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Learning The Lessons From The Waroona Bushfires

January 22, 2020

By Paul Homewood


h/t Dennis Ambler


It has surely now been established beyond any possible doubt the major role that poor fire hazard management has played in the severity of recent Australian bushfires, despite disinformation campaigns from the BBC/Guardian/Met Office.

Back in 2016, a Special Inquiry was held following the catastrophic Waroona bushfire, just south of Perth that year. Their report not only reemphasised the crucial role of controlled burning, but also gives an insight into the evolution of such practices in recent decades:



Below is the key segment of the report. [The data relates to Western Australia, and P&W refers to the Department of Parks and Wildlife].





The continuous decline in the area control burned since the 1960s is startling, and nothing less than criminally negligent in my view.

The report goes on to describe some of the history behind this:






This of course only relates to Western Australia. But can there be any doubt that similar factors also apply to the rest of the country?

  1. January 22, 2020 10:22 pm

    Not wishing to be an armchair expert, but if the fire control policies are not working, consider changing them asap.

  2. MrGrimNasty permalink
    January 22, 2020 11:00 pm

    But the alarmists (Guardian/BBC) say that mention of a lack of controlled burns, eco-fruit-loops dictating and protesting against controlled burns with MSM backing, and the high level of arson, is the real disinformation campaign – to distract from the role of climate change in the fires. And they fact check that as true! e.g.

    As JN points out:-

    Perhaps the 58th will find it was climate change all along!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 23, 2020 1:41 pm

      A bit like votes on EU matters – keep going until you get the right answer. The UK alone has stuck by the result and we are just 9 days from freedom.

      You could invert Einstein a bit by saying that it is stupid to write the same report on the same thing and expect a different outcome. At least the reports don’t seem to be the whitewashes the UK often has, not that any brought about the correct action.

  3. beowulf permalink
    January 23, 2020 1:04 am

    Here are 3 more Royal Commissions / enquiries into the most intense bushfires in Australia in the past century. (Not the biggest in area, which were the widespread fires in 1974.) There are umpteen reports like these over the years that arrive at the same conclusion as the WA report you have posted. It’s all about the fuel.

    The 1939 Victorian bushfire Royal Commission findings:

    Click to access Leonard_Stretton-1939_Bush_Fires_Royal_Commission_Report.pdf

    A critique of the Esplin Report into the 2003 Victorian bushfires:

    Click to access esplin_report.pdf

    The 2009 Victorian bushfires Royal Commission:

    And from SKY, the PM’s plans for national hazard reduction plans. You should note that hazard reduction and management of national parks/state forests etc is a state constitutional responsibility, not federal, which is why there was not much federal government input into the fires early on until the states needed to call in the cavalry. The states are masters of buck-passing, especially when their own negligence and mismanagement are exposed. The MSM is also pushing the line that it is all the fault of the federal government, rather than 95% the fault of the states.

    Also from JoNova’s site a commenter has put together a package of 14 of Jo’s posts on bushfires over the past 4 months:

    One of those (can’t remember which) contains a WA graph of hazard reduction area burnt versus bushfire area burnt which shows the direct suppression effect of hazard reduction on bushfires.

  4. Ian Cook permalink
    January 23, 2020 8:51 am

    So, bushfires are due to Global Warming. If the ideology didn’t exist, then the idiot policies in the Parks wouldn’t have occurred and normal people could do common sense things. Much reduced bushfires being the result. Is there a correlation between being a ‘liberal Leftie’ and being, you know, a bit dim? Anecdotal evidence would suggest so.

    • Bertie permalink
      January 23, 2020 9:58 am

      There was an old saying which went something like this – ‘If you’re not a Communist/socialist/leftie at age 19yrs you have no soul. If you’re still one at 30, you have no brain.’

  5. Phoenix44 permalink
    January 23, 2020 9:25 am

    How long without rain does it take before the Bush is dry enough to burn? How hot does it have to be before the bush will burn?

    Bush fires have thresholds, not continuous trends. Once its dry enough and hot enough, you will get bush fires. The idea a little bit drier and a little bit hotter makes it worse is nonsense – once the fuel us dry, it will burn.

  6. Adamsson permalink
    January 23, 2020 6:01 pm

    Look if you say the fires are caused by climate change government aren’t to blame and canraise taxes on fuel and electricity and bung some of the cash to thier supporters in City, no point in doing anything and no need to spend money on managing the forests.
    If you say that they are due to poor management then governments are to blame and have to something about it.
    Okay the second option might actually prevent future problems but really what do you think they will choose?

  7. Michael Adams permalink
    January 24, 2020 1:18 am

    Its an extremely long report and goes on at length about procedures and agency responsibilities but they also go in to causes and unsurprisingly they blame fuel clearance as a major factor. Here’s 2 snippets

    “The Special Inquiry received evidence that identified a number of examples of poor fuel management practices. To quote examples:
    Bagieau Road bush reserve has had no maintenance for many years. The last time the bush was cleared from under the power poles was back in 2003.31
    Roadside vegetation and crown land, unburnt for 20 or more years, vacant town site land with dry grass, weeds and leaf litter unaltered by any form of bushfire mitigation in the preceding spring provided the perfect scenario.32
    Many road verges were poorly maintained and carried heavy fuels of dry grass and weeds.33
    The saw mill on Campton Rd had no fire plan in place … all the offcuts and old timber had been pushed into the bushland.34
    A new planting of plantation pines directly behind our residence has had no weed management, such that the dead weeds are quite thick around young pines.35
    Roadside burning has now ceased and no fuel reduction has occurred for several years.36”

    “However, the Special Inquiry did receive some examples of good fuel management. One example is the Yarloop Primary School:
    The Primary School remained standing throughout the fire. Although unattended as the fire passed, the school survived this was due to the fire Protection Plan developed by local fire experts – this plan included fuel reduction and separation of buildings from vegetation.37”

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