Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Open for Debate - Bushfires, Logging, Burns & Forest Management

The megafires of four years ago are still fresh in the Australian memory.  Of course it is not just Australia where fires have raged out of control and caused immeasurable damage. Forest and land management practices around the world are, I hope, under scrutiny so that the best practices to suit the circumstances of each can be put into place.

The debate on this page has opened up beyond the original question of any connection between bushfires and logging to include other elements that make up sustainable forest management in Australia. The overarching question remains the same: How can Australian forests, as they are now, be best managed to achieve the best outcome with the least adverse consequences? What more can and should we do right now?

Those of you who have been following the commentary and articles collected here would suspect that there is no simple answer to this question and that there are deep divisions between commentators.

The impact of climate change, the impact of logging and harvesting, the impact of fuel reduction burns and the extent of FRBs appear to be key factors.

Surely though, these are not mutually exclusive and it’s not that much of a stretch to acknowledge that they all may have an effect on forest management and bushfire risk?  Perhaps the ongoing debate will get down to the details of where the balance lies.

The debate over forest management and bushfire mitigation and protection is now feeding into a debate over property, work, land use and the future of rural and regional Australia itself. 

As before, if you have expert experience or knowledge in this field, your input – as balanced and unemotional as possible, preferably debating the points and not the people – is invited. If you know someone who should contribute to this debate, let them, or me, know. TheEditor@ARR.News

While the length of a submission is not an issue, it would be helpful for ARR.News readers if commentators could give a clear summary of their main points at the outset.

Western Australia

Dwellingup revisted: Frank Batini

The weekend of 4/5 November 2023 was eerily similar to my experiences as a 20 year old fire-fighter at the disastrous 1961 Dwellingup fire, which burnt 200000 hectares of forest and destroyed several towns ... Multiple lightning strikes, dry, heavy fuels and strong winds eventually overwhelmed all fire-fighting efforts.


Inadequate firefighter safety in south east Australian forests: John O’Donnell

John O'Donnell believes that many of the forested fire grounds across south eastern Australia are way too dangerous to fight bushfires and for firefighter safety and that, as a society, we have learnt very little following 2019/20 bushfires and bushfires before that, especially in regards to bushfire mitigation and safety. John has identified 21 main areas of concern in relation to bushfire firefighter safety in forested areas.


Letter to the Editor – Bushfire management should focus on fuel reduction: McArthur

In my adjournment matter, I encouraged the Minister for Emergency Services to delve more deeply into Dr Tolhurst’s life’s work and consider his recommendation that bushfire management should have a greater focus on fuel load reduction. Dr Tolhurst repeatedly pointed out the folly in prioritising expensive and difficult suppression of fire, instead of fuel load management ... He powerfully argued against an influential Climate Council factsheet, which had concluded “no amount of hazard reduction will protect human lives, animals and properties from catastrophic fires” – pointing out that analysing the extent of burned areas, rather than the severity of the fire, is misleading.


Katters call out Queensland on bushfire culpability: Katter

“At the same time we have seen these shocking declines in volunteer numbers, without any genuine attempt to stem the flow, Labor governments have embarked on a land lock-up spree that has seen National Park size in Queensland increase from around 6.6 million ha in 2002 to more than 7 million ha in 2022 ... Then we have the Prime Minister running around the country saying he will protect 30 per cent of lands, meanwhile what is currently under lock and key are poorly-managed, ecological wastelands that raise the nation’s bushfire risk": Traeger MP Robbie Katter.


Climate change drives huge rise in fire risk

Patricia Gill. Climate change has driven the occurrence of extreme fire risk days in Denmark from two in 1930 to 150 expected by 2030. The occurrence of days has risen incrementally in more recent years from 50 extreme risk days in 2019 driven by the warming climate and earlier summer conditions. Also indications are that Denmark is two months ahead of ‘normal’ weather conditions with silage and hay being cut in paddocks in October and the beginning of November rather than in December.


New research confirms value of fuel reduction burning in karri forest: Bushfire Front

Peer-reviewed research published in the Australian Forestry journal has confirmed something that forest firefighters have long known: if forests are left unburned for many years, they still carry heavy bushfire fuels, making firefighting difficult and dangerous. The new research demolishes the theory that if forests are left unburnt, they become non-flammable ... the scientists measured and analysed fuels in karri forests that ranged from 1 to 92 years since last being burned.

Bushfire preparedness

Zero state action

The Victorian government has not replied to the RFA Major Event Review 18 months after it was submitted despite its 37 recommendations on forest management after the devastating 2019-20 bushfires ... Dr Tony Bartlett AFSM, as a science adviser to Forestry Australia, took the fight to the National Bushfire Preparedness Summit in Canberra last week.

Australia’s preparation for major bushfires: John O’Donnell

It is the author’s belief that Australia is not adequately prepared for upcoming bushfires.  To be frank, we as a society have learnt very little following 2019/20, especially in regards to bushfire mitigation. Communities, firefighters and the ecosystems are highly exposed over the coming El Nino period and a lot of bushfire skills have been lost.  Disaster and insurance costs are going up every year and will continue to go up with current adapted approaches.


Review finds Indigenous groups want more involvement

Timber harvesting was not a concern of Gippsland Indigenous groups, who overwhelmingly want to be involved in direct management of forests before, during and after bushfires, the RFA Major Event Review of the 2019-20 bushfires found ... “Traditional Owners seek to be managing fire directly, with their own crews and equipment. They see themselves as fire givers, not firefighters.”

Public meeting - East Gippsland

Are Mallacoota and East Gippsland prepared for another major fire? The Howitt Society

The Howitt Society are concerned at the lack of broadscale fuel management operations in East Gippsland over the past four years post the 2019/20 fires ... A public meeting has been convened at Mallacoota to discuss the issue of the long term protection of the townships and the forests of East Gippsland.

Burning - WA

EPA calls for burning enquiry

The Environmental Protection Authority has recommended an independent scientific enquiry into prescribed burning practices in WA, particularly in the context of climate change. EPA chair Professor Matthew Tonts said an independent review under the 1986 EPA Act would call on the expertise of independent scientists to consider prescribed burning approaches and implementation. This follows Fire and Air Forum: Biodiversity, Environmental Sustainability and Human Health at WA University in May.

Fire management in WA: The Bushfire Front responds to EPA Report 1745

Claims that prescribed burning will not assist with wildfire control are spurious. ... The EPA report on their review of the FMP failed to mention that a West Australian Parliamentary Committee, after hearing multiple evidence, recently concluded that an additional review of prescribed burning practices by Government was NOT warranted. This is a blatant and serious omission.

Workshop - NSW

Pilot cultural burn in Gibbergunyah Reserve

Wingecarribee’s Aboriginal community had an exciting opportunity to take part in a cultural burn within Gibbergunyah Reserve last weekend. The burn was conducted by Gundungurra Traditional Owners and our First Nations community in partnership with Yarrabin Cultural Connections Fire Practitioner Den Barber and his team, also supported by the NSW RFS and Wingecarribee Shire Council.


Wattle Day: Robert Onfray

Today is the first day of spring in Australia, a day we celebrate as national Wattle Day ... we use today to celebrate a wonderful species that is, with a few exceptions, unique to our landscape. But to professional foresters, a recognition of wattles only reminds us of the deleterious effects of changed land management practices after millions of hectares of actively managed state forests have been converted to reserves since the 1990s. The effects have been compounded by massive wildfires that have occurred over that time.

Forest management

How to stifle active forest management – the Wungong catchment trial in Western Australia: Frank Batini

Frank Batini has set down the history of the Wungong catchment trial in order to provide a record that shows how difficult it is to implement any active forest management in the northern jarrah forest. This account may be of interest to forest managers in other parts of Australia.

Forester Frank, science and French folly: David Jefford Ward

Although my qualifications lie in other fields, I know Frank Batini as a modest, well mannered, well qualified, and experienced forester. His recent article about his past work on water supply from Wungong Dam, near Perth, has raised concerns with me about the management of water supplies in Western Australia ... Instead of following scientific advice, they seem to have switched their beliefs to the thinking of other kinds of experts, without any qualifications in forestry, fire, or hydrology, but expertly politically aware and active.

Management - NT

Fire: Bombers, buffel and planned burning

Water bombing, which is on stand-by around the clock in the Adelaide Hills during summer, “could have a role” in protecting Alice suburbs. Planned burning should be extended in The Centre’s national parks. And controlling buffel is critical for reducing the risk of fire around Alice Springs. That’s the view of Dr Rohan Fisher, CDU’s Northern Institute fire researcher. Instead what Alice Springs had over the weekend was a planned burn that got out of hand, started possibly at the wrong time, causing an inferno that destroyed 25,000 hectares, in and near the West MacDonnells National Park, and threatening the edge of the town.

Harvest Code

Backflip on Grain Harvest Code a huge win for farmers: Pederick, Centofanti

Following several weeks of uncertainty for South Australian farmers, the CFS has announced that the Grain Harvest Code of Practice will remain unchanged for the 2023-24 harvest season. Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Adrian Pederick declared the move as “a big win for our farmers and grain producers” who can continue using the current Grass Fire Danger Index (GFDI)...

Harvest Code

GPSA hoses down CFS on harvest fire code

Michelle Daw. Farmers could be forced out of their paddocks for twice as many hours and harvest pushed into the hottest, driest months of the year under proposed changes to the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice, Grain Producers SA has warned.


Hard yacca – grass skirts are a life saver for many animals, but fire and disease threaten their survival: UniSA

Australia’s iconic grass-trees – aka yaccas – are hardy, drought-tolerant, and strikingly beautiful. Now, new research has revealed another, far more important, feature: their ability to protect wildlife from deadly weather extremes.

Workshop - Qld

Native vegetation management

A workshop to look at Native Vegetation thinning and cultural burning for forest and pasture health will be held at Cunningham ... Join Dave Lawler from the Department of Resources for veg thinning advice and Robbie Williams from Fire Lore for a cultural burning talk and demonstration.

Management - NT

Government fiddles while buffel burns

Adrian Tomlinson. Fire is one of the terrible consequences of buffel, the invasive grass many call a weed, and which is declared as such in neighbouring South Australia ... Yet the NT Government seems to be responding to this emergency without great strategy, judging by answers given to Araluen’s independent MLA Robyn Lambley, who put questions in Parliament suggested by the Alice Springs News.

Workshop - NSW

Cool burning workshops attract a hot following

After more than 160 Clarence Valley homes were tragically lost during the devastating Black Summer bushfires, Area Manager for Environmental Services at Envite Environmental Services Mick Webb is encouraging locals to be prepared for other natural disasters ... Cool burning, also called mosaic burning, involves burning a very small area at a low intensity. “It’s done in patches to allow areas for animals to escape,” he explained, adding the heat of the fire is kept at a manageable level, and the flames are close to the ground.


Planned burns case labelled “irresponsible”

The Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria (MCAV) is calling on environmental groups to consider the long-term ramifications of their actions after it came to light that a Federal Court case against planned burns was underway... President of the MCAV, Cass McCormack, said it was yet again proof that continued scientific, academic and anecdotal evidence was being ignored.


The 2019/ 20 bushfires – contributory factors: John O’Donnell

John O'Donnell identifies the multiple contributory factors that influenced fuels, forest fire resilience, bushfire attack, safety, impact, cost, bushfire extent and intensity of the 2019/ 2020 major bushfires across south eastern Australia ... Are we better prepared now?

Fire regimes

Woody thickening a burning issue: Cape York NRM

A new project to monitor and develop a guide on the management of woody thickening through fire regimes on Cape York Peninsula will begin next month ... “There is growing evidence of marked changes in woody structure across the region, and this can affect pastoral production as well as the biodiversity of the country”: Toby Eastoe, Cape York NRM Biodiversity & Fire Programs Manager.

Cultural burning

Historic cultural fires lit a second time

Patrick Goldsmith. There were cultural burns across Yorke Peninsula from Monday to Friday, June 19-23. In a bid to reinvigorate the Narungga land management practice, Narungga men and women took to four locations in Ardrossan, Point Pearce and Minlaton for just the second time in recent history to ignite shrubbery.


Burning swamps in South West Australia – What might Aristotle think? David Jefford Ward

I note that some at Denmark WA object to deliberate burning by the government department called DBCA. On television I have seen the matter briefly addressed by two botanists, Dr Joanna Young and Prof Stephen Hopper. They were showing a politician a recently burnt swamp, with ugly damage to the peat. A nasty sight, but was it the whole truth, or only part? We might remember Aristotle’s discussion of the perils of omitting, deliberately or accidentally, part of the truth (enthymeme).

Cultural burning

Local Elders share cultural burning knowledge at Batemans Bay: Kamper

The NSW Government attended a cultural burn, on the eve of NAIDOC week at Nellingen last week organised by The Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council. The cultural burn was an opportunity to support the renewal of culture through the use of fire while promoting knowledge sharing with Crown Lands’ bushfire mitigation staff.

Cool burn

Successful burn on Allora Mountain

Allora Landcare Group is delighted to report the successful ‘cool’ burn of 2 - 3 acres of weedy land adjacent to the reservoir on Allora Mountain last Wednesday afternoon. The wind was from the north so smoke was kept way from town.

Prescribed burning - WA

Prescribed burning: Call for full State inquiry

The Denmark Environment Centre is calling on the State Government for a full and independent inquiry into the impact of its current prescribed burning practices. This follows the release last week of a report, Icons to Ashes, on the practice as examined in the Walpole Wilderness Area. The report calls for an urgent rethink of burning practices, highlighting that regular burning is having a big impact on forests and wildlife and has been scientifically demonstrated to be increasing the risk of bushfire.

Mild burning

Getting to the root of the issue: John O’Donnell

John O'Donnell reviews eucalypt decline and dieback in relation to the lack of low intensity fire management across Australia. John considers that exclusion of frequent low intensity mild fire is the primary cause of eucalypt decline in Australian native forests and woodlands and this has been inadequately recognised ... This lack of recognition is in itself a major environmental issue and ignores up to 60,000 years of Aboriginal burning practices across the landscape.

Cultural burning

Djaara launches climate strategy publication

A new publication launched by the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation (DJAARA) is tackling climate change head-on ... The strategy includes a plan to introduce cultural burning practices with a specific focus on restoring unhealthy sections of the landscape.

Forestry - Vic

Report questioned

The state government has been accused of using a landmark Victorian climate report, which was written without any input from forestry researchers or the forest industry, to prematurely close the native forestry industry. These forestry groups resent the lack of consultation and have attacked the intellectual content of the report ... The report was written without any contribution from leading forestry experts – Forestry Australia, which represents forest scientists, forest managers and timber growers; Forest & Wood Products Australia, the sector’s chief research and marketing arm; the Victorian Forest Products Association; and leading forestry academics.

Traralgon consultancy finds state forestry mismanagement

The state government decision to close the native forest timber industry culminates eight years of mismanagement that turned VicForests from a profitable business into a loss maker, an analysis by a Traralgon consultant has found ... Mr Cameron said Australian hardwood sawn timber mill gate revenue sold for 3.5 times the price of Australian softwood sawn timber, and contributed to much greater value-adding and job creation than softwood.

Forestry - Vic

Decision upheld

The future of Victoria's forests has been captured by political ideology and complex legalities rather than being determined by science and professional expertise, according to Forestry Australia ... "The problem is, there has been no universally accepted definition or clarity regarding how key components of the [precautionary] principle should be interpreted or applied in practice," Forestry Australia said.

Kinglake Friends of the Forest v VicForests – appeal decision: KFF

The Supreme Court of Victoria has announced its decision on VicForests appeal of last November’s landmark court decision in Kinglake Friends of the Forest and Environment East Gippsland vs VicForests, known as “The Glider Case”. The panel of three judges upheld Justice Richards’ findings that VicForests’ actions were in breach of environment laws.The orders limiting logging in forests that are home to endangered gliders will remain.


Forestry Australia produces advocacy positions to inform sector

Forestry Australia has released a series of two-page Position Statements to better inform members and the community of its position on a range of issues. Designed to be short, sharp and easily understood, the first five in a series of position papers covers the areas of Ecologically Sustainable Forestry Management, Forest Fire Management, Forest Fire Recovery and Restoration, Sustainable Forest Harvesting and Forest Research, Development and Dissemination ... President of Forestry Australia, Dr Michelle Freeman said the organisation is seeking greater recognition by policy makers, media and the wider community of balanced science-based positions on important forest policy and forest management issues.

Native forestry - NSW

The Blueprint Institute’s ‘Branching Out’ report – a critique

‘Branching Out”, the latest report on the NSW native forestry by the Blueprint Institute, was released on 26 April and put into the media with the subeditorial line “Report outlines economic benefit of ending native forest logging’ ... The Report should be marked ‘draft’ given its deficiencies - and that is being generous.

Reserve management

Proof that species are declining in our forests set up to protect them: Robert Onfray

Robert Onfray. As we celebrate World Endangered Species Day on 19 May, I thought it timely this month to look closely at how species are faring in Australia, particularly in reserves authorities have established to protect them ... We don’t hear about this aspect of monitoring in our reserves because the government, bureaucrats and environmental activists don’t want the public to know just how poorly managed our reserves are.


More out-of-control burns heat up pressure on Gov: Katter

Not even one month after an uncontrolled fire on Government land triggered Traeger MP Robbie Katter to request an inquiry into the State Government’s aggressive take-up of land without properly resourcing it, several more blazes have broken out. Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Member for Traeger Robbie Katter received complaints that constituents were left to battle two grass fires in about two weeks 30 kilometres east of Hughenden that were likely caused by cattle train activity and nearby high fuel loads.

Opinion - WA forestry

Ecological thinning – WA Government manages to wedge itself: Gavin Butcher

Gavin Butcher. When the WA Premier announced it was changing direction in the management of native forests to one guided by improving forest health and climate resilience he was on a potential winner ... Here was a unique opportunity to end the forest wars and set up a sustainable future for all. Alas the government has fluffed it.

Science debunks McGowan’s forestry populism: Gavin Butcher

Gavin Butcher. Analysis of publicly available data by respected scientist Dr Lachie McCaw has shown that claims by Premier McGowan and his coterie of Forestry Ministers, Jarvis and Kelly, to be without substance. The WA government had stated that one of the reasons the timber industry had been axed was because the trees are no longer growing. Dr McCaw has used published data on the long-term forest monitoring plots called ForestCheck to demonstrate that the harvested forest is growing and the uncut forest is in decline.

Determining the WA timber yield: Jack Bradshaw

Despite evidence to the contrary, the WA Minister for Forests (Jacki Jarvis) continues to argue that the WA timber industry had to close because it has run out of wood as a result of reduced growth rate due to climate change, quoting reports from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology as evidence. Neither of these organisations has any involvement in the determination of timber yield.

Workshop - NSW

Local fire prevention workshops using traditional First Nations land management technique

In the Clarence Valley, where the Black Summer fires destroyed 168 homes three years ago, locals are getting ready for the important task of preparing for fire ... To do that, they are turning towards First Nations knowledge and practices, including the traditional land management technique of cool burning. Mick explains that cool burning, also called mosaic burning, involves burning a very small area at a low intensity.


Review – Our Dangerous Friend

At the heart of "Our Dangerous Friend" is author David Jefford Ward’s belief that traditional Noongar knowledge should be a respected source of bushfire philosophy, ecology and management in south west Australia. In fact Ward, who started as a workman in the then Forests Department, places more value on Noongar bushfire knowledge than some refereed scientific papers.

Forum - WA

UWA forum to focus on prescribed burning

A fire and air forum will be held at the University of WA in Perth on May 5 to explore community concern regarding the impacts of broad-scale prescribed burning in South West forests ... Speakers will include those with expertise in landscape flammability, biodiversity, ecology, air pollution, health impacts and the latest in peer-reviewed research.

Related report

Responding to the Productivity Commission’s “Advancing Prosperity” report – Further opportunities in relation to natural disaster management: John O’Donnell

John O'Donnell assesses the Productivity Commission's limited recommendations regarding natural disaster management in its latest report, "Advancing Prosperity", and concludes that the PC and governments have missed key opportunities to better nail natural disaster management across Australia.

Fire management & wildlife

Koala conservation in Queensland – interview with Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Australia Rural & Regional News asks some questions about AWC's koala conservation projects and koala monitoring, and land and fire management of Andrew Howe, Australian Wildlife Conservancy Senior Field Ecologist and Peter Stanton, Australian Wildlife Conservancy Senior Ecologist.

Native forestry

Economic Contribution Study of the NSW hardwood timber industry

The North East NSW Forestry Hub has posted a report prepared by Ernst & Young into the economic significance of the NSW hardwood industry to the NSW and Commonwealth economies ... the report shows the critical importance of the industry to the Northern NSW economy, contributing $1.8 billion in revenue, adding $700 million to NSW GDP and employing 5,700 people in the region.

Related research

New AI technologies to control bushfires will save lives, homes and livelihoods: CSU

A Charles Sturt University academic has led multiple research projects that have produced new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that will save lives, homes and livelihoods by reducing bushfires. The research was conducted between 2018 and 2022 and can assist in fire management and reduction, including disaster management for a range of natural disasters and events related to climate change.

Native forestry - Vic

Native forestry set for the chop

Under the direction of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, native forestry throughout the state of Victoria is set to be banned by 2030. The move has alarmed rural communities right across Victoria as the regenerative, carbon sequestering resource is not only a sustainable natural product, but provides significant employment, bushfire prevention and a boost to the economy. 

Great Koala Park - NSW

An open letter to the Hon. Chris Minns MP and the Hon. Penny Sharpe MP: Forestry Australia

Despite the public perception that the only way to protect species is to create more conservation reserves, Forestry Australia’s view is that koala recovery can best be achieved through a landscape-wide approach to active management of these populations and their forest habitats across all land tenures. There is considerable evidence that the National Park estate is continuing to be degraded due to unnatural fire regimes, pests and diseases, and a lack of active management to mitigate their impacts.

Bushfire management

Bushfire learning, policy and management opportunities: John O’Donnell

John O'Donnell finds that the Treasurer's recent essay opens up an opportunity to discuss whether Australia has in fact learnt and implemented lessons from the Black Saturday bushfires and ways to improve economic and management outcomes for Australia in relation to bushfires.

Fires, floods & climate change adaptation

Howitt Society weighs into debate

Hiding behind climate change is not a strategy to address the increasing number and intensity of fires and floods across Australia, according to the Howitt Society. The society's president, Rick Cooper, said even if all burning of fossil fuels was stopped across the world tomorrow, climate change was not going to shift into reverse.

Native forestry

Native forestry myths

The ongoing and thorough debate on Australian Rural & Regional News on native forestry in 2022, highlighted directly and indirectly a few myths on the subject. Without any order of ranking, these are: 1. Native hardwood should be harvested from hardwood plantations ...

Forest management

Forestry Australia welcomes landmark study on net benefits of multiple use forest management

Forestry Australia has welcomed a new study that highlights the significant value and benefits that state forests deliver for positive environmental, recreational, social and commercial outcomes. Assessing the net benefits of multiple use native forest management in Queensland found that state forests managed for multiple uses in South and Central Queensland delivered additional benefits and superior social outcomes over the long term when compared with benefits provided by national parks.

Forest & fires

Major Event Review of the 2019–20 Victorian bushfires shows need for major forest management overhaul: Forestry Australia

A comprehensive report into the 2019-20 Victorian bushfires highlights the need for a major overhaul of current forest management strategies ... “This report confirms that to avoid future repeats of 2019-20 and protect human life and biodiversity, forest and fire management must be viewed and managed at a landscape scale, with active management over long timeframes, using expert knowledge of forests and their processes”: Forestry Australia Vice President Jim Wilson.

Forest management - Gippsland

Dialogue to help Gippsland’s forests

Scott McArdle is blunt. “Gippsland’s forests need our help. Fire, floods, storms, drought, pests, weeds, neglect, exploitation and the changing climate are all taking a huge toll – but if we all work together, the future can be different.” Mr McArdle is the executive officer of a new group, the Gippsland Forest Dialogue (GFD), that aims to do just that – meet the challenges facing the region’s forests and find ways to move forward.

National parks

Caring for national parks – a conservationist’s perspective evolves: Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth

Cam Walker. After World War Two, a growing appreciation of the Australian landscape and an emerging conservation movement led millions of people to become involved in campaigns to protect our wild and special places ... Once a campaign was won, we often thought that the battle was over ... Several decades ago I was a volunteer with an environment group that campaigned to gain protection of wild ecosystems. In those days I supported a ‘let burn’ policy when it comes to managing fire in wild landscapes.

Risk - NSW

Opportunities to improve fuel management in NSW: John O’Donnell

John O'Donnell reviews the NSW Rural Fire Service Annual Report 2021/22 ... Unfortunately, areas of annual hazard reduction burning and mechanical reduction in NSW are both at very low rates ... Only 3.1 per cent of the NSW forested landscape has received fuel treatment over five years, this is extremely low and inadequate to reduce bushfire areas and risk. In addition, the forests with extensive hot bushfires of 2019/ 20 are now three years old and in many cases there are extensive areas of dead trees, heavy grass/ bark etc fuel and dense understoreys ...

Bushfire management

Think fire, know fire: Roger Underwood

I have recently re-read Think Trees, Grow Trees, a 1985 publication from the Institute of Foresters of Australia. This excellent little book was the brainchild of, and was edited by Dr Wilf Crane, one of my contemporaries at the Australian Forestry School, a notable forest scientist and famous and eccentric character ... To me, the most important part of the book (in terms of contemporary relevance) is the chapter called Living with Fire. It is written by Phil Cheney.

Forest fuel, forest resilience and risks of severe bushfire – USDA fact sheets

John O'Donnell. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service has recently prepared three useful fact sheets in regards to reducing wildfire risks, hazardous fuels and improving forest resilience ... These documents are valuable reading for those involved in land and fire management in Australia.

Bushfire management

Landmark national bushfire framework to save Australian lives, land and property: Forestry Australia

A landmark new body of work has been released to assist governments and private organisations to tackle Australia’s growing bushfire problem and save lives, land and property. Turning the Goals of the National Bushfire Management Policy Statement into Objectives and Key Performance Indicators aims to guide improvements in bushfire management and provide consistent reporting nationally on achievements.