!
Out of a poisonous green miasma, of a political party, we are being encouraged to view controlled burning of bush land, as horrendous as protecting feral animals and invasive foreign weeds. The reason (a rare commodity in any political party) is that controlled burning causes the loss of native species even though with controlled burning the fauna can move to another adjacent area. Would somebody please explain, to Australians, how controlled burning could possibly be more damaging to native species than the devastating fires of a week ago that destroyed over 1 million acres, when controlled burning provides the opportunity for fauna species to move to an adjacent area?
The bleeding hearts that bemoan the potential loss of flora and fauna species, through controlled burning, are in fact, in some measure, responsible for the death of countless plants and creatures not to mention over 180 men, women and children and 1,800 homes.
The fact not being faced, is that we should be addressing the problem of how to ensure that such fires cause minimal loss of life. Some low life running around with matches and accelerant will continue to be a problem . "Climate change" is not the problem, we have always had to accept that parched, dried out vegetation (which includes trees) is the ideal fuel for fires. We cannot stop these fires occurring but we can make sure that they do not have such an abundance of fuel! Controlled burning must not only be allowed, it must be actively encouraged. The senseless banning of tree clearing around homes most also go.
I appreciate that this message can be dismembered and ridiculed, by anybody that refuses to see the ‘would’ for the trees – not a misspelling, I’m thinking of how many people ‘would’ still be alive, if some trees had been sacrificed and controlled burning undertaken over the last decade!
The Greens and the major Political Parties by allowing the Greens to have undue influence are those who must share responsibility for the Ash Wednesday fires and the recent disastrous fire toll which has claimed 180 lives and destroyed 1,800 homes.
Contact your State and Federal Members of Parliament and your Local Government representative now!
If you do nothing, nothing will be done and communities will suffer once again.
Submitted by Trevor Batten, Sydney, NSW : 16th February 2009.
"Once the emotion dies, money is raised. Royal Commissions underway and we have our National Day of mourning the real reasons for the deaths will not be resolved. The "heat" will be taken off the real cause of death and destruction.
Article from: http://www.news.com.au/
February 22, 2009 01:00pm
FLAGS will fly at half mast every February 7 in memory of those killed in the Victoria fires, Kevin Rudd has told a memorial service for the Victoria fires victims.
"In recent days we have witnessed unspeakable suffering. We
have lost mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers. We have lost
brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, the tiniest of children, family and
friends and neighbours," the Prime Minister said.
"All these are precious lives. No words can provide solace for grief so personal. But simply know this. You who suffer are not alone.
Tens of thousands gathered in Melbourne for the service including hundreds of bushfire survivors, who were shuttled into the city from fire-ravaged towns. The Rod Laver Arena was filled with people, including political leaders, religious leaders, Princess Anne and other dignitaries.
Many of those at the service were wearing the distinctive yellow
overalls of the firefighters.
Numbers at the Telstra Dome memorial service appear to be lower than expected, it is thought many people who have had their lives devastated by the fires have not travelled to Melbourne because they feel 'it is too soon.'
At 11am, bells sounded across Victoria to mark the beginning of the service giving Australians time to remember the devestation of the fires and the lives lost.
At least 209 people are known to have died in the February 7 fire storms, most of those from a sweep of towns and villages northeast of Melbourne.
Victorian Premier John Brumby told those at the service that Australia was a nation deep in mourning.
"We are picking up the pieces after the worst natural disaster in Australia's history. Devastating fires that have taken family, friends, neighbours and workmates," Mr Brumby said.
"Destructive fires that have torn at the very heart of communities," he said.
But he said communities would be rebuilt and Australia would remember all of those who have died.
Princess Anne represented Queen Elizabeth and the royal family at the memorial.
The princess read out a message written by Queen Elizabeth soon after the fires occurred and passed on her condolences.
"Although a little daunted, when faced with the scale of loss, and the physical and mental impact that these bushfires have made and are still making for Victoria, individuals and towns have responded with resilience, ingenuity, courage and selflessness to situations that were changing at terrifying speed," Princes Anne said.
She said she would be visiting fire affected areas on Sunday, and speaking to some of those touched by the tragedy.
"People from around Australia and across the world watched in horror, but with admiration at their response," Princess Anne said.
"I would particularly thank all those involved in whatever capacity, in the emergency services and in the voluntary organisations," she said.
Governor-General Quentin Bryce also told the service bushfire communities would rebuild.
"We will open our hands and reach out and deep to give of ourselves whatever we are able. We each have our separate tasks, we know what they are and together we know the responsibilities we share," Ms Bryce said. "In time, what was will be restored - no matter how colossal the effort."
But she said today was a day of reflection.
"The unthinkable we must think; the unimaginable we must see; the unspeakable we must speak; the unbearable we must weep."
Services are being held across Australia to remember the bushfire victims, although the one at the Rod Laver Arena is expected to be the largest.
Memorials to be built
Later today, the Brumby and Rudd Governments will announce a $2.5 million fund for memorials to pay tribute to those who perished.
The cash will include grants of up to $200,000 for fire-ravaged communities to build memorials, monuments or plaques in their towns, the Sunday Herald Sun reports.
The governments also plan to build a major fire victims' shrine of remembrance, either off St Kilda Rd, in Fitzroy Gardens, Flowerdale or Kinglake.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said memorials would "give people a place to grieve, a place to honour those they have lost and a place to acknowledge the impact of this tragedy on their lives".
Yesterday, four major fires were still burning in Bunyip State Park, Kilmore East-Murrindindi North, Kilmore-Murrindindi East and Wilsons Promontory.
A CFA spokesman said there were fears strong winds and high temperatures forecast for tomorrow could intensify the fires.
Troublemakers should stay away
But police and security services have been briefed to be on the lookout for extremists trying to derail the special day.
The US-based Westboro Baptist Church, which last week blamed the fires on Australia's sins, posted a message on its website stating it planned to picket Rod Laver Arena.
Youth Affairs Minister James Merlino yesterday warned troublemakers to stay away.
"I want to assure the victims of the bushfires and the general public who are going to come to this event in their tens of thousands that we've got our usual security arrangements in place," he said.
Australians have raised more than $139 million to support those affected by the fires.
AAP/ Herald Sun
Christopher Pearson | February 14, 2009
Article from:The Australian
ALMOST everyone who lived in bushfire-prone country or a rural hamlet used to know the drill. Whatever the local council might have to say about not touching native vegetation, one way or another the grounds around a house have to be cleared and the fuel load kept to a minimum in the summer months.
Garden waste should generally end up on autumn and winter bonfires rather than be turned into mulch. A three-bedroom house needs tanks capable of holding a couple of thousand gallons of water and petrol-driven pumps to draw on them if the power is cut off. For older people, a sprinkler system on the roof is a fairly foolproof way of protecting it, extinguishing airborne embers and wetting verges.
How many of the long-term residents of the Victorian countryside devastated by last Saturday's fires took ordinary precautions is not known. Nor is it yet known what steps the various shire councils took to offer timely advice about bushfires to newly arrived tree-changers. There's also a sense in which all this hardly matters. Because what's clear is that, even if all the normal precautions had been observed, it might not have been enough to save many of the lives lost and the buildings burned down. Some of these were not normal fires but firestorms.
Philip Cheney, the former head of the CSIRO's bushfire research unit, says that if Kinglake and Marysville had had the benefit of prescribed burning to reduce the risk of fire, the fires would have been much less intense. He estimates that in both districts there were between 35 and 50 tonnes of dry fuel per hectare, although even eight tonnes per hectare is usually considered a fire hazard. A federal parliamentary inquiry into bushfires in 2003 heard submissions that a fourfold increase in ground fuel leads to a thirteenfold increase in the heat generated by a fire. Intense heat, driven by high winds and vapourising eucalypts and pines in its path into volatile gases, creates firestorms.
It's obvious state and local government deserve most of the blame. The benefits of prescribed burning to lower fuel loads have been generally acknowledged for at least 40 years. The Bracks and Brumby governments stand accused of insufficient action to reduce fuel loads, especially on crown land and wildlife reserves, and not maintaining permanent firebreaks. They compromised public safety in the hope of ingratiating the Green vote.
Similarly, state and local planning authorities have long been aware of the dangers of building houses on top of hills with north-facing slopes prone to bushfire, but have done too little to discourage the practice. Shire councils have neglected fuel overloads on their own lands and encouraged dangerous tree-planting on house blocks, sometimes hounding through the courts prudent people who cleared more than a bare minimum of trees close to a dwelling.
Arson aside, the most perverse element in the situation is that state and local authorities seem to have been hell-bent on forgetting the lessons from previous disasters.
All these problems have been identified before, and the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 ought to have made last Saturday unthinkable. Instead, they remind us that corporate memory in the relevant departments doesn't even extend as far back as 25 years. By way of excuse, politicians and bureaucrats tend to invoke two new stalking horses said to make Saturday's events unique: more frequent extreme weather conditions and human-induced global warming. Conveniently, neither has yet been empirically verified. We can only hope the forthcoming royal commission finds that nothing of any consequence by way of extenuation can be said about their notional contribution to the latest bushfires.
We can, however, confidently say that along with Ash Wednesday, there have been two other directly comparable precedents in living memory on Black Tuesday, 1967, and Black Friday, 1939. There's also evidence that in southeastern Australia in the pre-contact era, on Kangaroo Island, which hadn't been inhabited by Aboriginal people for a few thousand years or burned off regularly, catastrophic firestorms were fairly regular events. They serve to remind us that there is nothing terribly mysterious about the combination of tinder-dry conditions, high fuel loads, very hot weather and high winds.
Perhaps, rather than trying half-heartedly to regulate the living arrangements of tree-changers and greenies who are determined to live surrounded by forest landscapes, society should think about striking a libertarian bargain with them. State and local government could allow enclaves of them to build and plant pretty much as they choose on their own land, on the strict understanding that they are all prepared to live with the foreseeable consequences and don't expect the same level of emergency services as people in the suburbs, let alone automatic rebuilding at public expense of local infrastructure in the event of fire.
At least it would be more honest and less infantilising than the present arrangements.
Thinking of Ash Wednesday 1983, I am struck by a significant and - to my mind, at least - unwelcome change in what might for convenience sake be called the national character. Back in those days, the people facing the fires and even quite a lot of those reporting the story were more matter-of-fact about coping with disaster. In both men and women, especially among country people, there was a kind of stoicism and stiff upper lip, which was reminiscent of the tone you often find in soldiers' war diaries. People in the frontline emergency services still seem a fairly stoic and laconic bunch, but it's far less evident in the public culture.
Television is at the heart of the problem and I suspect that the rot set in during the mass hysteria following the death of princess Diana. Suddenly hundreds of thousands of people who had no idea of what she was like as a person, and were wilfully blind to the flaws in her character, were persuaded that they had lost someone they loved. The public outpourings of grief were not just unseemly and out of all proportion but downright orgiastic. And it was mostly about display: showing how keenly you felt an imaginary loss, conspicuous compassion for the commoner-turned-queen of hearts who throughout a turbulent life had done it her way. Ever since, throughout the Anglosphere, we have become a more maudlin lot, more given to tears, group-hugs and letting it all hang out.
It is much easier to make allowances for this sort of behaviour from the victims of natural disasters than from the media interviewing them, let alone politicians trying to milk the situation for all its worth. There was a lot of emotive gushing in federal parliament last week, but for my money the worst single performance came from the Liberals' Russell Broadbent, who described how he and wife Bronwyn had prepared to defend their Pakenham house. The fire shifted and the house was safe. Broadbent said in parliament: "To those that pray, I say pray now; don't leave it till next Sunday. All we can rely on is each other, and sadly, as the Prime Minister has described today, there are so many that cannot even do that."
Although a few of his colleagues maintained impassive, fixed facial expressions and cringed internally, most members on both sides of the chamber clapped approvingly when he finally sat down.
Wilson Tuckey, who is made of sterner stuff, issued a memorable press release. "I apologise to the people of Australia and particularly to those who have been directly affected by the Victorian wildfires, for my tolerance of the public policy that failed to maintain our forest estate as a safe environment. I didn't adequately prosecute the slogan: No Fuel, No Fire! My fault over the last five years is to fail to influence the Australian political establishment that certain public policy, driven by the pursuit of minor party preferences, was a recipe for disaster of the greatest possible magnitude for humanity and the forest itself.
"Worse, as the evidence I provided parliament on November 27, 2003 in the enclosed tabling speech ... demonstrates, I knew better."
OPINION : INFERNO STOKED BY GREEN VOTE
(The Australian : Tuesday 10th February 2009)
Environmental fantasies have deterred bushfire prevention, claims fire expert David Packham.
Victoria has suffered the most tragic bushfire disaster to have occurred on this continent throughout its period of human habitation. The deaths, loss of homes and businesses and the blow to our feeling of security will take decades to fade into history. The trauma will live with the victims, who, to a greater or lesser extent, are all of us. How could this happen when we have been told in withering, continuous barrage of public relations that with technology and well-polished uniforms, we can cope with the unleashing of huge forces of nature.
I have been a bushfire scientist for more than 50 years, dealing with all aspects of bushfires, from prescribed burning to flame chemistry, and serving as supervisor of fire weather services for Australia. We need to understand what has happened so that we can accept or prevent future fire disasters. That this disaster was about to happen became clear when the weather bureau issued an accurate fire weather forecast last Wednesday, which prompted me, as a private citizen, to raise the alarm through a memo distributed to concerned residents.
The science is simple. A fire disaster of this nature requires a combination of hot, dry, windy weather in drought conditions. It also requires a source of ignition. In the past, this purpose has been served by lighting. In this disaster, lighting has not played a big part, and for this Victorians should be grateful. But other sources of ignition are ever-present. When the temperature and wind increase to extreme levels, small events - perhaps the scrape of metal across a rock, a transformer overheating or sparks from a diesel engine - are capable of starting a fire that can in minutes become unstoppable if the fuel is present. The third and only controllable factor in this deadly triangle is fuel : the dead leaves, pieces of bark and grass that become the gas that feeds the 50m high flames that roar through the bush with the sound of jet engines.
Fuels build up year after year at an approximate rate of one tonne a hectare a year, up to a maximum of about 30 tonnes a hectare. If the fuels exceed about eight tonnes a hectare, disastrous fires can and will occur. Every objective analysis of the dynamics of fuel and fire concludes that unless the fuels are maintained at near the levels that our indigenous stewards of the land achieved then we will have unhealthy and unsafe forests that from time to time will generate disasters such as the one that erupted on Saturday. It has been a difficult lesson for me to accept that despite the severe damage to our forests and even a fatal fire in our nation's capital, the political decision has been to do nothing that will change the extreme threat to which our forests and rural lands are exposed. The decision to ignore the threat has been encouraged by some shocking pseudo-science from a few academics who use arguments that may have a place in political discourse but should have no place in managing our environment and protecting it and us from the bushfire threat.
The conclusion of these academics is that high intensity fires are good for the environment and that the resulting mudslides after rains are merely localised and serve to redistribute nutrients. The purpose of this failed policy is to secure uninformed city votes. Only a few expert retired fire managers, experienced bushies and some courageous politicians are prepared to buck the decision to lock up our bush and leave it to burn. The politicians who willingly accept this rubbish use it to justify the perpetuation of the greatest threat to our forests, water supplies, homes and lives in order to secure a minority green vote. They continue to throw millions (and no doubt soon billions) at ineffective suppression toys, while the few foresters and bush people who know how to manage our public lands are starved of the resources they need to reduce fuel loads.
It is hard for me to see this perversion of public policy and to accept that the folk of the bush have lost their battle to live a safe life in a cared-for rural and forest environment, all because of the environmental fantasies of outraged extremists and latte conservationists. In a letter to my local paper, the Weekly Times, on January 25, I predicted we were facing a very critical situation in which 1000 to 2000 homes could be lost in the Yarra catchment, the Otways and/or the Strezleckies; that 100 souls could be lost in a most horrible and violent way, and that there was even a threat to Melbourne's water supply, which could be rendered unusable by the ash and debris. Horrifically, much of this has come to pass, and it is not yet the end of the bushfire season.
In the face of this inferno, the perpetrators of this obscenity should have the decency to stand up and say they were wrong. Southeast Australia is the worst place in the world for bushfires, and we must not waste any time in getting down to the task of making our bush healthy and safe.
But don't hold your breath. Do you hear that lovely sound the warbling pigs make as they fly by?
David Packham OAM is an honorary senior research fellow at Monash University's school of geography and environmental science.
Article from: The Advertiser ; ByANDREW BOLT February 18, 2009 12:30am
GLOBAL warming preachers have been crowing over the bushfires in ways not just despicable but dangerous.
Just hours after the first bodies were being recovered, Greens leader Bob Brown was already on television, lecturing us on our sins against the planet.
Rather than confess that green activists had been desperately wrong to oppose fuel reduction burns, Senator Brown was eager to boast that this catastrophe had instead proved them right. About global warming, you know.
"(The fires) are a sobering reminder of the need for this nation and the whole world to act and put at a priority the need to tackle climate change."
Well, actually, Bob, the fires were a sobering reminder of the need to help the victims first, and to fireproof our houses and towns after that. But Senator Brown was soon to be trumped by far louder crows.
Freya Matthews, a La Trobe University "ecological philosopher", wrote in The Age that there was no doubt these fires were caused by our gases: "This is climate change."
ABC presenters religiously took up this lesson of the day on radio and television and declared – falsely – that never had it been this hot. Never had fires burned so fiercely. Global warming was here.
And, sure enough, former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery, another preacher with no formal training in climate science, outdid all his previous exaggerations by directly blaming our gases for these 200 deaths.
"Let's hope that Australians ponder the deeper causes of this horrible tragedy, and change our polluting ways before it's too late," he thundered.
Or as historian Jonathan King put it hysterically, again in The Age: "We humans started this war and now the environment is fighting back."
Really? If so, I wonder whose side of this war these preachers are on?
Preaching green sermons over the dead is vile enough, of course, especially when forest experts insist that green policies on forest management helped to kill so many in the first place.
After all, not even the scientists who believe most fiercely in the theory that man is heating the world to hell are blaming the recent heatwave or the fires that followed on global warming.
Hear that even from Melbourne University's Professor David Karoly, the State Government's chief global warming adviser, who conceded: "It is not possible to attribute any single event to climate change."
But there are two more reasons to reject this crowing of the warmists.
First, the planet actually hasn't warmed for a decade, and we've faced even worse conditions than these before – so we should have prepared for these latest bushfires much better. Shouting "global warming" is just a distraction, or even a ruse.
Second, blaming global warming doesn't only excuse the governments that should have learned from our past, but could mislead us into spending countless billions on a "solution" that will not spare us another such tragedy.
To explain . . .
What the preachers have seized on to blame the fires on man-made warming is that Melbourne suffered its hottest day on record – 46.4C – a week before the flames roared over our towns.
Global warming, right?
First, Melbourne did in fact have a hotter day before, four years before the Bureau of Meteorology started officially recording temperatures.
As the Argus newspaper reported at the time, the temperature on February 6, 1851, soared to 47.2C, helping to superheat the fires that then roared across 10 times more land than was burned last week.
Meanwhile the U.S. state of Maine has just recorded its coldest ever temperature, and Britain is suffering a winter so unusually severe that its National Pensioners Conference has fears one in 12 pensioners could die.
What counts is not some local freak of weather but the global trend – and what NASA's Aqua satellites have detected is that the world has not warmed for a decade.
Don't just take my word for it. Ask the high priests of warming at The Age, which on Monday ran this attempt to disguise the fact that global warming theory is in trouble: "Last year was the coldest year around the world since 2000 – yet it was still the 10th hottest since records began in 1850 . . ."
But then there was this other news report last week, under the doom-mongering headline: "Climate change `worse than expected' ": "Fresh data has shown that greenhouse gas emissions have grown by an average of 3.5 per cent a year from 2000 to 2007 . . . more than three times the 0.9 growth rate in the 1960s . . ."
Sorry for all these figures, but think about those two stories for a second. We're told we're now pumping out triple the greenhouse gases that cause global warming . . . yet the world has stopped warming.
Sure, it may start warming again soon. Or not. But global warming theory for now isn't quite working out as we were told.
But I don't just write all this to go nyah-nyah. Normally that's fun, I admit, but too many people are dead for such crowing of my own.
Far more important is that the global warming prophets who now claim that the fires of Armageddon are here, thanks to our polluting ways, are also trying to make you spend more money than we have on a "solution" that won't actually save us from the next big fire.
Bob Brown, for instance, thinks we should protect ourselves by slashing almost all our emissions – a near-impossible task that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, yet still not change world temperatures by a flicker, not least because our emissions are minuscule compared to, say, China's.
And Flannery insists we should "cease burning coal conventionally by around 2030" – something our coal-fired generators say is impossible without driving them out of business and our cities out of power.
All this, so Australia sets an example to shame the big emitters into cutting their greater gases.
Gases which might not actually cause the warming that might already have stopped anyway. And which didn't cause these fires. Wow.
Do you think those colossal green plans would leave you any safer the next time a fire screams out from the bush?
Think we'll then be safer from the fires that have regularly ravaged this land since Aboriginal settlement?
Let me see if I can sell you a far smaller plan that would cost no more than, say, $4 billion.
For that money I'd build a fire-proof sanctuary in every school in Australia's fire-prone areas, not just to protect the children but to give each community a place of refuge.
I'd find the $20 million we need for a warning system to reach every land line and mobile phone in an area threatened by disaster.
I'd subsidise a bunker for every bush home. And I'd finally spend what it takes to make bush roads safer in fires, and to do the fuel reduction burns that every inquiry into every big fire has warned we needed to protect our towns.
Which plan would leave you safer, do you think: my $4 billion one or the greens' $100 billion and more to "stop " global warming?
ONE NATION (NSW DIVISION)
GREEN POLITICS AND INADEQUATE BUILDING STANDARDS KILLED 200 VICTORIANS IN THE BUSHFIRES
The death and destruction of the Victorian bushfires would have been greatly reduced if the "green" ideology that permeates Government had not prevented hazard reduction in the forests and around the victims' homes.
There is no hope for the inhabitants of fire-prone areas while trees are valued more highly than people and every bushfire is blamed on non-existent global warming .
MPs who voted to seal off national parks, councillors who stopped hazard reduction of fuel loads and greenies who blocked fire trails now share collective guilt for the loss of life and destruction.
It's about time tree-huggers who want to protect the environment realized that we are the environment.
But there needs also to be a total revision of the building codes that let houses of unsuitable design be constructed in bushfire zones
One Nation suggests that in high bushfire risk areas:
(1) No timber or other flammable material should be used in construction - buildings should only be of brick, concrete, steel and aluminum.
(2) All windows should be covered with steel mesh so that no flying embers or larger burning objects can get through. Outside this mesh there should be metal shutters that can be closed to keep out burning gases out if a bushfire actually hits.
(3) Roofs and eaves should be sealed with steel mesh to stop embers entering.
(4) Roofs should slope at a steep enough angle so that burning objects will slide off.
(5) Any trees that can hit buildings or block roads if they burn and fall should be cut down.
(6) Wooden bridges and wooden power poles should be replaced with steel or concrete ones.
After 220 years of white settlement Australians have yet to understand that their bush is a hostile place where the key to survival is "learn or perish".
The bush regenerates itself by burning, we are told, but that doesn't mean we have to burn with it.
Statement issued February 19th, 2009 on behalf of One Nation (NSW Division) by Bob Vinnicombe Publicity Officer
For more information contact Bob Vinnicombe 0407949963 / (02) 96454910
"Vote One Nation And End The Two Party Dictatorship"
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