issue 253 timber & forestry e news

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Weekly news for the Timber and Forestry Market

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  • Advertising: Tel +61 7 3266 1429 Email: cancon@bigpond.net.au 1issuE 253 | 21.01.13 | PAgE

    Advertising: Tel +61 7 3266 1429 Email: cancon@bigpond.net.au

    6944

    issuE 253 | 21.01.13 | PAgE 1

    Cont Page 2

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    Vegetation build-up fuels fires in national parks

    Green idiocy burns fiercelyBy JiM BOWDENNATIONAL parks and reserves not managed state forests have taken the full force of this summers bushfires which are still raging in three states, again hammering the case for fuel reduction burns.Fires in New South Wales burned out 40,000 ha in the Warrumbungle National Park in the northwest and destroyed 33 homes the states worst

    fire in more than a decade.Thousands of residents and tourists are stranded across parts of Tasmania after bushfires destroyed more than 100 properties and cut off communities.The town of Dunalley, east of Hobart, was worst hit; 65 properties as well as the local school were destroyed. Tasmanian Fire Services chief Mike Brown says the

    devastation is tragic to see. We estimate 30 or 40% of properties in Dunalley have been lost in the fire, he said.Ike Kelly owns the local sawmill which was destroyed in the blaze. Its destroyed $4 or $5 million worth of business. Fifty years of my life has gone, he said.Professional foresters have

    Review ofcatastrophyin 4 states

    Bushfires:ignoranceor politics?

  • Advertising: Tel +61 7 3266 1429 Email: cancon@bigpond.net.au PAgE | issuE 253 | 21.01.132

    ON THE FiRE FRONT

    ForestWorks performsa range of industry

    wide functions acting as the channel

    between industry, Government and the Australian Vocational

    Education and Training (VET) system

    VICTORIAPO Box 612, North Melbourne 3051Tel: (03) 9321 3500Email: forestworks@forestworks.com.au

    NEW SOUTH WALESPO Box 486, Parramatta 2124Tel: (02) 8898 6990Email: smukherjee@forestworks.com.au

    TASMANIAPO Box 2146, Launceston 7250Tel: (03) 6331 6077Email: edown@forestworks.com.au

    SOUTH AUSTRALIALevel 2, 32 South Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000Tel: (08) 8219 9028Email: michelle@forestworks.com.au

    LearningSkills

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    Plantations safeas bushfires rageacross reserves

    Vigilance .. NSW foresters keep plantation assets safe.

    PLANTATION assets in NSW are still intact as bushfires rage through national parks and reserves testing 800 firefighters trying to contain 146 blazes across the state.So far the fires have scorched more than 500,000 ha of bush and grassland the equivalent of the entire greater Sydney basin.Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said wind shifts at the worst possible time had created perfect storm conditions for a fire that burnt with a ferocity not seen in years.There was just absolutely no stopping that fire, he said.Forestry Corporation acting chief Dr Ross Dickson said only a couple of hectares of state forest were lost a result of spasmodic lightning strikes and power line shortages.But all the softwood plantations around Tumut, Bathurst and Bombala are safe, he said.Dr Dickson praised sound management practices and the vigilance of foresters.Most plantations appear to be free of any threatening fires surrounding them. Big fires at Yass and Tarcutta posed problems but these have been contained.The corporation is currently harvesting more than 2.5 million cub m of logs and over 2 million tonnes of pulpwood annually.

    Dr Dickson said fires crossing the state border from Victoria into Bombala in the NSW southeast were being closely watched and firefighters defending a long-running blaze at Cooma were now contributing resources.Forests at Bathurst and other western regions were in good shape despite a running fire that threatened cypress stands.In the states north, a scatter of lightning strikes started small fires in plantations but these were also contained.However, an approaching cold front and weather change that could bring winds and more lighting strikes would have to be watched to prevent any further running of fires.Dr Dickson said tremendous credit was due to members of rural fire services who recognised the value of private forests as state assets.Shane Fitzsimmons (Rural Fire Services commissioner) and his team have done a great job, he said.The RFS has declared a state-wide total fire ban.

    Wind shifts created perfect storm

    conditions for a fire that burnt with a ferocity not seen

    in years

    Vigilance by foresters praised

  • Advertising: Tel +61 7 3266 1429 Email: cancon@bigpond.net.au 3issuE 253 | 21.01.13 | PAgE

    attacked opponents of controlled forest burns; they are oblivious to science, they say.This summers rolling fires through fuel-packed reserves is another smack in the eye to the philosophies of the idiotic Greens and their opportunistic partners from the ALP, says respected forester Dick Pegg who was fire protection officer with Queensland forestry from 1970 to 1976.Theres no point in learning a lesson on bushfires when the same is learnt every few years with no practical mitigation measures put in place because the medicine is refused by the patient, Mr Pegg said.If the population has little or no understanding of fire behaviour and the need for fuel reduction and continues to support the Greens with their idiotic and irresponsible policies, then we will continue to see these disasters repeated over and over again.Along with this mix of ignorance and politics, it seems there are in most states unclear lines of definition between urban and rural fire services with the trend for the urban arm (with a propensity for suppression equipment rather than fuel mitigation programs) to take over the rural task, further exacerbating the situation.With all these factors in play, there is, unfortunately, a certainty for future bushfire disasters.If I pulled my hair out any more I wouldnt have any, laments Phil Cheney, Australias foremost expert on bushfire behaviour, now retired from the CSIRO.It drives me to total frustration (that) governments are reluctant to spend money on

    preventative measures. They are great on helicopters flying around because it looks good. But theyre better off having a bit of smoke in the sky in autumn.Mr Cheney says to manage fire you need a scientifically prescribed regimen of strategic light burns in cooler months.That will reduce fuel loads which in turn reduces the power and intensity of bushfires.Mr Cheneys submission to the Victorian bushfires royal commission advocated strategic burning of 10% of public land annually. The commission recommended an annual rolling target of 5% minimum of public land better than nothing.Observing the Tasmanian fires, noted columnist Miranda Devine got to the heart of the matter: Tasmania is a petri dish, demonstrating the consequences of green ideology run rampant. No jobs, the forestry industry on its knees, and bushfires feasting on fuel built up over two mild fire seasons.

    Yet, instead of facing up to their errors, the Greens conveniently blame climate change. They pretend imposing a carbon tax or destroying the coal industry will prevent bushfires, while reducing the actual fuel which powers the flames is futile.Despite the lessons which should have been learned in Victoria in 2009, the fuel in Tasmanias forests has been allowed to build up because of Green opposition to fuel reduction burns, which they call outdated, old school and

    a horrible blight.The states largest landholder, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, last year planned 36 fuel-reduction burns on 10,000 ha, according to the Department of Primary industries 2011-12 annual report. That would have been less than 4% of the 2.6 million hectares it manages.But it only managed to conduct 27 burns on 1927ha less than 20% of its target. In other words, prescribed burns were conducted on less than 1% of land managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service.Ironically, as timber families are forced out of work in Tasmania, their bulldozers and excavators, which are so crucial to building firebreaks to contain and control bushfire, are being repossessed or sold and Forestry Tasmania has none of its own.You can fly around all you like in these helicopters, which lay a drop (of water) and go away, asserts Phil Cheney. But after a point, a bulldozer is about the only effective way to contain fires.Meanwhile, incredibly, the Greens are calling for money tied to Tasmanias forest peace deal to be spent on more fuel reduction burns in bushfire-prone areas.Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson believes a recent burn on the east coast protected the Freycinet peninsula when a bushfire swept through Courland Bay near Bicheno two weeks ago, destroying five houses and several shacks.The Greens oppose regeneration burns carried out by the forest industry, but Senator Whish-Wilson says the Parks and Wildlife Service is under-resourced and federal

    Cont Page 6

    Pushing through ... a bulldozer is about the only effective way to contain fires.

    ON THE FiRE FRONT

    From Page 1

    governments reluctant to spendmoney on preventative measures

    Along with t