Australia endures regular bushfires. They destroy property and kill people and wildlife, but they’re necessary for the survival of various plants and trees.
The most important tool in managing bushfires to help ensure they don’t become monster conflagrations is controlled burnoffs in the cooler months — it’s really the only tool, since burning is the only practical way to destroy undergrowth and dead timber. That way, when the fires arise in the hot season they are not so large and damaging.
Burnoffs have a fascinating history. They’ve been practised since Europeans arrived in Australia, and of course the Aborigines, who started the burnoffs thousands of years ago, taught them how to do it. Since then the application of Western science has improved our understanding of the bush.
This week, on the Tasmanian Greens web site, in response to “a few queries about the Greens’ policy on fuel reduction burns,” somebody signing himself “Greens staff” claimed that the Party supports “fuel reduction burns as a vital tool in protecting lives and property in all land tenures including National Parks.”
But it’s only two years ago that they wanted to shut them down. Read more… »