While holidaying in the Megalong on the weekend of 10-11 May 2014 for my 50th, in the late morning of the 10th my wife alerted me to a large bushfire smoke cloud billowing in the Blue Mountains to our east.
Cripes! was my first thought when I looked east seeing smoke plumes billowing beyond the western escarpment in the direction of our upper Blue Mountains family home. I got out my topographic Katoomba map and my Silva compass (being a weekend bushwalker) and aligned the bushfire smoke plume to my map . The billowing smoke was scarily in line with a bearing to the upper Blue Mountains where our house was. Distance was the uncertainty.
So I immediately rang friends to check. They said the smoke was south of Woodford. It was fortunately far away from our house. But how could such a large bushfire start on a still, cold autumn day? My mind clicked – Hazard Reduction!
I recall seeing NPWS bushfire labelled vehicles parked in Katoomba the previous week. I hadn’t seen these specialised vehicles before, so this must be a NSW Government capital investment in ongoing National Park arson. Is it to sadistically drive wildlife extinctions? There has been no public announcement of such, so the sadistic strategy must be pre-conceived and signed off.
So on return to home, our house was fine and no-one was the wiser about any bushfire. The bush arson had been deliberately and “strategically” lit farther east and deep south into the Blue Mountains National Park, many kilometres from housing. The bushfire was lit by the entrusted custodians of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area: NPWS. They call it ecological burning so suggest that burning vegetation habitat is good for it.
Down along the Great Western Highway the scorched canopy blanket become obvious south of Lawson. Unravel the map and the southern ridge is Williams Ridge from Kings Tableland east to Mount Bedford. The access is Ingar Fire Trail. This was the access route for the government bush arsonists. The gate is locked to hide the slaughter.
.Ingar Fire Trail with locked gate on Kings Tableland, Wentworth Falls Photo by Editor 20140516, click image to enlarge. © under ^Creative Commons]
Is this the new sadistic/fatalist management of National Parks and Wildlife Service? Incinerate forest habitat in Blue Mountains World in case in burns? Spend millions in exploitative tourism cost recovery? As for wildlife, what wildlife. Is this NPWS new sadistic motto for the Blue Mountains World Heritage, following the demise and exploitaton of of the Barrier Reef and Kakadu?
.Ingar Fire Trail with close up of locked gate on Kings Tableland, Wentworth Falls Photo by Editor 20140516, click image to enlarge. © under ^Creative Commons]
Burns to humans do recover in time despite the short term pain. Humans do recover from trauma in time. If trauma goes unpublished, few in the community know about what happened anyway. So it is morally acceptable then to inflict burn trauma upon ecological communities because no-one knows the wiser? Yet week after week, ecological massacre repeats like the Australian Frontier Wars. Read More: ^Aboriginal Massacres,^Australian Frontier Wars.
All the government website media release 8 May 2014 can say is a dismissive massacre as usual:.
“Smoky weekend for the Blue Mountains as 5,500 hectares of hazard reduction burning gets underway”
.[Source: “Smoky weekend for the Blue Mountains as 5,500 hectares of hazard reduction burning gets underway”, official government media release by Susie Summers, NPWS (Environment Department so-called), 20140508, ^http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/OEHMedia14050801.htm]
<<NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) plans to take advantage of a window of favourable weather to get two major hazard reduction (HR) burns completed in the Blue Mountains this weekend. Following a wet start to the season, it has been very difficult to complete burning operations, NPWS Regional Manager Alan Henderson said.
Weather permitting the following HRs will go ahead: • Friday, 9 May – 3,000 hectare Little Crater burn, south of Glenbrook and west of the Warragamba Dam; • Saturday, 10 May – 2,500 hectare Mt Bedford burn, 3km south east of Wentworth Falls, Bullaburra and 2km south of Lawson, Hazelbrook and Woodford.
“For the safety of crews and neighbours, and to the ensure these burns are effective, they can only be undertaken when the weather is right – it cannot be too wet, cold or windy – making scheduling them very tricky,” Mr Henderson said. “The proposed burn area for the Little Crater burn is remote and bounded by the Warragamba and Nepean River to the east, Erskine Creek to the north, Big Crater Creek to the west and Erskine Range (W5 management trail) to the south.
“It will protect private property to the east of Warragamba River by reducing fuel loads to minimize the risk of wildfire spreading from Blue Mountains National Park into Warragamba and Silverdale townships.
“This is a joint operation with the Rural Fire Service (RFS) which will also help to protect Sydney Catchment Authority assets to the south east of the burn including the Warragamba dam wall and its associated structures. “There is the potential for smoke from this burn to drift towards the western and southwestern suburbs of Sydney. “Meanwhile, the 2,500 hectare Mt Bedford HR is planned to begin on Saturday (May 10) and will also be conducted in partnership with RFS. “In the interests of visitor safety, Ingar Road, Andersons Trail and Bedford Creek trail will be closed for the duration of the burn, which is designed to limit the potential for wildfire to spread west to east and impact on life and property throughout the Blue Mountains.
“Smoke will be visible between Katoomba and Springwood and smoke drift may impact the Great Western Highway, the Oaks Fire Trail and lower mountains townships. Both operations and associated closures are likely to continue for a number of days. Updates regarding National Park closures may be found on the national parks website:http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/safety/fires-and-park-closures “People with asthma or those susceptible to respiratory problems are also advised to keep clear of the immediate area or stay indoors.” You can subscribe to air quality alerts from the Office of Environment and Heritage here ^http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/aqialerts.htm .
‘The NPWS has undertaken 895 hazard reduction activities covering 70,000 hectares in total,
including 160 hazard reduction burn operations for 2013-14.’
In 2012-13 the NPWS achieved a record 208,000 hectares in 1300 separate fuel reduction activities. This was 83% of the total hazard reduction effort for NSW, demonstrating a clear commitment by NPWS to manage fire in accordance with its Living with Fire 2012-21 strategy. [They must be proud custodians of World Heritage.]
Under the Enhanced Bushfire Management Program (Strategic Broadacre Incineration), NPWS will pursue its plan to treat an average of over 135,000 hectares per year in 800 or more planned hazard reduction activities. Achieving this will be highly dependent on the suitability of weather conditions given the narrow window of opportunity that exists in NSW for burning safely and effectively.>> .
[ ‘If wildlife isn’t exterminated and made locally extinct, then we have failed our purpose.’ ]
Eco Hazard Reduction now means starting a bushfire so hot and fierce that the entire tree crown is incinerated so that nothing can live and so that it causes a smoke plume that puts the pollution effort of industrial Sydney and its traffic to shame.
.Prevent Prepare Protect what?
Incinerate disappearing World Heritage habitat so that timber bush properties approved for build in dumb indefensive slopes can have hope in bushfire hell? Or to hell with it, just burn the lot, like the old Blue Mountains bush firie adage: “Hazard reduce Katoomba to save Leura.” Sounds like what Queensland is doing to the Great Barrier Reef.
What wildlife? What habitat? What World Heritage? .
.Prevent Prepare Protect what? When a wildfire starts, they have no idea anyway.