Bush fire Armageddon

photo by Adam Stevenson
photo by Adam Stevenson

These fires are hurting so much right now on every level. And to any arm chair commentators, the Greens are not to blame, they are not in power, and can not and do not control policy.  More’s the pity, because if they were in power, we wouldn’t be in this environmental armageddon we are currently experiencing.

These devastating  fires have so far burned 1.1 million hectares… that’s 11000 square kilometres or almost 4250 square miles.  That might be hard to get your head around how that translates. Basically it is total area of the  the following major cities COMBINED: Tokyo, London, New York City,  Delhi,  Hong Kong,  LA and  Moscow.

And we are still in spring!

Source Karly Nimmo

The reason fire reduction burns did not take place this winter, was because it was either too wet then it was too dry. These fires started in August – winter! We have less than half our annual rainfall so far this year, of which half our rainfall fell in winter. Some of the areas that are burning are rainforests, some of them World Heritage listed rainforests. These have never burned before! – this is climate change. You can’t do controlled burns in these environments as they don’t recover from fire, what they need is water.

 The reason all this is happening is climate change. The worlds climate is heating up which is changing weather patterns, some places are getting wetter and some places are getting drier we. In this area, Northern Rivers NSW, sub tropical Australia, we are used to wet summers and dry winters. We normally get about 2000mm of rain a year, in comparison, London and Melbourne get 600mm, Brisbane gets 1000mm, Sydney gets 1300mm. So far this year we’ve had 687mm, of which 324mm fell in winter. That’s 30% of our annual rainfall, so far and we are half way through November, with half it falling in winter. This is not normal for this region, this is  climate change.

 For the past few years we’ve seen a pattern of dry summers and dry winters. This is the opposite of what should occur in the sub tropics – this is climate change. Sometimes we get rain as an east coast low, which drops rain on us in extreme events. Which is not normally helpful, but at this stage would be quite welcome as we have no forecast rain until February!

Rainforest protectors
Rainforest protectors

Our rain usually supports what is left of our rainforests (after extensive logging was stopped by you guessed it the Greenies). These rainforests are usually too wet to burn, but are now tinder dry and are burning – this is climate change. These forest do not recover well from fire.

There are also dry sclerophyll forests burning. These can recover from fire (unlike the rainforest). But these forests house vulnerable wildlife such as a koalas. Koalas are on the verge of extinction here on the northern rivers and these fires may see the death knell for this iconic species. 

koala survey3
Looking for scats

We have been trying protect koala habitat from logging activities. One of these forests was the Braemar State Forest, which had demonstrated to have high use koala activity. We were in the process of trying to stop Forestry from logging this forest, when it was destroyed by fire. We estimate that 100’s possibly 1000’s of koalas have lost their lives in these fires in NSW and QLD.  What’s left of these forests needs and the old growth forests the NSW government has now ear marked for logging, needs to be protected.

We need our politicians to listen to us.  If not us, we need them to listen to the 11000 scientists who are saying we need to act on change now. And if they don’t listen, we need to find some others who will.

 

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