"Mismanagement of forest underbrush back-burning in the winter months and overall water resources have helped create a perfect storm in the face of this drought," says 11-timer.
Australia, if you’ve missed the blanket reporting, has been ablaze across its eastern and southern coasts since September.
Sixteen-million acres scorched, thirteen hundred houses gone, twenty-five dead.
Like most matters that require sound and rational thinking, fingers are instead being pointed this way and that way depending on which way you swing politically.
If you call yourself a progressive, it’s proof of the world’s imminent climate change apocalypse.
Yesterday, The New York Times ran an op-ed by the Australian author Richard Flanagan titled “Australia is Committing Climate Suicide.”
Australia today is ground zero for the climate catastrophe. Its glorious Great Barrier Reef is dying, its world-heritage rain forests are burning, its giant kelp forests have largely vanished, numerous towns have run out of water or are about to, and now the vast continent is burning on a scale never before seen.
The images of the fires are a cross between “Mad Max” and “On the Beach”: thousands driven onto beaches in a dull orange haze, crowded tableaux of people and animals almost medieval in their strange muteness — half-Bruegel, half-Bosch, ringed by fire, survivors’ faces hidden behind masks and swimming goggles. Day turns to night as smoke extinguishes all light in the horrifying minutes before the red glow announces the imminence of the inferno. Flames leaping 200 feet into the air. Fire tornadoes. Terrified children at the helm of dinghies, piloting away from the flames, refugees in their own country.
From The Sydney Morning Herald,
“It needn’t be happening. We’re breathing woodsmoke, flavoured with burnt echidna, but it’s (prime minister) Scott Morrison’s coal-fuelled fire that’s turning our lovely world to ash.”
Those on the right point to arson and a lack of preventative back-burning for the catastrophe and cite a prominent bushfire scientist’s warning of disaster back in 2015, and published, ironically, yes, in the left-wing journal The Age.
Forest fuel levels have worsened over the past 30 years because of “misguided green ideology”, vested interests, political failure and mismanagement, creating a massive bushfire threat, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist has warned.
Victoria’s “failed fire management policy” is an increasing threat to human life, water supplies, property and the forest environment, David Packham said in a submission to the state’s Inspector-General for Emergency Management.
And he argued that unless the annual fuel reduction burning target, currently at a minimum of 5 per cent of public land, “is doubled or preferably tripled, a massive bushfire disaster will occur. The forest and alpine environment will decay and be damaged possibly beyond repair and homes and people [will be] incinerated.”
He said forest fuel levels had climbed to their most dangerous level in thousands of years.
And, now, Kelly Slater, 11-timer, lover of conspiracy theories and so on, has, surprisingly, gone for the latter and not, as one might expect, the former.
“I’m not sure a picture could better sum up the fear and devastation more succinctly,” Kelly wrote to his 2.6 million followers. “I’m no expert but from the messages and reading I’ve done on the subject, mismanagement of forest underbrush back-burning in the winter months and overall water resources have helped create a perfect storm in the face of this drought. I hope there is a silver lining and important lessons learned from the ongoing catastrophes once the dust settles. One of my biggest fears as a kid was fires and ironically enough, my mom was a firefighter. Maybe one created the other.”
To which you reply?