As the Australian bush fires die down, alarmists continue to blame climate change, a.k.a. you and your car. In our previous blogs and video coverage we have noted the big problem with this story: the fires are where the fuel is, not where the heat is. Now local observer Geoff Walker has added a crucial detail. While firestorms raged all around, his little Tilligerry Peninsula north of Sydney was spared. Why? Because last year a small wildfire broke out and did what residents have long been forbidden to do: burn off the underbrush. "No lives or property were lost," he explained. "Had this ‘good’ bushfire not happened, the peninsular would have been obliterated this summer when a firestorm with winds gusting to 100kph came our way.... Today, as thousands of Australians confront the bushfire threat, we on the Tilligerry peninsular are safe." Despite having the same exposure to “global” warming as their less fortunate neighbours.
The misguided imposition of severe government restrictions on local burnoffs is at the heart of Australia’s manmade catastrophe. Walker reports "Our local brigade averaged some 15 burnoffs per year in the decade of the 1970s; nine in the ’80s, a mere two or three in the ’90s and similar numbers ever since. The reason for this dramatic fall-off in burnoffs was the complex web of rules and procedures dumped on the local captains to comply with before they could do anything. They simply gave up. It was all too hard." Then the Premier declared vast areas of New South Wales to be national parks, but didn't put fire management systems in place, creating conditions for uncontrollable firestorms.
Walker concludes: "There will always be bushfires. They are an integral part of the Australian environment. We either manage them by controlled burning or suffer the consequences." For the sake of our Aussie friends we hope the right lessons are learned this time.