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December 2019

Jason Morrison caught up in Bateman's Bay fires - a credit to his profession

I just received this note from reader Doubtful John:

Jason distinguished himself reporting on the fires for 7 news from Batemans Bay. Some holiday.
I agree.  Here's Jason's report:

Compare and contrast with the ABC's Wendy Harmer

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Flags at half-mast across NSW & ACT today in memory of volunteer firefighter killed while battling bushfire near Jingellic yesterday

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Newlywed Samuel McPaul has been named as the third volunteer firefighter to die battling bushfires in two weeks.

McPaul, from the Holbrook area in southern NSW, died battling the Green Valley fire in southeast NSW.

He had been married for 18 months with his wife currently expecting their first child, due in early May.

The 28-year-old man died when the truck he was travelling in was blown over by extreme winds at about 6.00pm on Monday.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Tuesday morning that to label the death as tragic was an understatement.

“He was well respected in his community and brigade,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.

The RFS Commissioner was visibly shaken by the tragedy, pausing while on the verge of tears as he confirmed the volunteer firefighter’s death.

Mr Fitzsimmons spent Monday night with his family who are grieving their “extraordinary loss”.

Mr Fitzsimmons described “cyclonic winds” that flipped the fire truck McPaul was travelling in as a “fire tornado”.

The Green Valley fire that killed McPaul is still burning near the border of NSW and Victoria.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the news Mr McPaul’s death was “devastating” and that the NSW RFS had lost another member of their “family”.

The Premier urged people to listen to RFS warnings this New Year’s Eve and to avoid travel on roads that could be impacted by bushfires, like parts of the Princes Highway and Kings Highway.

“Your actions could unintentionally hurt others,” Ms Berejiklian said.

It understood that McPaul was firefighting with another passenger from the refuge area behind the main cabin when the truck rolled in Jingellic, east of Albury.

The other passenger, a 39-year-old man, suffered burns and was airlifted to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne in a serious condition.

The driver was a 52-year-old man who was taken to Holbrook Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Scott Morrison tweeted that he was “devastated” another firefighter had perished in the blazes.

Viv Forbes - fighting fire with fire

Fighting Fires with Fire

by Viv Forbes

The Power of the Torch
“There can be few if any races who for so long were able to practice the delights of incendiarism.”
                Geoffrey Blainey “Triumph of the Nomads – A History of Ancient Australia.” Macmillan 1975.

The Fire-lighter was the most powerful tool that early humans brought to Australia.

Fires lit by aboriginal men and women created the landscape of Australia. They used fire to create and fertilise fresh new grass for the grazing animals that they hunted, to trap and roast grass dwelling reptiles and rodents, to fight enemies, to send smoke signals, to fell dead trees for camp fires, to ward off frosts and biting insects, and for religious and cultural ceremonies. Their fires created and maintained grasslands and open forests and extinguished all flora and fauna unable to cope with frequent burn-offs.

Early white explorers and settlers recorded the smoke and the blackened tree trunks. They admired the extensive grasslands, either treeless or with well-spaced trees, and no tangled undergrowth of dead grass, brambles, branches and weeds.

Making fire without tinder boxes or matches is laborious. So, most aboriginals tried to keep their fires alive at all times. When on the move (a common situation), selected members of the tribe were charged with carrying a fire stick and keeping it alight. In really cold weather several members may have each carried a fire stick for warmth. When the stick was in danger of going out, the carrier would usually light a tussock of dry grass or leaves and use that flame to rejuvenate the fire stick (or light a new one). As they moved on, they left a line of small fires spreading behind them. They have been observed trying to control the movement of fires but never tried to extinguish them.

Early explorers who ventured inland were amazed to find extensive grasslands and open woodland. Their reports attracted settlers to these grassy open forests and treeless plains with mobs of cattle and sheep.

Despite modern folk-lore tales about aboriginal fire management skills, anyone reading diaries from early explorers such as Abel Tasman (1642) and Captain Cook (1770) soon learned that aboriginals lit fires at any time, for many reasons, and NEVER tried to put them out. If threatened by fires lit by enemies, the most frequent response was to light their own protective fires (now called back-burning). Fire lighting was deliberate, and sometimes governed by rules, but there was no central plan. There were no fire-fighters, no 4WD tankers, no water bombers, no dozers, and no attempt to put fires out. But aboriginal fire “management” worked brilliantly. Because of the high frequency of small fires, fire intensity was low and fires could be lit safely even in hot dry summers. Any fire lit would soon run into country burnt one or two years earlier and then would run out of fuel and self-extinguish.

The early squatters quickly learned about the dangers and benefits of fires, and like the aboriginals, they learned to manage fire to protect their assets, grasslands and grazing animals. The settlers had more to lose than the nomads. Graziers need to protect their herds and flocks, homesteads, hay stacks, yards, fences and neighbours, as well as maintaining their grasslands by killing woody weeds and encouraging new grass. So their fire management was more refined. They soon learned to pick the right season, day, time of day, place, wind and weather before lighting a fire. And if threatened by a neighbour’s escaping fire or a lightning-strike fire, back-burning from roads and tracks was the preferred way to protect themselves.

Today we have replaced decentralised fire management by aboriginals and settlers with government-nurtured fire-storms.

First governments created fire hazards called National Parks, where fire sticks, matches,  graziers and foresters were locked out and access roads were abandoned or padlocked. And Green-loving urbanites built houses right beside them, and planted trees in their yards. The open forests and grasslands were invaded by eucalypt regrowth, woody weeds, tangled undergrowth, dry grass, logs, dead leaves, twigs, bark and litter - all perfect fuel for a wild-fire holocaust.

These tinder-boxes of forest fuel became magnets for arsonists, and occasionally even disgruntled neighbours, or were lit by wind-blown embers or dry lightning. With high winds, high temperatures and heavy fuel loads some fires will race through the tree tops of oil-rich eucalypt forests.


Wildfire in the Litter

Acknowledgement :

To download this article with all images click:

Into this maelstrom they send the brave volunteer fireys. With insufficient tracks, insufficient nearby water, uncleared tracks, insufficient fuel reduction burning and bush right up to towns and houses, more disasters are guaranteed.

Central management/control of burn-off policy and fire-fighting across entire states has failed completely. Too often the people in charge did not understand bushfire history and science and they were too influenced by Green ideology. Authorities should provide information but not control, which should be returned to landowners, home-owners, foresters and experienced local fire officers.

We can never return to the successful aboriginal policy of burning anything, at any time, for any reason. But locals with fire knowledge, experience and skin in the game could make a huge difference. Residents should be able to demand fuel load reduction near their properties and towns, and carry it out on public land if authorities refuse to do it at the right time. It can be burnt, slashed, raked, composted, heaped or buried as long as it is no longer capable of feeding runaway bushfires. Insurance companies should reflect fire risk in premiums.

No aboriginals and few early settlers used water to fight fires. There were no water bombers, no fire trucks, and often not even hand-spray back packs. Graziers used back-burning from station tracks. Their wives defended the homestead with garden hoses, or tried to beat the flames to death with wet hessian bags and green branches. Aboriginals let the fire burn and tried to keep out of its path.

Water is undoubtedly useful to protect homes and towns, to extinguish burning buildings, to stop grass fires and to stop the back burn from escaping in the wrong direction. But trying to extinguish raging bushfires and forest wild-fires with water alone is usually a waste of time, energy and water.

We cannot go back to aboriginal fire management but we can learn from the lessons learnt by graziers. Mainly we must relearn two ancient skills - remove the fuel load everywhere and use fire to fight fire. We know that works.

Big fires need a lot of fuel. If you own the fuel, you own the fire. If you haven't managed the fuel, you will not be able to manage the fire. And if your fire escapes and causes damage, you are responsible.

2020 is the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's voyage to the East Coast of Australia

And here's a taste of what The Left have in store for us.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean is in the wrong party - making friends in all the wrong places

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NSW Minister Matt Kean and left wing factional bully confirms he’s a boy in a man’s job. 
Boasting on Facebook that he’s made the front page of left wing rag the SMH with what they want to hear from a Liberal on climate change. 
Key quote: “You don't need to believe in climate change to believe in capitalism," Mr Kean said

Kean asks for plan for NSW to lead green economy

The NSW government has commissioned the state's chief scientist to prepare a blueprint for a radically decarbonised economy that will lay the groundwork for the state to become a leader in clean energy exports and green technology.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said the move will ensure NSW is not "left behind" in the move to renewable energy, amid criticism that the federal Coalition government has not done enough to combat climate change.

NSW Minister for Energy and the Environment, Matt Kean.

NSW Minister for Energy and the Environment, Matt Kean.

Photo: Edwina Pickles

"You don't need to believe in climate change to believe in capitalism," Mr Kean said. "We should absolutely take action to address climate change for our environment but just as importantly for the future of our economy."

NSW Chief Scientist Hugh Durrant-Whyte will outline technologies and services to reduce carbon emissions or adapt to climate change where NSW can have a competitive advantage.

Mr Kean said Professor Durrant-Whyte may examine the option of nuclear energy, as recently spruiked by former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, but "we don't have a competitive advantage on nuclear".

Instead, Mr Kean flagged green hydrogen as a potential climate solution but said he did not yet have Professor Durrant-Whyte's interim report, which was expected by the end of January.

Commonwealth chief scientist Alan Finkel has also pushed green hydrogen - hydrogen fuel created by renewable energy sources - at a recent meeting of state and federal ministers.

Mr Kean said NSW would forge ahead with its goal for zero net emissions by 2050 and chasing the economic opportunities of a low-carbon world economy regardless of what the federal government or the other states were doing.

"I want to make sure NSW is not left behind the rest of the world," he said. "Doing nothing is not an option - the rest of the world is moving, we can't afford to stand still."

The report will also identify any barriers to the development of the sector and the role of government in fostering the emerging export opportunities.

Biden says he wouldn't answer subpoena in Trump impeachment 'cause his evidence "would let Trump off the hook"