Fires and Burning

Lancefield fire investigatator scrutinised

Saturday, October 17, 2015

After the escaped burn around Lancefield during the week of 6 October burnt 3,000 hectares, destroyed 4 homes, dozens of sheds, fences and pasture, the Victorian Government has commissioned Mr Murray Carter to oversee an enquiry.

Murray Carter Mr Carter was the Manager of the WA Department of Environment and Conservation’s Fire Management Services at the time of WA’s horrific Margaret River fires in 2011. Escaped burns there destroyed 32 homes, nine chalets, four sheds and burnt out more than 3,400 hectares. A 50,000 hectare wildfire south of Nannup, a small town 70 km east of Margaret river, was also caused by an escape from a prescribed burn lit at the same time as the Margaret River burns. These were the two most costly and disastrous escapes from prescribed burns in WA and it all happened under Mr Carter’s management.

Mr Carter was then promoted to Director of Western Australia's Office of Bushfire Risk Management. He appears to have no qualifications in fire ecology or risk management, but has worked within the WA bureaucracy for many years.

Lancefield fire investigation – a smokescreen?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lancefield escaped burn Oct 2015The public has every reason to be sceptical of the outcome of the investigation the Victorian Government has commissioned into the escaped departmental burn during the week of 6 October 2015.  There is huge public outrage over the burn that turned into a wildfire and destroyed over 4,000 hectares, 4 homes, dozens of sheds, fences and pasture around Lancefield. This ‘independent’  investigator from WA was also being investigated for the very same failings in 2011-12 when he managed WA’s most disastrous escape burn that destroyed 32 homes and nine chalets in WA’s tourist region of Margaret River.

Mr Murray Carter seems an inappropriate appointment to oversee this enquiry or quell the outrage. Will this be a careful cover-up under the guise of an independent investigation? It is expected to report back by early November. Read more detail here

We are also hearing that the attitude of many DELWP employees in the local area is as appalling as we witnessed during the 2014 Goongerah-Deddick fires. We are hearing outrageous stories of DELWP vehicles and contractors bulldozing through people’s private properties, knocking down valuable vegetation and trees that pose no risk, without so much as a g’day. The disrespect is profound. The more work DELWP and contracted bulldozer drivers can find, the better their pay cheque. We seem to be witnessing another replay of the Red Gold incentive running the show, as seen so many times before!

Safer not to burn at all? Report shows burns are ineffective

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lancefield escaped burn 2015Yet again a DELWP burn turned into a catastrophic 3,000 ha bushfire in early October. It burnt most of the Cowbar Forests, much of its wildlife was burnt alive, four homes were lost, as well as sheds, fences and pasture. We are told by DELWP that it didn’t have the resources to ensure this planned burn was blacked out properly. But what is the logic behind burning in the first place?

Petition - Immediate halt to planned burns - review fire management policies.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Planned burns can be extremely dangerous and difficult to control. Despite trained personnel, investigations and recommendations for improved fire management over the years, fire, weather and poor judgment still causes major disasters.

The IGEM report released in May acknowledged the ineffectiveness of large scale burns to protect communities. It recommended alternative risk reduction measures believed to be far more effective.

EEG has created an online petition to ask the Premier and Ministers Neville (Environment) and Garret (Emergency Services) to halt more planned burns while a thorough review of the effectiveness of burns is looked into. Please – if you feel as strongly about this as thousands do at the moment – sign and share this online Care2 petition.

We’d love thousands of signatures!

Review of 5% burn target admits failure – plans for more effective risk reduction

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The controversial hectare based burn target of 5% of public land annually was reviewed earlier this year by the Inspector General of Emergency Management. The findings and recommendations were released in April this year and the government is still to announce if it will adopt the recommendations.

Over 2000 ha set aside for owls! EEG's 4th successful legal case

Friday, July 17, 2015

EEG’s fourth Court case challenging the government’s non-adherence to its own environment laws has been settled (17.7.15). This time it was for the owls.

Legal win for Owls over 2,000 ha set aside
EEG, DELWP and VicForests have agreed that the environment department (DELWP) take action to adhere to legal obligations and increase owl protected areas as well as assess the damage done to owl habitat and study owls post-fire to inform whether new protection zones are necessary. Logging in key areas of unprotected owl habitat scheduled for clearfelling will be halted for 4 years while this work is underway.

Planned Burns Review and Recommendations – admits failure – plans for more effective risk reduction

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Burning at Warnett Westernport BayThe Royal Commission recommended burns to over 5% of our natural landscape annually have finally been shown to be a waste of time, money and horrifically damaging to our biodiversity.

The recent review of the burn targets used 12 criteria to measure how effective the blunt hectare-based target is compared to the proposed risk-reduction target. The hectare burns scored 13/48 (a serious flunk!) while a risk-based target scored 40/48. This is what EEG and thousands of others have been saying since day one.

Thinning trials could create a ring of bonfires around towns

Friday, April 10, 2015

The $1.5 million grant to trail logging as a means of bushfire mitigation by the Abbott Government is a suspicious attempt to dress up fire control as another logging industry subsidy, says a regional conservation group.

Environment East Gippsland says that the Australian Forests Products Association has been lobbying for this for a long time.

Bill Gammage and the white fella myth of Aboriginal burning

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Gammage toonBill Gammage has become a cult figure for many people who believe we need to burn the bush ‘as Aborigines did’. He has even convinced quite a few environmentally concerned people through his book The Biggest Estate on Earth that regular burning is needed.  However, what we rarely hear above the unquestioning accolades are the many scientists, academics and ecologists who have looked at his claims and found them to be either well-crafted falsehoods or just plain erroneous. Gammage presents wild guesses as fact, bases claims on selective historical information, exaggerates and is often incorrect in his geography. He has also admitted that he did not interview local indigenous people in areas he wrote about.

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