Don’t you just love that little comment from our wonderfully …

Comment on Fire in the desert: a formidable threat and a tool by Steve Brown.

Don’t you just love that little comment from our wonderfully competent friends in Territory Parks! So if an Aboriginal person stands alongside you when you drop the match to light a fire does it burn differently than if you do it yourself? Would you agree that an attitude of accepting that it does could be regarded as patronizing paternalism or in fact just plain racism used to justify an unjustifiable position?
So to prevent the possible event of some supposed impossibly hot fire you are prepared to burn again and again and again which in a period of twenty years may mean you’ve burnt dozens of times to prevent a possible fire that may never have occurred naturally in that time?
Just this week you been hooraying the wonderful find of our local possum species the same ones that your cold burn policy wiped from existence on Simpsons Gap some years ago probably explains your relief at the new find. Nice to know that a cold burn wasn’t responsible for the extermination of the last of the species, then again got any cold burns coming up soon at Ormiston?
The fact is your policy of cold burning has been an environmental disaster of which your department should be utterly ashamed! Time to take a fresh approach. Use fire to prevent fire around vital infrastructure. Forget the Victorian bush fires. Concentrate on your own region where the management issues are completely different. You are not burning off to prevent fire damage to nearby infrastructure as in Victoria. You are burning off because some academic heard somewhere that that is what traditional owners used to do. It is simply not true!
If they had they would have starved to death in half a generation! Stop the blatant vandalism of our parks by blow-in racist academics.

Steve Brown Also Commented

Fire in the desert: a formidable threat and a tool
The introduction of improved pasture species into our regions has been a great blessing for pastoralists, improving our soil’s fertility and producing vast amounts more fodder from every rainfall event. Naturally the greater productivity also brings with it greater fire risk. Risk that must be managed. The very small available population to take on that greater management role must raise questions about overall land use and structure in Central Australia. Government should be giving serious consideration to allowing pastoralists whose properties can demonstrate marked pasture improvement by species such as buffel to subdivide into smaller more manageable lots, this way also lifting the population of available personnel to deal with major fire events and other land management issues.
There is however one fundamental issue that must be addressed by our various land management agencies in order to make way for a more sustainable management of our landscape. That is to change the fundamental misconception rife within land management agencies that country needs to burn, “that it is OK to burn”!
It is not OK! It does not need to burn,ever! The attitude derives from a paternal belief about Aboriginal fire stick farming, that in some way it is good for the country. This is a totally false premise. Burning, especially repetitive burning does enormous damage to our soils, our landscape and our wildlife. Despite popular belief country struggles to come back from major fire events and can quite literally take decades to return to its former productivity. That is why it must become the watchword, the all pervading philosophy of all involved agencies to stop, to prevent fires at all costs!
Can you imagine taking your car and pranging it into a wall in an effort to prevent the greater damage caused by a head-on prang or pushing the front row of glasses off the shelf before they could fall by themselves? Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Yet we take that same idiotic approach to fire risk management. We know there is a good possibility of fire in the season ahead so we start the fire before they can start themselves, supposedly cold, fuel [not feed] reducing fires.
Looking back at past seasons, what has been the result of this practice? We’ve burnt the grass in case it burnt, supposedly a cold burn that did less damage but was that really the case? What have we actually saved? The grass is gone, any unsound tree goes, fire hot or cold, we’ve ended up with no pasture, less trees, much less wildlife and returned our pastoralists to drought conditions unless there is a rainfall event, so what exactly did we save???
These burn offs and allowing the fires to run, which is common practice, these deliberately lit, so called cold fires have been the birthplace of nearly every large destructive fire in recent times, especially those originating in national parks. Because of the ingrained attitude of, “it’s better to let it burn now, in case it burns latter”, vast swathes of the countryside have been allowed to burn.
Nowhere is this practice more evident than just to the west of Alice. The once pastoral lease of Simpsons Gap now under the management of Territory Parks who in their bumbling efforts to manage very successful pasture growth saddled by patronising paternal beliefs about firestick farming have set out to cold burn the park on every occasion there has been a bit of dry grass in sight. On nearly every occasion they have lost control of their burn and instead of burning small parcels have burned nearly the entire park and its surrounds, creating an ecological disaster, wiping out colonies of rare wildlife, threatening their own and the town’s infrastructure.
So what did they achieve with the burn? What did they prevent?
I hope those reading this will gain some understanding of the fundamental stupidity of our present approach to fire management and take a long hard look at how we go about it. Yes fire has to be used to prevent and contain fire but the emphasis must be on the word prevent!! It is simply not OK to burn!!
Fire management must concentrate its energies on the establishment of graded fire breaks at considerable greater frequency. Emphasis must be put on fire intelligence and rapid response with an all out goal of extinguishment of any fire event as rapidly as possible. Much greater emphasis particularly in national parks needs to be given to grazing – eat the dam stuff, it’s food! The grazing of cattle and national parks are not mutually exclusive nor is the survival of wildlife, understand that country, industry, people and wildlife are immensely damaged by fire, minimise its presence on our landscape! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to burn the house – can’t live with the risk of it catching fire any longer.

ED – The Alice Springs News Online will offer right of reply to Parks and Wildlife about the burns at Simpsons Gap.

ED – A spokesperson for Parks and Wildlife provided the following response:

The Parks and Wildlife Service has demonstrated sound management practices undertaking prescribed burns on park estate with Traditional Owners for over 30 years. It has been proven through numerous reviews and studies (including the recent Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission’s response) that country will eventually burn and burn more extensively and hotter if just left until the occurrence of lightning strike fires or “accidental” ignition, especially in extensive fuel load situations that prevail following extended periods of above average rainfall, whether grazed or un-grazed.


Recent Comments by Steve Brown

There’s more to renewables than sunshine
Until now every drop of water that was ever on the earth has remained on the earth.
Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony if quasi religious climate fanatics were eventually responsible for using up that water, turning it into hydrogen?
It would be even more ironical that we should consider that in one of the driest places on earth, where water is absolutely in its most valuable state as water.
We should all understand that there is no such thing as free energy. There is always a price and generally speaking it would be a pretty bloody smart idea to understand that price, monetary or otherwise, before we go racing off creating even more mammoth environmental issues for future generations.
For the present there are so many ifs around the Hydrogen idea that – dare I say it – it’s simply a pipe dream!
Also noted the quick duck for cover by Mr Duignan when the question about feed-in prices for home solar generators was raised.
Whose issue would that be then Mr Duignan? Wouldn’t that be the Territory Government and given that Territory Generation is in fact a quasi public service operation owned lock stock and barrel by Territory taxpayers, maybe a more responsible answer would be in keeping with that role.


Community solar: the devil is in the wires
Yes, and then there’s all the community facilities of which we are all joint owners! Places such schools, hospitals, police stations, street lighting, ecetera, the list is endless.
All of these facilities require power 24/7 as does welfare housing, hotels and motels, all connected to the rest of the grid.
Consumers on the remaining grid would, as they do now, have to pay their share of those costs, plus, the share of those in the community system.
This is already occurring of course, on a smaller scale, and the costs to the poor old hapless consumer who can’t afford to instal solar, are already escalating.
The only fair way to rectify this imbalance, which of course nobody wants to hear about, all studiously avoiding the subject, is for owners of solar systems to pay their share of those costs!
Another words, pay not only for their use of the grid, but for the existence of the grid.
Yes, even if they are operating a stand alone system.
This of course effects the whole viability of installing solar, dragging its payback time out by quite a bit.
However, if we are to honestly asses the true worth of solar to the community, then these costs really must be taken into account.
It’s time the rose coloured glasses came off, frank and honest assessments are made.
Governments parading solar as world changing advancement are often actually subsidising its installation while blithely ignoring the true and growing cost to community. Just face up to, and come up with, some fair and equable answers!
Now we seem to be adding lithium iron batteries to the mix, as if they are some kind of nice environmentally friendly answer to our storage problems, when to my eye, precisely the opposite is true.
I am an enthusiastic supporter of the idea of renewable power but it must be truly honestly viable, covering all the costs, and it absolutely must create less pollution than our present systems of generation or we are all fooling ourselves.


Ratepayer, do you want your money back?
Such an astoundingly naive proposal could only ever have originated with one Councillor Melky. As always grandstanding without the slightest thought given to the actual consequences of such a profoundly counter productive decision. Which if carried out to the letter would see a good deal of the windfall funds blown in the name of community consultation. Any attempt to refund it would incur even greater costs reducing any refund to a piddling amount producing no worthwhile outcome for the community, especially when you consider Council has on its books many unfunded, or even worse partially funded, or non completed projects that could have, and indeed should have, been funded partially or otherwise from these funds! Benefiting the Community and its economy as a whole.
More importantly, not wasting a huge amount of Council’s time and productivity messing about with a messy, unproductive, time wasting and resultantly expensive, refund. Further to that should Council do the sensible thing and allocate the funds to other projects, it will also provide Councillors with a very good argument against further rate rises next year.
Something I am quite certain, all Rate payers would be relieved to hear.
New councillors need to be across and take responsibility for their role as Body Corporate style managers of their Community’s assets and not to be so easily be duped into making what may seem on the face of it to be responsible decisions but which are in fact cheap political attention seeking ploys with no regard for what may well turn out to be far reaching consequence…
Take time to think it all the way through…
Before you act!


Bottle shop cops ‘security guards, paid for by the taxpayer’
From the moment the POSIs were implemented they have proved themselves to be the single most effective crime prevention measure the Territory has ever seen.
Now I don’t know about you Paul McCue but I would much rather have my family home and business all kept in one piece as opposed to paying out my hard earned to employ a police person who gets greater job satisfaction from aftermath policing!
A person who apparently has so little empathy for the public’s plight that they would actually ask for our support in that role but not in the preventative role!
Call it self interest if you like Mr McCue, but I like many other Territorians, through the voices of our politicians, are going to keep on insisting on the POSIs wherever they are needed.
If we have a police staffing issue employ more police – just as we have been promised on many occasions over the past dozen years.
Fill all of the roles the community requires, not just the roles that suite you!


Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
@ Hal: My reference is to Russell’s dad escaping the Germans and arriving in Australia.
Given that he escaped Germany during WW2, if he then set out for Australia he would have arrived during Australia’s greatest hour of peril, facing an imminent Japanese invasion.
Out of the frying pan almost into the fire, bar for the intervention of the USA.


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