Monday, February 23, 2009

Know where you are.

Are you located on a north facing, southfacing or easterly slope ? Near the ridge or near the valley?

In a fire risk situation YOU need to know.
Maybe noone can help you if you don't where you are ?
TOP PHOTO South and EAST facing slopes --depending on which stage of the day and the depth of valleys --more slow moving generally .
BOTTOM PHOTO Northerly and western facing incl ridge -- not even the leaves are left if the winds are up ( photo to come)
Note This info only applies to a typical Total fire ban day in Victoria Australia where early strong winds N-NW later W-SW .

Trees and Fire Protection

The early settlers noticed it - but do we ? " These native trees shed bark, not leaves --like the ones back in Europe" . What's clear from the biggest disaster in Australia's history is that many of our people do not understand the significance or danger from bark in particular. Does the Department responsible - DSE ? It's bark that creates the main danger from ember attack forward of the fires but DSE have one arm as well as Shires and CMA's encouraging its retention with regulations which restrict it and its associates removal. Take this roadway in the Yarra valley - the fuel load is huge; cars colliding on this crest hasn't moved the DSE to reasonability ; trimmings from the two dying trees is to this day left to provide homes for ants and no safe exit from people down these tracks .(possums have better places to live )

Take even the single native gum . Because of the constant fall and formation of fuel ,You simply can't expect to manage a fire near such trees when the wind is bad. Such trees should not be left near assets you want to protect. So why has DSE encouraged the retention of native trees to the point that people are not reminded that they must remove them if they are going to protect their assets .

People love trees - but not all trees should be treated the same . Lots of careless talk about trees - they are all different and create different risks. Some houses were protected by Western district cypress (WDC)during the western district fires in 1983 . This reality in the open country with one tyep of tree created a bit a false sense of security in form of camplacency about stay and defend - not appropriate near native mountain forest .
So its the type of tree that should be at issue, not trees in general. WDC is one tree which itself can burn easily , but its not directly lethal, as many of our native forests are .
Lack of the precision which we expect of professionals in planning is also evident in the dumb and belligerant NVR regulations which for decades now talk about, amongst many other elements of unreason ground fuel removal, when bark itself will fall on fire ban days and create the hazard straight after you have removed it. Dead tree removals too have been a "no touch" by DSE ; they fall over on such days; Have a look at all the dead twigs and leaves on native trees around - just waiting to fall on a TFB day .

Trying to manage a total ecolot with regulations about all the seperate parts of the ecolot is madness. Reasonablity has been replaced with regulation.Conservationists beware - not respecting true diversity in design will destroy our gains in conservation credibility