Tarilta resident Rob Simons sent The Conversation article to local fire managers asking they consider it before undertaking the upcoming Helge Track burn. The reply he got is remarkable, in that it completely ignores the argument of the article:
‘Thanks for sending the below link to the article.
‘While there are differing views on planned burning, fire is a natural part of Victoria’s environment.
‘Victorian government legislation requires the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to reduce the risk of damaging bushfires and to protect human life.
‘As described in the Forest Act 1958, The Chief Fire Officer, on behalf of the Secretary to DELWP, is required to carry out proper and sufficient work in State forests, national parks and on protected public land for the immediate prevention and suppression of fire and the planned prevention of fire.
‘Bushfire risk is linked to the distribution and accumulation of fuels if left untreated. DELWP, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and stakeholders have developed strategic bushfire management plans using science, simulation tools, and local knowledge to manage this risk. These plans inform bushfire risk reduction targets and locations in the landscape where planned burns are conducted. (Bushfire Management Strategies for each region can be found on the DELWP website)
‘Through the Loddon Mallee Region Strategic Bushfire Management Plan, the Helge Track planned burn unit has been identified as an important location for burning to be applied to reduce the impact of bushfire on the community.
‘To meet its statutory requirements, DELWP intends to complete this planned burn when weather and fuel conditions are suitable.
‘While DELWP planned burns do not totally eliminate the risk and potential impacts of bushfires, they are a key part of an integrated bushfire risk management strategy to protect life, property and the environment including community education and awareness, ensuring access for firefighters and equipment and fast response to bushfires.
‘I hope the information is of assistance.’
No, the information is not of assistance. Everything in it is already well known to anyone who’s taken an interest in fire management. Worse, the letter makes no effort to deal with the matters in the Conversation article.
For the purposes of this discussion, FOBIF is not interested in taking sides in the argument. Up to now we have concentrated on trying to ensure that DELWP does what it says it will: observe the controls in its protocols, keep fires cool, look after old growth trees.
But what we’d like to see is a genuine engagement of the fire managers with the other side of that argument. That argument has been carefully put together by reputable scientists on the basis of detailed research.
Doesn’t it deserve a consideration?
Sure does! Keep up the debate – and let’s open it up. And where does climate change fit.