Why the Bushfire Front Supports Fuel Reduction Burning

Why the Bushfire Front Supports Fuel Reduction Burning, by Roger Underwood.

The aim is NOT to stop bushfires from starting. The aim is to reduce the killing power of a wildfire. Even on a hot, windy day in mid-summer, a wildfire is easier, cheaper and safer to control if it is burning in light fuels. …

A prescribed burn: the fuels are reduced but the forest is basically unscathed

Eucalypt forests accumulate fuel every year, through the shedding by trees and shrubs of dry leaves, twigs and branchlets and the thickening of dry bark on the tree trunks. In some forests up to three tonnes of fuel can accumulate every year on every hectare of forest. The process of accumulation goes on for years, often 15 years or more, meaning there can be over 20 tonnes of fuel just sitting there. …

Decades of bushfire experience has shown that once fuels are more than 5 or 6 years old, the accumulated fuel loads will feed fires that will quickly become uncontrollable under summer conditions. A thousand firefighters and a hundred water bombers will not extinguish, not even slow the progress of a raging forest fire burning in heavy fuels under extreme weather conditions. …

Jarrah forest in the wake of a summer wildfire: even the mature trees have been killed

Critics of prescribed burning maintain that it is destroying the ecosystem. There is no evidence to support this. As far as science has been able to determine, not one species of native plant or animal has become extinct as a result of decades of fuel reduction burning in Western Australia. Cool fires actually refresh the bushland, recycling nutrients, regenerating wildflowers and providing a diversity of habitats for native fauna. …

Critics of fuel reduction burning argue that a better system is simply to ramp up the number of firefighters and water bombers. This is the approach that has recently been put to the test in NSW and Victoria … and failed horribly. These fires claimed several lives, incinerated beautiful forests and destroyed hundreds of homes and farms.

Read it all. You’re not going to get this point of view anytime soon in the climate-obsessed media.