An ounce of prevention: Australia and California could benefit from forest management

antitox

Well-Known Member
https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/477791-an-ounce-of-prevention-australia-and-california-could-benefit-from

The fires raging in Australia present a sadly recognizable scenario, a new normal that, after two years of devastating wildfires in California, we in the United States have become all too familiar with. Policies intended to return forests to a more “natural” state with less proactive human management have created disastrous conditions that allow fires to burn hotter, longer and leave more destruction in their wake.

In Australia, the bushfires have burned at least 15.6 million acres and taken the lives of 24 people. Climate change, of course, has become the default explanation for why we have seen such dramatically destructive fires in recent years. Forest management practices, however, though often overlooked, may hold the key to preventing such destruction going forward.

In recent years, there has been intense opposition in Australia to prescribed burning by critics who fear it does little to prevent bushfires and has a negative impact on biodiversity. However, as bushfire research scientist Neil Burrows notes, “[Australia’s] been prescribed burning for 60 years and on analyzing the data we see a very strong trend between the prescribed burning we do and how much bushfire there is.” Simply put, “the more prescribed burning we do, the less bushfires we have.”

Controlled burns, once routinely used by farmers to reduce fuel around their properties, can now result in fines exceeding $500 per tree removed. Indeed, Liam Sheahan, a resident of Strath Creek in central Victoria, was fined $50,000 for clearing trees and shrubs around the perimeter of his home. He spent an additional $50,000 on legal fees defending his decision. After the Black Saturday bushfires devastated his community, Sheahan’s decision was vindicated as his home was the only one to remain standing.

Even the government’s land managers themselves are performing fewer controlled burns. According to Brian Williams, captain of Kurrajong Heights fire brigade, Australia has been burning less than 1 percent of its bushfire-prone land for the past 20 years. Similarly, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services reported that out of 812 hazard-reduction burns that have been planned since 2016, only 439 have been completed.

While a lack of prescribed burning has largely undercut Australia’s ability to prevent wildfires, here in the United States, California’s main issue has been a lack of preventative forest management. After two years of catastrophic wildfire, forest managers have finally acknowledged that thinning forests, removing underbrush and administering controlled burns are essential to maintaining not only a healthy forest, but a landscape that is safe for humans. California and the federal government alike have faced challenges trying to manage forests on public lands and are starting to embrace private solutions.

One such private solution is the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB) developed by Blue Forest Conservation and the World Resources Institute. FRB is a financial tool used to raise private capital from investors to fund much-needed forest restoration work. Its pilot project is under way in California’s Tahoe National Forest, with private investors covering the upfront costs. These investors will be paid back over time by stakeholders who benefit from avoiding catastrophic wildfires, such as the Yuba Water Agency and the State of California.

A catastrophe of the scale we are witnessing in Australia should make the global community pause. Simply pointing the finger at climate change will not prevent devastation during the next wildfire season. We owe it to our public lands and our communities to reconsider our land-management policies and acknowledge that improved forest management is essential in maintaining healthy forests and creating a safe wildland-urban interface. The Forest Resilience Bond serves as an example of a market-based approach to keeping our forests healthy and our communities safe.
 

athenasius

Well-Known Member
Here in BC it's the same situation. The stupid factor in the no thought required environmental movement don't understand the consequences of their activism.

One of the PRIME causes of the 2 back to back province wide fire situations here in BC was from the environmental lobby stopping clear cuts (which function as fire breaks, allow food in the form of grasses and small shrubs and allow migration of wildlife) and stopping preventative burns to use up the fuel that builds up on the forest floor.

Because of that kind of thinking, we were unable to do large burns or clear cuts on Pine beetle and Spruce Budworm infected trees. That resulted in a much wider spread of those pests than would have happened with natural or prescribed burns or clearcuts. As a result the pests destroyed a lot of trees resulting in dead and dying trees inside a lot of forest floor fuel.

The summers of 2017 and 2018 saw large swathes of our province in flames from July to early September, with a lot of smaller communities and some interior cities being evacuated. Alberta saw similar destruction around Fort McMurray and other cities.

In the middle of it all, as people were losing their homes, nobody wanted to point out that many of the "interface" fires that destroyed homes were partly because people were allowing dry coniferous trees NEAR THEIR HOMES without a good firebreak.

Even now, after a summer without serious fires, nobody is paying much attention. Our city of Kamloops has enacted a sensible set of laws to allow the prescribed burns and forces people to clear underbrush near homes but other cities like Prince George, Burns Lake, and William's Lake haven't.

It's a disaster in the making still.

I'm so sorry to see Australia and California in the news for the fires. I get mad at the activists who helped create these firestorms but then I remember that many of them are badly educated children who were never taught the truth by parents or teachers. They aren't equipped mentally to make the giant leap from blaming global warming due to carbon to plain old stupidity from the environmental movement making things worse.
 

Spartan Sprinter 1

Well-Known Member
Here in BC it's the same situation. The stupid factor in the no thought required environmental movement don't understand the consequences of their activism.

One of the PRIME causes of the 2 back to back province wide fire situations here in BC was from the environmental lobby stopping clear cuts (which function as fire breaks, allow food in the form of grasses and small shrubs and allow migration of wildlife) and stopping preventative burns to use up the fuel that builds up on the forest floor.

Because of that kind of thinking, we were unable to do large burns or clear cuts on Pine beetle and Spruce Budworm infected trees. That resulted in a much wider spread of those pests than would have happened with natural or prescribed burns or clearcuts. As a result the pests destroyed a lot of trees resulting in dead and dying trees inside a lot of forest floor fuel.

The summers of 2017 and 2018 saw large swathes of our province in flames from July to early September, with a lot of smaller communities and some interior cities being evacuated. Alberta saw similar destruction around Fort McMurray and other cities.

In the middle of it all, as people were losing their homes, nobody wanted to point out that many of the "interface" fires that destroyed homes were partly because people were allowing dry coniferous trees NEAR THEIR HOMES without a good firebreak.

Even now, after a summer without serious fires, nobody is paying much attention. Our city of Kamloops has enacted a sensible set of laws to allow the prescribed burns and forces people to clear underbrush near homes but other cities like Prince George, Burns Lake, and William's Lake haven't.

It's a disaster in the making still.

I'm so sorry to see Australia and California in the news for the fires. I get mad at the activists who helped create these firestorms but then I remember that many of them are badly educated children who were never taught the truth by parents or teachers. They aren't equipped mentally to make the giant leap from blaming global warming due to carbon to plain old stupidity from the environmental movement making things worse.
Yeah i call these peoplle rent a crowd , just rock up without any knowledge on the subject they are protesting against and just cause anarchy for the sake of it
 

Footsteps

Well-Known Member
It only rubs salt in the wound to:
1. Wonder how much better educated woke millennials will be if their parents bribed their college admissions boards.
2. Wonder when Islamists will be stopped from entering Australia now that many have been rounded up on suspicion of arson.
3. Wonder when Harry will volunteer his helicopter expertise in rescue operations in Australia, and Meghan, loyal wife and philanthropic environmentalist, will join him in wildlife rescues.
 

Endangered

Well-Known Member
When I visit my daughter I drive through the Ocala National Forest. Florida practises controlled burns and have plowed fire breaks everywhere. There are fire towers and access roads thru the forest.
I guess it is practical fire prevention techniques that the environmental wackos object to.
So forest fires are desirable and fire prevention is not desireable.
This is as yet another example of political correctness and it's damaging effects on our society.
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Here in BC it's the same situation. The stupid factor in the no thought required environmental movement don't understand the consequences of their activism.

One of the PRIME causes of the 2 back to back province wide fire situations here in BC was from the environmental lobby stopping clear cuts (which function as fire breaks, allow food in the form of grasses and small shrubs and allow migration of wildlife) and stopping preventative burns to use up the fuel that builds up on the forest floor.

Because of that kind of thinking, we were unable to do large burns or clear cuts on Pine beetle and Spruce Budworm infected trees. That resulted in a much wider spread of those pests than would have happened with natural or prescribed burns or clearcuts. As a result the pests destroyed a lot of trees resulting in dead and dying trees inside a lot of forest floor fuel.

The summers of 2017 and 2018 saw large swathes of our province in flames from July to early September, with a lot of smaller communities and some interior cities being evacuated. Alberta saw similar destruction around Fort McMurray and other cities.

In the middle of it all, as people were losing their homes, nobody wanted to point out that many of the "interface" fires that destroyed homes were partly because people were allowing dry coniferous trees NEAR THEIR HOMES without a good firebreak.

Even now, after a summer without serious fires, nobody is paying much attention. Our city of Kamloops has enacted a sensible set of laws to allow the prescribed burns and forces people to clear underbrush near homes but other cities like Prince George, Burns Lake, and William's Lake haven't.

It's a disaster in the making still.

I'm so sorry to see Australia and California in the news for the fires. I get mad at the activists who helped create these firestorms but then I remember that many of them are badly educated children who were never taught the truth by parents or teachers. They aren't equipped mentally to make the giant leap from blaming global warming due to carbon to plain old stupidity from the environmental movement making things worse.
Excellent post, Marg. And I especially love your last paragraph! That's exactly the problem today.
 
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