From Gary McCormack, Acting Assistant Commissioner
Queensland Rural Fire Service
Over the past 12 days Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has attended 1,243 fires across the state. Many thousands of QFES staff, Rural Fire Service (RFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers and Fire and Rescue staff have been working day and night to protect and support the communities of Queensland. We have had support from every state and territory throughout Australia, with 1,161 people from interstate assisting with this incident to date.
The activity we have seen in the last two weeks has been extraordinary, with more than four million hectares of land burnt during this bushfire season. We have had 55 aircraft working to support ground crews, dropping more than 12 million litres of water and fire suppressant. More than 430 bushfire community warnings have been issued since the 22nd of November, and more than 50 Emergency Alert campaigns have been issued. These messages have reached more than one million devices, alerting people of the dangerous conditions and directing them to further information regarding the situation.
This activity has followed on from significant campaign fire events in North Coast, South Eastern, Northern and Far Northern regions.
I cannot express enough, my thanks to our RFS volunteers and staff across the state, for the significant effort of the last two weeks and the months leading up to it. I’d also like to extend my gratitude to families and employers who support you to undertake your roles. All of you will have contributed to the protection and safety of your communities, whether it be through responding to emergency situations, supporting crews on the ground or delivering community messaging. Without the extraordinary efforts of all services of QFES, the outcome for many communities, families and individuals could have been much worse.
While the worst of the situation is now behind us, we still have many weeks of recovery ahead. It is extremely important we take the time to review the recent incidents, debrief and ensure we implement any lessons learnt to assist us in improving our response and recovery into the future.
2018 has also been a significant year off the fire ground. It has been another year of progress and change within QFES, as we continue to develop as a standalone department.
Finally, with the festive season upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all of the importance of safety during this busy time of year. I ask that you ensure your safety, and the safety of those around you comes first. I wish all of you and your families, a happy and safe Christmas and New Year and I look forward to working with you in 2019.
Editor: Cairns News hopes the dopey State Labor Government will instruct the Environment Department to conduct fuel reduction burns across its massive national parks’ holdings each year when dry enough to carry a fire. The incredible amount of damage inflicted by these excessively hot fires will render the already burnt half a million hectares of so-called national parks as a useless, denuded landscape which will never return to its original state. The RFS could refuse to attend future national park fires, including Stradbroke Island because they are an extreme danger to volunteer fire fighters. due to decades of mismanagement by Brisbane eco-freaks employed by government.
by Robert J Lee
Decades of detritus accumulated under the forest canopy forming two metre thick beds of tinder have caused utter devastation across large areas of once pristine forest in Tasmania.
Uncontrollable wildfires in January wiped out 38,000 acres of forest ecosystems in the Central Plateau that once attracted many thousands of bushwalkers and tourists every year.
The State Government has not yet revealed the magnitude of other devastated areas in World Heritage and forestry.
Unique alpine flora including pencil pines, king billy pines and cushion plants, some more than 1,000 years old have been lost forever.
Wilderness photographer and bushwalker Dan Broun has returned from the Central Plateau. He told the ABC he walked four hours into the bushfire affected areas just after the fires.
“The scene is complete and utter devastation. There is kilometres of burnt ground, everything is dead,” he said.
He said small pockets of areas protected by rock escaped the fire.
“I also witnessed devastated wildlife; burnt wallabies, dead wombats and the like,” said Mr Broun.
Fire ecologist David Bowman said the fires burning in Tasmania were a sign of climate change.
However the so-called experts prefer to ignore the decades of dried matter that has built up on the forest floor, due to a lack of hazard reduction burn offs.
Until the late 1800’s, the Aborigines burnt these areas from time to time in a dry season creating a suitable environment for animals and understorey regrowth, preventing any sizeable fuel load from covering the forest floor.
The former leader of the Greens, Tasmanian Bob Brown can be directly blamed for this conflagration because the Greens campaigned long and hard to halt all sustainable forestry harvesting, have all sensible land managers kicked out and to lock up vast forests much to the detriment of the ecology.
And the Greens want to change the senate voting regulations to keep out independents and minor parties!
THIS CARNAGE OCCURS EVERY FIRE SEASON AND STILL THEY WILL NOT LEARN
The stupidity of the Victoria Country Fire Authority and the even more unintelligent Green Labor Government has seen 116 homes destroyed by fire because the Bolsheviks of the state Labor party forbid any hazard reduction burning in cooler months, removal of eucalypts trees near houses or any sensible fire prevention methods.
The government doesn’t use graders or bulldozers in their ‘pristine’ reserves in case a blade of grass or some ants are disturbed. The knuckle draggers of the state ALP should be prosecuted for this wanton carnage that will increase every insurance premium in the nation. Never mind the terrible consequences for those hapless home owners who have lost all of their possessions by not preparing their own fire breaks or providing sufficient water resources to fight bush fires.
Wakey wakey rural Victorians!
Wildfires on North Stradbroke Island due to lack of hazard reduction burning
North Stradbroke Island lies just off the coastline from Brisbane and is a popular tourist destination for adventurers from the mainland. With its long sandy beaches and easy surf fishing it attracts thousands of anglers each year who make the short journey from the mainland by barge.
‘Straddie’, covering 54,500 hectares is the second largest sand island in the world. Its only industries are sandmining and tourism, which support its 2000 permanent inhabitants.
On any weekend and during holiday season the beach becomes an extension to the Pacific Highway where hundreds of four wheel drives converge, turning the beaches into major thoroughfares.
Last week, due to lightning strikes, fires broke out across the tinder dry island, eventually causing some settlements to be evacuated. A lack of hazard control burning in the cooler months of the previous 10 years created the most dangerous fuel load ever seen on the island.
The Rural Fire Service had a major incident on its hands with volunteers battling kilometres long fire fronts fanned by gusty winds. Fortunately there was no loss of human life but the island’s flora and fauna copped a savage beating.
Fires with such a large fuel load burn extremely hot for a more prolonged period, in many cases far too hot for standing eucalypts and other flora to survive. Most of the island’s scorched eucalypts will sucker from the trunk and limbs rendering their function in the natural habitat as useless.
In the aftermath of the searing flames, the environmental damage is strikingly evident. Hot fires also reduce the amount of already low levels of organic nutrients thus making it more difficult for regeneration.
Brisbane ecologist Dr Greg Baxter said the island’s ecology would take at least 20 years to recover, unless of course there is another wildfire in the meantime.
A lack of seasonal rainfall is also inhibiting plant regrowth
The island is home to a large koala bear population, 59 species of birds including a large colony of glossy black cockatoos, native rats and numerous reptiles.
North Stradbroke Island ablaze with wildfires causing extreme damage to flora and fauna which according to an ecologist, will take more than 20 years to recover.
The island has been claimed by the Quandamooka and Noonuccal aboriginal groups who assist the National Parks and Wildlife Service with management of its natural resources.
Perhaps the best known of the Noonuccal clan was the late activist Kath Walker, who fought for many years to gain native title to the island for her family.
Kath was one of the last of the island’s traditional people, passing away in 1993, and it seems some of the handed-down tribal lore Kath possessed was not passed on to the present generation of island inhabitants claiming aboriginality.
This writer stood on the hustings with Kath in the early 80’s.
If Kath did pass on what she knew the message did not get through to the great ‘custodians of country’ residing on the island and mainland.
These people who claimed native title, in a similar fashion to most other ‘aboriginal’ groups, either do not know how to manage ‘country’ properly, do not care or have been prevented by the idiotic Labor Party policies of the 90’s from burning excess fuel loads each year or whenever it was deemed necessary.
Former Queensland Forestry Department practices of conducting annual or two-yearly cool fires, guarantee the damage from uncontrolled fires will be minimal and does not have a great impact on flora and fauna.
But what happened to the traditional hazard reduction burning of the open forest and grassland in the traditional August burning off period?
Did the NPWS prevent the local indigenous people from burning off in previous years? Perhaps it seems from similar lessons learnt in other indigenous controlled land or national parks, most of the old knowledge has not been passed on because the gap between the ways of the last of the traditional people of the 1920’s and the present generation is too wide.
This knowledge is lost forever. It is accepted in some anthropological circles that the lost messages from true traditional people have been supplanted by university trained anthropologists with an agenda not necessarily in the best interests of indigenous people.
Some commentators liken the beaten up stories of modern anthropologists to ‘reinventing the wheel.’
Unfortunately politicians of all hues believe it as gospel that modern day aborigines are the only capable ‘custodians of country,’ the latest fashionable coinage of the annual $25 billion aboriginal industry.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
This lone koala survived the wildfire which left its food source of various tree leaves and other plants a scorched, parched and devastated landscape.
After the 1920s, fires fed by record high fuel loads packed enough heat to penetrate cool air layers and push average maximum temperatures up by about 2 degrees. Before the deadly fire trend began in the 1920s, Observatory Hill never got into the 40s.
Research shows that super hot bushfires bring heatwaves and the appearance of Global Warming. This weather and bushfire data disprove Green claims that Global Warming is to blame for increasingly catastrophic bushfires. Scientists claiming that weather charts show global warming are ignoring vital raw data about the sequences of events. A careful look at the charts and bushfire databases in fact show that while they burn, the last 92 years of super fires can even overide the effects of natural cycles of cooling in the Southern Hemisphere. I discovered this after I lost confidence in claims to scientific expertise of Green policy that made it almost impossible to reduce fuel loads, causing so much suffering.
Green agenda had put “Mother Nature” at the helm as a de facto bushfire manager. Taking so many lives and leaving vast tracts of drought stricken dead forest, Ms Nature was proving a bit of a psycho. In my fieldwork for a PhD in bushfire management I had already found that it can be quite mild when bushfires start, but if they can become deadly, firefronts will put out 1600 deg C across a kilometre or more so firefighters sweat like waterfalls to save homes and lives. Feeling a great sense of urgency to get the truth out to bring life and environment saving change, I delved the archives at Sydney Harbor’s Observatory Hill, one of our oldest weather stations. Conclusively, over the last 92 years, super fires burnt for a day or more before the mercury hit the 40s. Before super fires began in the 1920s, Observatory Hill never got over 38.
Beginning at 1859, Observatory Hill’s first entry, it took me a day and a half to read through years’ of daily maximum temperatures. I listed dates it hit 40 or more and compared them with bushfire databases. Dangerous bushfires further inland were always burning a day or more before the temperature rose into the 40s. Volumes of CSIRO research make it possible to predict that fires fed by record high fuel loads would pack enough heat to penetrate cool air layers. New levels of fuel loads burnt with new intensity because new policy changes were making it difficult to cool burn and graze. This policy was ratified by legislation in 1919 and the rash of intense fires began, fed by new accumulations of fuel.
The graph above does not show the highest annual maximum temperatures reached, only annual averages. I could not get my computer to crunch the Excel spreadsheet of data from the Bureau of Meteorology of annual maximum temperatures from 1859 to present at Observatory Hill – too much for a MacbookPro to handle. But the Bureau of Meteorology has a powerful computer that can do annual maximum averages. The bureau will graph annual maximum temperatures for a fee and of course as a whistleblower, that is out my income range. You can see from above the annual maximum average temperature jump in the 1920s.
Another point to make which strikes a chord with the warming, Greenie, CO2 debate is that research by Phil Cheney, David Packham and Roger Underwood shows that low impact burnoffs are carbon neutral whereas post -1920s intense fires release enormous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere – 30% or more of Australia’s carbon emissions, depending on the amount of hot fires in a year. Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory and WA are paid to burnoff and the leaseholders (mining companies) claim carbon credits because cool burning buffers drought/heatwave/flood/storm cycles.
Christine Finlay PhD Bushfire Management, BA Hons Disaster Management
Severe bushfires which ripped through parts of Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria last year could have been deliberately started by terrorists.
During the devastating firestorms in north east Victoria in 2009, a bike rider with a fuel tin and wearing black clothes was seen leaving the scene of a bushfire which killed 150 people, destroyed millions of dollars in property and burnt many hundreds of livestock.
Evidence presented in the Melbourne Magistrates Court this week supported the supposition that recent bushfires may have been the work of terrorists.
Adrian Karabegovic, 24, is facing 12 charges of collecting and possessing material connected with terrorist acts, including copies of al-Qaida magazines stored on two laptops and a USB stick found his pocket.
Federal Police gathered the evidence from covert telephone recordings which revealed Karabegovic tried to buy a gun before he was arrested.
He also discussed making a bomb that would ignite a bushfire.
The depth of hatred towards Australians was never more evident when Karabegovic and two friends hung a banner over a Melbourne freeway saying. “Get your troops out of Muslim lands you filthy kafir”, and another banner over a building saying, “Get your troops out of Muslim lands you dirty convict pigs”.
Commonwealth prosecutor Daniel Gurvich told the court Karabegovic was recorded saying that he wanted to make and execute a plan, and his intention was much bigger than the banners.
An Arabic interpreter who translated the telephone messages told the court Karabegovic had engaged in “jihadist chanting” and jihad was defined as a holy war not a peaceful struggle.
He was also recorded as saying it was “disgusting” an Islamic school would raise an Australian flag instead of burning it. from the Australian