Fight fire with fire: controlled burning could have protected Australia
A kind of ecological fundamentalism has taken the place of common sense
It could also protect California, which has so many wildfires each year. And the same crap-for-brain econuts are the reason is the cause for both.
By modern standards, my grandfather would probably be considered an environmental criminal. To clear land for his farmhouse in north-eastern Victoria — and for his milking sheds, pig pens, chicken sheds, blacksmith shop and other outbuildings — he cleared hundreds of trees. And he cleared thousands more for his wheat fields, cattle paddocks and shearing sheds……….
This was once standard practice throughout rural Australia, where the pre-settlement indigenous population had long conducted controlled burns of overgrown flora — known as ‘fuel’ in current fire-management talk. They knew an absence of controlled burns would invite uncontrolled burns — such as the gigantic wildfires that have ravaged much of this drought-hit nation since September…..
[but today.ed.]Even minor attempts to reduce that fuel load are punished. Let’s suppose, for example, you have a wood fireplace at your rural house. Doing the right thing by the law and the environment, you do not cut down any trees to use as firewood. Instead, you simply collect dead branches and fallen trees lying around in the bushland dirt. This also reduces the amount of fuel available for potential bushfires, so you’re on the side of the angels……..
….Heed the warning from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Central West area manager Fiona Buchanan, in April last year: ‘We are getting the message out there that removing firewood, including deadwood and fallen trees, is not permitted in national parks. We want people to know the rules around firewood collection…it’s important people are aware that on-the-spot fines apply but also very large fines can be handed out by the courts.’
She wasn’t bluffing. A man had earlier been fined $30,000 ($20,000 US) for illegally collecting firewood in the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. Why? Because, as Buchanan explained: ‘Many ground-dwelling animals and threatened species use tree hollows for nesting, so when fallen trees and deadwood is taken illegally, it destroys their habitat. This fallen timber is part of these animals’ natural ecosystem.’
Those natural ecosystems are now, across thousands of hectares of national parks in New South Wales, nothing but cinders and ash. Enjoy your protected habitat, little ground-dwellers.