Eastern Australia is on Fire

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loomer
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Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by loomer » 2019-11-16 06:05am

NSW bushfires destroy more than 250 homes in a week as RFS warns number will rise wrote: NSW bushfires destroy more than 250 homes in a week as RFS warns number will rise
By Lily Mayers
Updated Fri 15 Nov 2019, 3:21pm

More than 250 homes have been destroyedby bushfires in the last week in northern New South Wales, the Rural
Fire Service (RFS) has confirmed,and the figure is set to rise.
259 homes were razed, 87 homes were damaged and almost 500 outbuildings were destroyed.
Firefighters managed to save more than 2,000 buildings in direct fire areas.
The RFS will continue to assess the level of devastation to communities in NSW's Mid-North coast, where the blazes burnt
most intensely in the past week.
Early estimates suggested the worst-hit region is in Glen Innes, where at least half the properties were confirmed to have
been damaged or destroyed.
Many of the properties assessed in Nambucca and Walcha appeared to be uninhabitable due to fire damage.
NSW bushfires have claimed four lives this week and burned through at least one million hectares of land.

During this year's entire early bush fire season, 370 homes have been destroyed across the state.
Building Impact Assessment teams are continuing their investigations of impacted properties and it is expected these
numbers will change as crews reach more remote areas.
Almost 60 bush or grass fires are currently burning across the state, with more than half not yet contained.
As of Thursday morning, five fires remain at the Watch and Act alert level: Carrai East, Gospers Mountain, Kian Road,
Liberation Trail, Myall Creek Road and Bora Ridge.
Total fire bans were reissued as a number of regions faced another day of dangerous fire conditions.
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said widespread very high and severe danger ratings were dominating
throughout Greater Sydney and the central west, right up to the Queensland border.
"This sustained, hot, dry absence of rainweather pattern continues to influence New South Wales and drive so much of
this fire behaviour across a landscape," he said.
"Another long, difficult day for firefighters and everyone affected by these fires."
More gusty western winds are predicted, with gusting as high as 70 kilometres per hour over the Blue Mountains driving
up the fire danger once again.
Locals in the Blue Mountains region and in areas surrounding the Gospers Mountain fire must monitor conditions.

The RFS is also investigating several suspicious blazes in NSW that may have been lit by arsonists.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said firefighters had strong reactions to reports of people intentionally lighting blazes.

"I think like the rest of society … our firefighters, they get angered by it, they get disappointed by it," he said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said anyone who deliberately lit a fire would face the "full force of the law" and that the punishment for arson exceeded 10 years in prison.

Local RFS brigades have been accepting donations to help with the emergency response and community service efforts in incidences like resident displacement.

The Salvation Army launched a disaster appeal to support communities affected by the devastating bushfires in NSW and Qld. They are hoping to raise $3 million in the appeal.
source

We also have another 50+ fires raging in Queensland, and all in all it's a nasty period that I'm surprised no one's put up a thread about yet. We're at at least 1.5 million hectares gone and 4 dead, and it's only going to get worse as the fire season is forecast to last until at least Christmas this year. So, what's being done? Well, if you're the Prime Minister, you make a few comments about thoughts and prayers and refuse to discuss climate change before vanishing for four straight days. If you're the deputy PM, you blame it on 'capital city Greenies', and if you're the former deputy PM, you say the dead people voted for the Greens and got what they deserved.

And if you're someone with some actual brains in your head rather than beer-soaked copies of Keith Windschuttle's bullshit and back issues of Quadrant that someone molded into a crude replica of what a five-year old thinks a brain looks like, you propose listening to people who might know a thing or two about managing the landscape:
Indigenous leaders say Australia's bushfire crisis shows approach to land management failing

ndigenous leaders, who have been warning about a bushfire crisis for years, are calling for a radical change to how land is managed as Australia faces some of its worst bushfire conditions on record.
Key points:

Indigenous leaders are calling for a new workforce of 'fire practitioners' to implement traditional burning practices across Australia
Traditional burning techniques involve regular, controlled burns that reduce fuel load and decrease risk of bushfires
Researchers say burning methods that date back thousands of years must be adapted to today's landscape

When Indigenous fire practitioner Victor Steffensen walked outside his house in far north Queensland this week he felt a sense of dread.

"I look into the sky and I see the misty haze coming up from down south all through the landscape," he said.

"You can see the ashes on the air, landing on the trees up here and it's like a mourning for the country.

"When we walk outside and we get that sort of feeling … we know something is wrong."

A year ago, while conducting workshops in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, Mr Steffensen predicted the crisis that has now killed three people and destroyed at least 25 homes.

"I was looking at it and thinking 'this is a timebomb, it's going to go off'," he said.

Fear of fire at the heart of 'mismanagement'

Mr Steffensen has been teaching traditional Indigenous burning practices for the past two decades.
He said this week's bushfire crisis sent a clear message to politicians that current land management practices are not working.

"We can't keep doing this," he said.

"It's really frustrating to see country get torched like that when you know they're not doing anything about it."

Mr Steffensen said the dangerous conditions resulted from a build up of fuel loads and decades of mismanagement.

"People are too scared to burn because of how dry it is," he said.

"There is grasses that are up to the roof and landscapes that have no vegetation except for large amounts of rubbish.

"The bottom line is that we need to start looking after the landscape."

New sector to draw on ancient methods

Mr Steffensen called on the State and Federal Governments to establish a new workforce dedicated to managing land and fuel loads through the use of traditional ecological knowledge.

"We need a whole other division of people out there looking after the land," he said.

"People need to be on country. Looking after the land is a full time job, not a seasonal job.

"A fire practitioner of the future is going to be full time."

Mr Steffensen said the new sector could employ Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and exist in conjunction with emergency fire services.

"We need our firefighters, we praise our firefighters that help those communities and they're needed into the future," he said.

"But we also need the land managers, we can't just throw it all on the weight of one department"

University of Tasmania professor of fire science David Bowman said Indigenous fire practices could play an important role in land management systems of the future, but they would need to be adapted to suit the current times.

"So many changes have occurred since 1975 … but we can take that knowledge and we can adapt it to suit our times," he said.

"The key message is that we can take the idea of humans using fire skilfully — we can manipulate vegetation, we can reduce fuel loads, we can sharpen fire boundaries."

What do Indigenous fire practices involve?

Mr Steffensen said burning was crucial way that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders cared for the land.

He said it involved learning to read trees, soil types, wind conditions and developing an "intimate" relationship with the landscape.

"It's like a doctor. You're there at the country to look at a specific ecosystem," Mr Steffensen said.

"It's a whole complex system. I'm not saying that it's all easy.

"But what I am saying is that if they were all trained and we had a lot more of those practitioners out there we would find that we can burn a lot more country."

He said incorporating traditional burning practices into mainstream systems would result in more regular burning and reduced fuel loads.

Mr Steffensen said it also involved changing attitudes towards fire.

"This is a really sensitive issue," he said.

"For those who have gone through a trauma through these fires, it is very sensitive. I want to really acknowledge that. But at the end of the day I don't see fear — I see an opportunity.

"I see an opportunity for people to see hope, to have workshops to go to, to see smoke and know that it's a good fire that people are out on the land doing something about it."
source
"Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Give him a fishing rod, and he can feed himself. Alternatively, don't poison his fishing waters, abduct his great-grandparents into slavery, then turn up 400 years later on your fucking gap year talking a lot of shite about fish." - Frankie Boyle

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Broomstick » 2019-11-16 07:06am

It's not that I don't care, but I confess my attention has been more focused on the impeachment hearings in my country and also flaming California - which has something in common with Australia on the issue of wildfire. The Natives there used to also used controlled burns and while their traditional methods did not eliminate all problems it did keep things under better control.

Although importing your eucalyptus which, I'm told, burn quite nicely even when soaking wet (which I have not confirmed experimentally) much less when thoroughly dried did not help the situation in California.

But I also think climate change is factoring into wildfire/brushfires worldwide - a hotter, drier climate is going to be more fire-friendly. Which makes implementing actually effective fire/fuel control methods even more important.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Darth Yan » 2019-11-16 12:00pm

At least in Australia the leaders probably aren't going to withhold money as a childish temper tantrum

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by The_Saint » 2019-11-16 08:08pm

Darth Yan wrote:
2019-11-16 12:00pm
At least in Australia the leaders probably aren't going to withhold money as a childish temper tantrum
Previously that wouldn't be a problem, with the latest offering of Australian-Liberal-Party-copying-the-USA-Republican-Party .... I wouldn't be so sure nowadays.

Broomstick wrote:
2019-11-16 07:06am
...
Although importing your eucalyptus which, I'm told, burn quite nicely even when soaking wet (which I have not confirmed experimentally) much less when thoroughly dried did not help the situation in California.
In simple terms eucalyptus oils are not just flammable but just about qualify as an explosive when heated. Combine that with evergreen growth it can lead to all sorts of fun things like gum trees fireballing in the middle of the rain if given enough ignition.

There was reported one area (in Australia) in the current fires where a couple of months ago a crown fire went through an area of bush (where the fire rolls across the top of trees from one to the next without touching the ground) burning everything but not actually burning it up (so just killing it). Then a SECOND fire went through the area a few days ago even worse because everyhting was dead and brown and already halfway to charcoal.

Broomstick wrote:
2019-11-16 07:06am
But I also think climate change is factoring into wildfire/brushfires worldwide - a hotter, drier climate is going to be more fire-friendly. Which makes implementing actually effective fire/fuel control methods even more important.
The usual method of dealing with undergrowth here has been controlled fuel reduction burns. Not so many have been happening in recent years.

If you listen to the (currently in power) Liberal Coalition (or many idiots online) the reason is because the Greens party has prevented these burns...
...but ... the Greens neither oppose such burns (they do indeed support them) nor have they ever been in power enough to prevent such even if they wanted to.

If you listen to any actual experts they point out that the Spring window for fuel reduction burns has been getting shorter with "bushfire season" progressively starting earlier and earlier due to 'dry' winters. So yea... climate change is a major factor but the current state and federal governments scream about how "this isn't the time to talk about climate change" and "not to politicise these events" but then they are the ones that deny that climate change even is a thing and the current Prime Minister (before becoming PM) did famously take lump of coal into parliament.....
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by loomer » 2019-11-17 04:11am

NSW bushfires destroy nearly 500 homes as crews scramble to build containment lines

early 500 homes have been lost in New South Wales in this bushfire season to date, the Rural Fire Service has confirmed.
Key points:

The NSW Rural Fire Service says 476 homes have been destroyed since the start of the bushfire season
Fire crews are working to build containment lines ahead of deteriorating weather conditions on Tuesday
Five fires remain at watch and act level, including the Gospers Mountain fire north-west of Sydney

The burnt area statewide now covers more than 1,650,000 hectares — more than during the past three bushfire seasons combined.

NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said 476 homes had been destroyed, with firefighters today tackling 56 fires, 27 of which were uncontained.

During last year's season, 37 homes were destroyed.

And in the previous most severe bushfire season, which was 2013-14, 248 homes were lost over the entirety of the period — about half of the current tally.

Of this season's total so far, 367 homes have been destroyed since the latest blast of harsh weather began on November 8.

The update came as NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott announced new funding for residents and local councils affected by the bushfires in the fire-hit region of Kempsey.

A $220,000 package will got to BlazeAid, the volunteer organisation that helps rural families rebuild buildings and fences.

The NSW Government said $100,000 of that would be used to directly purchase fencing materials and tools, and $120,000 would go towards local councils to help BlazeAid with its work.

The State Government said it had already allocated $160,000 to affected local councils, supporting a clean-up operation for more than 200 landholders.

BlazeAid has base camps set up in Casino, Tenterfield, Ewingar and Ebor.

The RFS's Building Impact Assessment teams found at least 577 outbuildings had also been destroyed.

It said more than 2,600 buildings in the area directly hit by fires had been saved.

On Sunday afternoon, five fires were at watch and act: the Gospers Mountain fire north-west of Sydney, and the Myall Creek, Busbys Flat, Coombadjha and Border Trail fires in the far north of the state.

Fire crews were using the milder conditions today to strengthen containment lines ahead of a return of hot, dangerous conditions on Tuesday.

Temperatures are expected to climb up into the 40s in some areas but Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned people firefighters may not be available in some areas.

"There is no guarantee that a resource will be at every place that's likely to come under threat from these fires," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

Deputy Commissioner Rogers said controlled burning was being undertaken around homes threatened by the Gospers Mountain blaze.

He said firefighters were scrambling to draw containment lines before weather conditions deteriorated again.

Five total fire bans are in place today including the Hunter, Far North Coast, New England, Northern Slopes and North Western regions.

The Gospers Mountain fire, north-west of Sydney, has now burnt through about 120,000 hectares of the Wollemi National Park.

One home was destroyed by the fire at Colo Heights, north of Richmond.

Deputy Commissioner Rogers said the fire would continue spreading further to the east once the westerly winds returned.

"It's fair to say that there's going to be a long time spent dealing with these fires and it's not going to be over quickly," he said.

He reiterated warnings about smoke pollution in areas including Taree, Port Macquarie and Kempsey, and said people with respiratory conditions needed to stay out of the smoke.

Looking ahead, he said crews from interstate and New Zealand were bolstering efforts to relieve exhausted volunteers, and that five large air tankers would be in service for the summer.

Twenty-five firefighters from New Zealand would be deployed to the Mid North Coast at Wauchope on Monday morning.

He said even with firefighters on the ground, people needed to continue to do their part.

"Last week, when we had that really bad batch of weather, the community stepped up. We had fires reported to us really quickly [and] people moved out of areas of high risk," he said.

"We need people to carry out that sort of activities all throughout summer."
Source

No surprise that it's continuing to rise. It is a dire state of affairs and the federal government is completely failing us.
"Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Give him a fishing rod, and he can feed himself. Alternatively, don't poison his fishing waters, abduct his great-grandparents into slavery, then turn up 400 years later on your fucking gap year talking a lot of shite about fish." - Frankie Boyle

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-11-17 06:03am

Is fuel collection and burial something that can be done when its too risky to burn?
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by The_Saint » 2019-11-20 06:35am

madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-11-17 06:03am
Is fuel collection and burial something that can be done when its too risky to burn?
ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha You want to bury .... everything? Remember when it comes to Australia: Animal, vegetable or mineral.... mineral is (usually) the only answer that isn't flammable. Fuel reduction burns aren't specifically going around picking up fallen branches, sticks, leaves etc and dealing with those... it's undergrowth and shrubs and the like. The objective is to thin out EVERYTHING below the tree canopy (because fires usually start on the ground). Also remember that just because a plant might be green here doesn't mean it won't burn ferociously...
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Broomstick » 2019-11-20 09:20am

On the other hand, while the question does indicate a certain lack of knowledge it was not entirely an illogical inquiry when coming from someone still learning about the issue in question.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-11-20 12:52pm

The_Saint wrote:
2019-11-20 06:35am
madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-11-17 06:03am
Is fuel collection and burial something that can be done when its too risky to burn?
ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha You want to bury .... everything? Remember when it comes to Australia: Animal, vegetable or mineral.... mineral is (usually) the only answer that isn't flammable. Fuel reduction burns aren't specifically going around picking up fallen branches, sticks, leaves etc and dealing with those... it's undergrowth and shrubs and the like. The objective is to thin out EVERYTHING below the tree canopy (because fires usually start on the ground). Also remember that just because a plant might be green here doesn't mean it won't burn ferociously...
Broomstick wrote:
2019-11-20 09:20am
On the other hand, while the question does indicate a certain lack of knowledge it was not entirely an illogical inquiry when coming from someone still learning about the issue in question.
Well, I was thinking about driving a bulldozer through the area taking off the top 1 mm of soil and everything above it to create the fire breaks. The aim is carbon seqestion as well.
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Alkaloid » 2019-11-20 03:17pm

Not really an option.

With any decent sized fire, let alone ones like this, you need firebreaks kilometres wide and deep to have any real impact.

Ember attacks (burning embers in the air, landing ahead/wide of the fire front) can start spot fires 20 or so kilometres out and in contitions like this, those spot fires can turn into major fires in minutes. It's one of the reasons fires can be so hard to outrun.

Remember,with events like these it's helpful not to think of it as a fire, but as a natural disaster. You can't build a fire break that would stop a bushfire any more easily than you can build a wall that will stop a tsunami.

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by The_Saint » 2019-11-20 08:56pm

madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-11-20 12:52pm
Well, I was thinking about driving a bulldozer through the area taking off the top 1 mm of soil and everything above it to create the fire breaks. The aim is carbon seqestion as well.
Sorry, describing gather and bury didn't translate well into bulldozer driven firebreaks.

They're a well used tool here but as Alkaloid said in these conditions they're a tactical tool not a strategic one. It's usual to have an ember attack zone averaging up to 5km in front of the main fire front.

On might even say that the standard tool/procedure for dealing with bushfires in Aus is to find/create a firebreak and then backburn towards the firefront.
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Broomstick » 2019-11-21 04:14am

That technique is used in the US West as well.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Alkaloid » 2019-11-21 07:28am

The_Saint wrote:
2019-11-20 08:56pm

On might even say that the standard tool/procedure for dealing with bushfires in Aus is to find/create a firebreak and then backburn towards the firefront.
Kinda. In conditions like this though no, because lighting more fires is just asking for trouble. A backburn now is just a new fire trying to get out of control, but early or late in a season when the moisture content in vegetation is higher they can work.

Right now, the game is trying to evacuate people, protect property (waterbombing/fire retardant on houses and infrastructure) and manning/working existing firebreaks like suburbs and large towns to stop the fire moving into them. You don't stop something like this, you move people out of the way as best you can, really.

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Sky Captain » 2019-11-25 02:33pm

The_Saint wrote:
2019-11-20 06:35am
madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-11-17 06:03am
Is fuel collection and burial something that can be done when its too risky to burn?
ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha You want to bury .... everything? Remember when it comes to Australia: Animal, vegetable or mineral.... mineral is (usually) the only answer that isn't flammable. Fuel reduction burns aren't specifically going around picking up fallen branches, sticks, leaves etc and dealing with those... it's undergrowth and shrubs and the like. The objective is to thin out EVERYTHING below the tree canopy (because fires usually start on the ground). Also remember that just because a plant might be green here doesn't mean it won't burn ferociously...
If fires are such regular problem in Australia why not harvest and use that flammable material as fuel for power plants as a long term solution. Here it is common practice to turn waste from forest cutting like branches and bushes into wood chips to use as fuel. If Australian vegetation is so flammable it seems it would make a good substitute for coal. It would not help now when everything is dry ready to ignite, when just operating heavy machinery could lead to fires, but as a long term solution I fail to see a reason why it would not work. Create a buffer zones around towns where vegetation is harvested and kept to a density that can't support catastrophic out of control fires and most of the problem like towns burning down would no longer happen. And you would get renewable electricity as a bonus.

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by loomer » 2019-11-25 06:40pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2019-11-25 02:33pm
The_Saint wrote:
2019-11-20 06:35am
madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-11-17 06:03am
Is fuel collection and burial something that can be done when its too risky to burn?
ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha You want to bury .... everything? Remember when it comes to Australia: Animal, vegetable or mineral.... mineral is (usually) the only answer that isn't flammable. Fuel reduction burns aren't specifically going around picking up fallen branches, sticks, leaves etc and dealing with those... it's undergrowth and shrubs and the like. The objective is to thin out EVERYTHING below the tree canopy (because fires usually start on the ground). Also remember that just because a plant might be green here doesn't mean it won't burn ferociously...
If fires are such regular problem in Australia why not harvest and use that flammable material as fuel for power plants as a long term solution. Here it is common practice to turn waste from forest cutting like branches and bushes into wood chips to use as fuel. If Australian vegetation is so flammable it seems it would make a good substitute for coal. It would not help now when everything is dry ready to ignite, when just operating heavy machinery could lead to fires, but as a long term solution I fail to see a reason why it would not work. Create a buffer zones around towns where vegetation is harvested and kept to a density that can't support catastrophic out of control fires and most of the problem like towns burning down would no longer happen. And you would get renewable electricity as a bonus.
Gee, why wouldn't we want to massively disturb large areas of vegetation to burn for carbon emissions? I don't know if you grasp how big Australia is and how small our population is. The fires we've just had cover nearly a third of your entire country.
"Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Give him a fishing rod, and he can feed himself. Alternatively, don't poison his fishing waters, abduct his great-grandparents into slavery, then turn up 400 years later on your fucking gap year talking a lot of shite about fish." - Frankie Boyle

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Sky Captain » 2019-11-26 12:06pm

loomer wrote:
2019-11-25 06:40pm
Sky Captain wrote:
2019-11-25 02:33pm
The_Saint wrote:
2019-11-20 06:35am


ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha You want to bury .... everything? Remember when it comes to Australia: Animal, vegetable or mineral.... mineral is (usually) the only answer that isn't flammable. Fuel reduction burns aren't specifically going around picking up fallen branches, sticks, leaves etc and dealing with those... it's undergrowth and shrubs and the like. The objective is to thin out EVERYTHING below the tree canopy (because fires usually start on the ground). Also remember that just because a plant might be green here doesn't mean it won't burn ferociously...
If fires are such regular problem in Australia why not harvest and use that flammable material as fuel for power plants as a long term solution. Here it is common practice to turn waste from forest cutting like branches and bushes into wood chips to use as fuel. If Australian vegetation is so flammable it seems it would make a good substitute for coal. It would not help now when everything is dry ready to ignite, when just operating heavy machinery could lead to fires, but as a long term solution I fail to see a reason why it would not work. Create a buffer zones around towns where vegetation is harvested and kept to a density that can't support catastrophic out of control fires and most of the problem like towns burning down would no longer happen. And you would get renewable electricity as a bonus.
Gee, why wouldn't we want to massively disturb large areas of vegetation to burn for carbon emissions? I don't know if you grasp how big Australia is and how small our population is. The fires we've just had cover nearly a third of your entire country.
I'm not trying to suggest harvesting entire Australia, just areas around towns where there are too much vegetation capable of burning catastrophicaly. Basically a buffer zones few km wide where wildfires can't rapidly spread. Carbon is is going to be released anyway whether in out of control wildfire or if burned in a power plant.
About 6 years ago I visited a farm in Germany where every piece of waste biomass was either burned directly to produce heat and electricity or put in a biogas generator. It was very efficient way how to deal with waste biomass and even get valuable energy as a result.
Alternative would be to do controlled burns when weather conditions permit as was suggested previously to manage excess amounts of vegetation. It just seems very inefficient to burn potentially useful resource in a huge open air fire.

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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by loomer » 2019-11-26 11:15pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2019-11-26 12:06pm
loomer wrote:
2019-11-25 06:40pm
Sky Captain wrote:
2019-11-25 02:33pm


If fires are such regular problem in Australia why not harvest and use that flammable material as fuel for power plants as a long term solution. Here it is common practice to turn waste from forest cutting like branches and bushes into wood chips to use as fuel. If Australian vegetation is so flammable it seems it would make a good substitute for coal. It would not help now when everything is dry ready to ignite, when just operating heavy machinery could lead to fires, but as a long term solution I fail to see a reason why it would not work. Create a buffer zones around towns where vegetation is harvested and kept to a density that can't support catastrophic out of control fires and most of the problem like towns burning down would no longer happen. And you would get renewable electricity as a bonus.
Gee, why wouldn't we want to massively disturb large areas of vegetation to burn for carbon emissions? I don't know if you grasp how big Australia is and how small our population is. The fires we've just had cover nearly a third of your entire country.
I'm not trying to suggest harvesting entire Australia, just areas around towns where there are too much vegetation capable of burning catastrophicaly. Basically a buffer zones few km wide where wildfires can't rapidly spread. Carbon is is going to be released anyway whether in out of control wildfire or if burned in a power plant.
About 6 years ago I visited a farm in Germany where every piece of waste biomass was either burned directly to produce heat and electricity or put in a biogas generator. It was very efficient way how to deal with waste biomass and even get valuable energy as a result.
Alternative would be to do controlled burns when weather conditions permit as was suggested previously to manage excess amounts of vegetation. It just seems very inefficient to burn potentially useful resource in a huge open air fire.
I still don't think you really grasp the scale of what you're proposing. Most of the burning areas have nothing to do with major towns, but rather smaller villages and communities and isolated farms where there simply isn't the labour to clear out a five-to-ten KM wide deadzone - nor is there the desire. As it stands, we already know how to do controlled burns, and if I hear one more person act as though we don't know how to manage ordinary fire conditions I'm going to fucking scream.

We can't do controlled burns half the time now because the fire season has gotten so long, and the land so dry, that doing so is going to actively invite the exact kind of hellish fires you do them to avoid. So please, stop fucking patronizing us by going 'well why don't you backburn, why don't you do fuel reduction burns' - WE DO. WE UNDERSTAND HOW FIRE WORKS. Odds are we understand it a lot fucking better than you do.

You think picking up some sticks is going to stop this? Okay - tell me how you're going to get people deep into the heart of forest reserves without totally fucking up the last bits of Gondwanaland forest left on Earth - or was your plan to abandon most of the places we're trying to defend? Tell me how you're going to replace the biomass we're removing from tropical rainforests that have never burned before, which we can't just ignore because they're vital sites for wildlife diversity and have people living in and around them. Tell me how you're going to stop fires so fierce they catch the goddamn soil on fire by making a few firebreaks around towns -and while you're at it, tell me how you're going to decide what part of the population is important enough to deserve protection and what part of it isn't, since again, most of the homes lost in these fires are on farms and isolated small communities.

Oh, and those farms? Most of the time they have that firebreak built in in the form of pasture. So while you're at it, tell me how you're going to construct a firebreak that can meet this kind of bushfire season without being a fifteen-kilometer wide strip of completely bare earth.

Or did you think we were just completely ignorant of how fires work in the land Downunder, where it catches fire literally every year, and a suggestion of 'well, why not make firebreaks and do hazard reduction burns?' would be something novel rather than our literal standard goddamn protocol?
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Broomstick » 2019-11-27 04:58am

People who don't live in fire-prone landscapes, or who haven't studied the problem, haven't a clue. Fire breaks and controlled burns have a role when they can be done, but they aren't a magic cure.
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-11-27 08:34am

I dunno why the Ozzies are acting so butthurt.

We know you deal with fire. We know that because its the entire topic of the op - that standard methods no longer work because the fire season is constantly extending, and working with people who know the countryside intimately to do localised burns when otherwise impossible.

At the same time, questions in this thread are met with derison and experience working at km scales is laughed at. So why bother with a thread?
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by LadyTevar » 2019-11-27 11:00am

Broomstick wrote:
2019-11-27 04:58am
People who don't live in fire-prone landscapes, or who haven't studied the problem, haven't a clue. Fire breaks and controlled burns have a role when they can be done, but they aren't a magic cure.
Very true, and landscape can be a major obstacle as well.
I don't know the landscape in Eastern Australia, but I have seen a fire start at the mouth of a WV holler, burn its way up both sides of the holler to the top of the ridge on both sides and over the top of the mountain. Now you have three ridges on fire, often in places you can only get to on foot.

I also understand there's native birds in Australia who deliberately carry burning twigs to areas outside the fire zone, just to force prey into running. :(
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Broomstick » 2019-11-27 05:05pm

We do controlled burns in my area for prairie maintenance and restoration. Our climate and terrain are much wetter and our vegetation less flammable but we've still had "controlled" burns get loose and go uncontrolled. I can only imagine how much more difficult managing all this is someplace like California or parts of Australia.
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by loomer » 2019-11-27 05:37pm

madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-11-27 08:34am
I dunno why the Ozzies are acting so butthurt.

We know you deal with fire. We know that because its the entire topic of the op - that standard methods no longer work because the fire season is constantly extending, and working with people who know the countryside intimately to do localised burns when otherwise impossible.

At the same time, questions in this thread are met with derison and experience working at km scales is laughed at. So why bother with a thread?
If those questions can be answered by reading the OP and applying the slightest bit of reason... Why the fuck shouldn't we snap at you, exactly? If you bring a stupid and patronizing idea ('hey, why not try hazard reduction burns!!' and the equivalent of a 'they rake the forests, that stops the fires, so if you raked the forests...') to the table, you get smacked over it so you can learn and do better. If your experience of working at kilometer scales has something novel to suggest that we aren't already doing (the idea that working at kilometer scales is somehow a special case - all of our RFS crews work at that scale on a regular basis) and that wouldn't require creating 10-15km deadzones of completely dead earth (that's what you'd need for full size bushfires with high winds to completely avoid ember attacks - which are what burn down most houses lost in bushfire season), throw it in the ring - but if your ideas boil down to 'pick up some sticks, maybe do a little burn now and then, and have you heard of this thing called a firebreak' then, well... That's not novel, that's not innovative, it's not helpful, and maybe, just maybe, we're really sick of people trying to shrug off climate-changed fire seasons by acting as though it's because environmentalism has somehow kept us from doing controlled burns or we're just too stupid to have ever thought of that.
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-11-28 05:21am

Loomer, i dont think your anger at Australian right wing idiots need to be directed at me.

My suggestion was using bulldozers to clear areas when you cant do a fuel reduction burn cos it is too dry and dangerous.
The other value of that is losing less nutrients to air as gas (nitrogen especially). The biomass can be buried or mulched back in next rainy season. Not super super important for frequent burn ecosystems, but valauble for that rainforest that nornally never burns, and i suspect important for frequent burn ecosystems if duration and frequncy starts to get beyond what they are adapted to.

Now im not talking a tonka toy one pass 2m wide strip here. Im talking a concerted effort to denude a planned area. Its not going to work on steep or rugged areas. It increases mudslide and dust bowl risks. Its probably causing more emissions from bulldozer then a fire would (but less soot). Its not going to stop embers, but nothing does. Its not going to stop the fire spreading, even a dusting of grass is a fuse. All it does is take some fuel out, and potentially buy the area behind it a bit more time. Might be a useful staging area for evac and firefigters.

Take enough fuel out or block the uphill path to slow the fire down, you spread the slightly lower peak temp over a longer time, giving it more time to dump heat upwards rather than into other things to set on fire. Take enough fuel out you reduce the windstorm effect, but probably not at a useful scale.

The barren area is temporarily lost to the ecosystem, increases heat and water loss locally and at a guess increases the risk of fire at its margins.

It all these ways its no different to a fuel reduction burn. Just one that can be potentially done when the other cant.

Its no good screaming at us that it dosent help isolated houses. You and i both know those houses are fucked. Same for ember attack. Same for climate change.
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by loomer » 2019-11-28 05:29am

madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-11-28 05:21am
My suggestion was using bulldozers to clear areas when you cant do a fuel reduction burn cos it is too dry and dangerous.
Which... we already do!
The other value of that is losing less nutrients to air as gas (nitrogen especially). The biomass can be buried or mulched back in next rainy season. Not super super important for frequent burn ecosystems, but valauble for that rainforest that nornally never burns, and i suspect important for frequent burn ecosystems if duration and frequncy starts to get beyond what they are adapted to.
Fair, but most of that rainforest is precisely the wrong terrain to bulldoze. Also, when you start bulldozing large swathes of protected old growth rainforest, you permanently fuck up that ecosystem whether or not there's a fire.
Now im not talking a tonka toy one pass 2m wide strip here. Im talking a concerted effort to denude a planned area. Its not going to work on steep or rugged areas. It increases mudslide and dust bowl risks. Its probably causing more emissions from bulldozer then a fire would (but less soot). Its not going to stop embers, but nothing does. Its not going to stop the fire spreading, even a dusting of grass is a fuse. All it does is take some fuel out, and potentially buy the area behind it a bit more time. Might be a useful staging area for evac and firefigters.
So, again, we already do that in appropriate terrain. Part of the problem is that the areas where these fires get started at their hottest is precisely the wrong terrain - steep, rugged, and rural. We already understand the concept of containment lines, firebreaks, and staging grounds. None of this is novel.
The barren area is temporarily lost to the ecosystem, increases heat and water loss locally and at a guess increases the risk of fire at its margins.
Said temporary losses are long standing and serious when we're talking about remnant forest. This isn't new growth and plantation, here - these are delicate, recovering ecosystems where large-scale firebreaks will fragment extremely fragile rump species, potentially to the point of extinction. We also can't really afford even more water loss most of the time, being in an extremely arid country.
It all these ways its no different to a fuel reduction burn. Just one that can be potentially done when the other cant.
Which is, of course, why we already do exactly that where we can.
Its no good screaming at us that it dosent help isolated houses. You and i both know those houses are fucked. Same for ember attack. Same for climate change.
If it can't help where the conventional methods fail, what, precisely, is the point of it?
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Re: Eastern Australia is on Fire

Post by Sky Captain » 2019-11-28 03:35pm

What is the solution then? If land management of required scale is unaccaptable then wildfires will continue. What happens to burned down areas after fire? Do vegetation grow back like it was before? If climate becomes more arid is it possible that large burned areas slowly turns into desert or semi desert with little vegetation?

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