The dilemma: will it be managed fires, or unmanaged wildfires that reduce the fuel load?
Or if you are Tim Flannery, who says it’s “immoral not to connect the dots“, the question is “how many solar panels will it take to stop those houses burning down?”
This is the rough size of the controlled hazard reduction target area, as carried out for NSW compared to the area of “hazard-reduction” by Mother Nature. The area of official hazard reduction by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is … a square with sides of 36 km (135,000 ha)*.
To protect houses we need a 100m margin (at least) and to burn 20% of the landscape each year.
New South Wales NPWS fire ecologist, Ross Bradstock, said that to protect Sydney housing:We have worked out you have to burn 20 per cent of the landscape per annum to significantly reduce the size of wildfires, fires under severe weather.(50)
– Australian Parliamentary inquiry 2002-03
Every major inquiry has recommended more fuel management. Even the stone age society that managed the land for thousands of years until a couple of hundred years ago knew to burn off every few years. But not our progressive Greens. The fury at the Greens out there in the country districts is palpable, according to my sources.
*Clarified: 135,000ha is equivalent to a square 36km x 36km, not the same as 36km2.