A word of warning. This post will be a rant, sorry, but I need to get this issue off of my chest!
The last few days we have been suffering from smoke haze and a burning smell every morning and for most of the day. This is because the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Parks Victoria are reducing the fuel in some of our state forests. The smoke was so bad here yesterday that I thought that it was fog, until I went outside and smelt the burning eucalyptus smell. We had to keep Ben off of school all day and kept him inside where the smell was not so bad, and Kim and I were coughing on and off most of the day.
So why are we pouring tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, in Autumn which is notorious for calm, sunny cool days, that keeps the smoke lingering at low levels for many days? Are the DSE crazy, and have lost their marbles? Can someone please explain this to me? Why would a department that is responsible for the environment be burning off in forests, killing native animals, and destroying habit, and my families bloody lungs? Here is the official response.
“EPA regional fire manager Bernard Barbetti said fuel reduction burns were necessary to prevent the impact of fires on communities and water supplies.”
Last time I looked water doesn’t catch on fire, and don’t we have things like fire breaks in our state forests to help fire-fighters if we have a bush fire? And to reduce the impact on local communities, we pollute a city with a population of 3.5 million? Time to rethink the strategy fellows, me thinks. It won’t be long when some bright spark lodges a civil case against the DSE and Parks Victoria for lung damage or increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. Last time I looked, smoke contained some very nasty things that are bad for the environment and planet Earth.
Who will come to our rescue? Will it be the toothless tiger, Environmental Protection Agency, who issue us with Air quality warnings that blind Freddy could figure out for himself. Melton has a EPA monitoring station but it only monitors for Ozone, and not all the other contaminants listed in the air quality warnings. At least the rest of Victoria knows what’s going on in their area, which at the moment is VERY POOR air.
So not only are we burning brown coal to make over 90% of our electricity in our state, we are burning our forests as well, just in case we have a fire over summer. Seeing that we just had the hottest summer on record, and the least amount of rain since records have been kept, it is a wonder there is any fuel to burn off. Let just burn the entire planet and be done with it, DSE! I though this department was supposed to be helping. With friends like this, we don’t have much hope combating climate change, do we now!
Here is a link to some video footage about the issue. I tried to embed it, but failed (a bit like the DSE). Told you it was a rant, sorry.
I can see your problem but I live in a fire-prone area and I am always glad when they do a burnoff near me. We have been too close to bushfires a few times and, I tell you what, the last thing you think about is the greenhouse gas emissions then!! But now , in the cool light of a control burn we can consider the options.Reducing fuel load produces less emissions than waiting for the whole lot to go up in flames and burn for days or even weeks on end- destroying all the wildlife.Burnoffs are done slowly so that a lot of the animals can move around them. It is the lesser of two evils,I think Gavin.Basic problem is – TOO MANY PEOPLE and some of them, like us, living where maybe they should never have been allowed to.
I agree with Kate, as a rural firefighter, burning off has much less intensity then full scale bushfires allowing, animals and trees to recover. Fire-brakes are great but in a large scale fire the majority of the flames move through tree tops possibly kilometres from the ground fire. Some Australian natives even need fire to set seed. Be greatful the forestry department are interested in hazard control burning, in our area they are not so forward thinking, with the possiblility of risking many lives.
Ladies, having rethought my original comments, I agree that you both have valid points, and that a controlled burn off is a far, far better thing to do than a full blown bushfire. Thanks for taking the time to comment. After having done a little more research, I agree that the native flora does need fire to regenerate and to propagate, and that most animals can out run a slow burn off rather than a fast and out of control bushfire.
The main concern I had when writing the post, was the pollution aspect, and now after a week of smoky days and bad air quality (yes it is still going on), it gets on ones nerves and health a fair bit.