Like California, Australia limits clearing and controlled burning of forest fuel build-up, and reports indicate that almost half the bushfires this season were set by people.
Australia might be a half a world away from California, but the massive wildfires that have struck the country are still burning too close to home.
My sister-in-law’s family lives in the New South Wales town of Bega. They have been forced to evacuate, and we are praying that their home and the horses they were forced to leave behind remain safe. My brother-in-law has joined the firefight.
Last month, the United States and Canada sent firefighting teams to aid the Australian efforts. Joining these crews are 20 highly experienced California firefighters:
The Angeles National Forest crew will deploy from Los Angeles on Monday, the US Forest Service reports.
The US has sent dozens of managers to Australia already, but this team is thought to be the first that puts shovels in the ground to dig fire breaks, starts back fires with drip-torch cans, and hikes dusty miles in rough terrain.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to reciprocate to our Australian brothers and sisters for the same assistance they’ve given us for many years,” said fire technician Jonathan Merager.
There has been a media push to blame “climate change” for the devastation (e.g., “Australia is Committing Climate Suicide“). However, several other factors are genuinely responsible for the disaster.
First off, Australians have adopted land management practices that are similar to those implemented by California…and we have covered the Golden State’s numerous, large-scale blazes regularly, including one that trapped me on an interstate in 2014.
It turns out built-up layers of dry eucalyptus twigs and leaves make excellent fuel. A warning given in 2015 seems to have gone unnoticed.
Forest fuel levels have worsened over the past 30 years because of “misguided green ideology”, vested interests, political failure, and mismanagement, creating a massive bushfire threat, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist has warned.
Victoria’s “failed fire management policy” is an increasing threat to human life, water supplies, property, and the forest environment, David Packham said in a submission to the state’s Inspector-General for Emergency Management.
And he argued that unless the annual fuel reduction burning target, currently at a minimum of 5 percent of public land, “is doubled or preferably tripled, a massive bushfire disaster will occur.
The forest and alpine environment will decay and be damaged possibly beyond repair and homes and people [will be] incinerated.”
The next aspect to note is that the Australian bush has been the focus of a great deal of arson in recent months.
NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shepherd has revealed investigators are close to charging more than a dozen suspected arsonists believed to have deliberately lit bushfires as the state remains in the grip of an ongoing bushfire crisis.
With tireless firefighters continuing to battle more than 100 blazes across NSW, Mr. Shepherd warned the RFS was working “hand-in-hand with police” and noted that the state has “some of the toughest arson laws and penalties” in the country.
It comes amid revelations at least 56 people have already been charged or cautioned with 71 bushfire-related offenses since August, with 16 ongoing investigations into suspicious fires, including a blaze that threatened the rim of suburban Sydney in South Turramurra, on Sydney’s Upper North Shore, on November 12.
“There are a number of fires so far this season that have been lit with malicious intent,” Mr. Shepherd told The Australia.
In a nutshell, reports indicate that people have been deliberately lighting almost half the bushfires this season.
Finally, many native Australian birds are likely making the bushfire crisis worse.
The Whistling Kite, the Black Kite [pictured] and the Brown Falcon are all known to use fire as a way to flush out prey from fields in Australia.
The birds’ behavior has led to the nicknames ‘arson raptors’ or ‘firehawk’ as they are seen spreading fires by picking up flaming sticks and dropping them into dry fields to scare out smaller animals.
When the blazes finally go out, I hope the Australians will focus on the real causes of these blazes instead of those asserted by green justice warriors and eco-activists. Meanwhile, prayers are being said for everyone impacted by this disaster.
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