High fuel loads are fuelling the fires

The Wellington Plains. Photo: Ralph Barraclough

The Wellington Plains. Photo: Ralph Barraclough


THE situation communities find themselves in with the present fire situation is completely unacceptable.

It gets even worse to hear politicians and senior bureaucrats, who should know better, blame this on climate change.

This is to try and deflect the blame from governmental failure to address the massive fuel build-up on Crown and public land.

When I was a youngster, in the mid-60s, at secondary school I topped science and considered it a reputable subject.

I now no longer maintain this view in so many areas.

Blaming these fires on climate change is deplorable.

For a start, I have not seen credible evidence to support climate change that will stand up to honest examination - things like calculating sea level rise from naturally sinking volcanic islands.

One volcanic eruption can put out more carbon dioxide than humanity has been responsible for since we have been on Earth.

We now have the CFA chief officer being quoted on the ABC website saying there was a "fair amount of emotion" on the failure to reduce fuel.

He was further quoted as saying "we had fire down the landscape here that has had burns go right through it (during cooler months) and it hasn't slowed it at all."

The CFA learning manual I have states in just one line: "the more fuel there is - the greater the fire intensity."

When I did the CFA level two training, I was given a McArthur Meter to calculate fire intensity and spread.

This showed that if the fuel load was doubled, the fire intensity increased four times, and if doubled again, the intensity would be 16 times.

The approach taken from the green movement has left the Wellington Plains in the Gippsland High Country looking worse than a desert landscape after three hot fires in just 21 years.

There are only four trees left living on the plains, the Sphagnum bogs and bushes, along with the seed stock, are gone.

This is after 12 months from the last hot fire - there is just the odd blade of grass in places.

Apart from that, it is just a bare desert land landscape, for kilometres.

This is like nothing I have seen in all the years I worked in the desert, apart from the dry beds of salt lakes.

It will not be long, if the present management continues, before the whole of the High Country is similar, and with extinctions.

It could well be too late now to save the place from the greens' land management.

The worst culprits I blame for these fires are the politicians.

Too many politicians appear to be following the least line of resistance.

Some rivers use this approach and usually end up crooked, and-or, deviating from the main stream.