Yes, well its clearly evident the fire management strategies as …

Comment on West MacDonnells blaze: sorrow and questions by Steve Brown.

Yes, well its clearly evident the fire management strategies as set out have been thrown all to hell and completely ignored for a considerable period of time.
As a result the damage done to the Western Macs, particularly the eastern end, is immeasurable, horrific, particularly when you take into account present weather outlook.
Whatever wildlife is left will probably starve. This may well be an extinction event for some species, as the ranges are very much the last refuge for some.
Just a few short years of park mismanagement have done more damage than 200 years of heavy stocking even overstocking could.
It’s time for an open public inquiry into the land use and management of this area, which is of strategic importance to the future of our environment, our tourism sector and our pastoralists on the extremities.
Tourism in the Centralian region was founded not on Ayers Rock as many might imagine, but on the Western Macs! They are of the utmost importance to our future!
We cannot let this moment pass without questioning all that has taken place.
I like others share a deep sense of sadness and loss at this devastation, trees and habitat that were literally hundreds of years old in the most precious of places have gone!
It will take centuries without devastating fire in these places to replace them! That is how immense the loss is!
So let’s not waste our time on apologies and excuses, let’s get to the bottom of this thing, let’s have a long hard look at the value of advice and management practices that led us to this place, then figure out a better way of doing things from this time on.

Recent Comments by Steve Brown

West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist
@ Alex Hope: So Alex do you think Parks is achieving its purpose now! Is the buffel eradicated? Is the flora and fauna in a better state than when it was a pastoral lease?
Is the park in a condition that we can show it to the world in order to attract the tourists who fund our economy? Have we protected near extinct species?
To just what level of destruction to you propose we go in chasing what some see as a weed and what others know is actually a highly beneficial grass?
At what stage do you stop this battle against grass and look behind you to see the horrific damage that has been done?
By the time the mentality which you espouse is through, if left to run unchecked, there will only be vast fields of buffel grass left all our native animals, trees, shrubs and grasses will be gone, driven into the ground through the actions of irresponsible idiots.
Sensible licensed grazing by shepherded animals is a practical tool that will not only protect the park to a much greater degree from fire but can also add to the park’s attractiveness for visitors, locals running mobile Dude ranch activities and the like.
Parks are for people Alex, not for the sole use of left wing ideologues hell bent on proving some political point at any expense!
As for Illparpa Rd … you are kidding aren’t you? To keep buffel out of that tiny area quite literally thousands of litres of highly toxic now thought to be carcinogenic sprays has and is being used on a continual basis!
So just how much chemical and how much man power would we need for the park, do you think?

Park fire protection: new management plan doesn’t spell it out
The worst thing about these kinds of documents and plans is that in a world of cut and paste they go on and on often returning to the original. No learning. No advancement.
At least one and probably both of the major fire instances to which the document refers were started by prescribed burning!.
I suspect this latest fire or at least its continuation is also very much down to prescribed burning practices! The Lesson: Prescribed burning puts our parks at much greater risk of wildfire”! And if those traditional owners could only see what their words have led to in practice, they would be utterly horrified!
Time for an inquiry and a whole new plan, along with an extinction event for the original.

West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist
@ Alex Hope: My very point. It only does harm when you burn it! Not quite sure what’s so hard to understand. It’s simple: You must not burn buffel except when absolutely necessary – back burning, for example.
Patch burning does every-bit as much harm as a major fire and because its mandated in park management it does more harm because its repeated so often, accumulating damage upon existing damage until there is complete loss of anything but buffel.
Further, because of the fire happy culture that’s grown up around this practice, we are seeing a more and more reckless use of the method where we see fire actually being extended, run on, instead of being put out!
Even on days declared as catastrophic risk! In complete contravention of the Act!
The damage being inflicted in the idiotic hell bent fervour to eradicate Buffel is both horrific and completely self defeating.
Because burning suits the buffel and not our native plants.
Despite popular fiction our native plants do not recover well from fire!
With our variable rainfall it can take many years. When you destroy trees hundreds of years old, it takes hundreds of years to replace them!
So after yet another fire disaster, it might just be about time to stop and think a little deeper don’t you think.
The safest way, the least destructive way to deal with buffel is by grazing it, and you should keep in mind that it’s not only the large herd animals that eat it, much of our wildlife has also come to depend upon it.
Further, buffel is a grass. Any attempt to eradicate it by the introduction of a beetle grub or the like would be putting all our grasses at risk, along with our food security and the economy of the nation.

West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist
If I got out a dozer and flattened my house because I was worried about the wind knocking it over, would you understand that that is actually a pretty dam stupid thing to do?
You would … so then understand that in burning grass before it can burn is every bit as stupid, especially when it results in exactly the outcome you claim to be protecting against!
Burning grass of all kinds, not just buffel, in places where it is not a threat to physical assets and human life is a completely unnecessary and extremely destructive thing to do.
The constant burning of country that is being undertaken suits buffel to a tee … you are actually assisting its dominance while destroying all other vegetation!
Despite popular fiction, our trees and shrubs let alone native wildlife, struggle to recover from burning. Burn them two years in a row and they are gone. Guess what replaces them?
I have lived at White Gums, once a dairy farm which now runs beef cattle right next door to Simpsons Gap for 65 years this year.
I drive through it several times a day. I have watched it progress from cattle station to national park.
I watched it through the early years when Bob Darken and others who actually new that land oversaw it
I watched it gradually recover from overstocking and I watched it through the seventies and eighties as buffel colonised the once bare ground.
I watched years later as the moron mentality took hold, the uni-trained experts indoctrinated with cultural garbage and the lefty politics of envy brought this vile culture of burning to life.
Since that time, I’ve watched the complete destruction of what was once a World Heritage level park by burning.
Everyone should understand, it’s not just buffel grass that is burnt! Everything is burnt!
These guys aren’t just burning fire breaks, they burn the entire country!
This reckless irresponsible and ongoing assault on our National Park has led to the destruction of shrubs, trees and wildlife including the vary rare colonies of possums … all gone to deliberate lit, poorly controlled fire.
Once upon a time our ranges were covered with shrubs and trees. They are gone. Killed not by buffel grass but by burning it!
At White Gums every year we get deliberately lit fires which we put out. They rarely do much damage because we graze the grass. This is the natural, sensible way to control buffel that leaves trees and shrubs intact.
And it generates an income! Yes, money! That stuff many of us have to earn so that those dependent on the public purse get paid.
Of course there are fires that occur constantly from lightening ect.
Yes, they burn country however the now rampart culture of burning often sees these fires extended rather than being extinguished.
The attitude is: “We might as well burn it while we are here.”
You have to work alongside these guys to realise the ridiculous levels to which this anti buffel thing has taken us.
We run cattle so on a number of occasions we’ve had to stop the burning out of whole grassy paddocks trying to make them understand that grass is food!
That food translates to a big part of the Territory’s earned income and its not only domestic animals that depend upon it.
Buffel is here. We need to learn to live with it. Buffel does little or no harm, improves our soils, lessens run off and raises overall food production enormously.
Because it contains more energy it also burns hotter than native grasses, destroying native trees and shrubs as a result.
Its ability for rapid regrowth allows it to dominate other species after a fire, so the more you burn, the fewer trees and shrubs survive and the more buffel you get!
So guys, don’t burn it. Put the fires out like you’re supposed to.
Graze the grass and leave our country presentable for both ourselves, our tourists and especially our native wildlife.

West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist
The problem is a management problem not a buffel grass problem!
A toxic culture of burning!
Various organisations charged with managing our land assets are infested with persons usually referred to as “Fire Bugs”.
They operate on a bureaucratically perpetuated lie and a culture of paternalism. The lie is “fire-stick farming” which was never in traditional use in the central desert regions where fire was used in small patches only, mostly in spinifex country for hunting purposes only.
If burning had been used on the scale used in our national parks there simply would have been no people left in this country, they would have starved!
The paternalism or if you like barefaced racism … the presumption that a person born and raised in town or community away from any kind of traditional upbringing but identifying as an Aboriginal person, has inbuilt genetic knowledge others don’t have, that allows them or those working with them to burn country as they please!
The practice remains unchallenged because of a fear of being branded racist for doing so!
In fact the lack of action in curtailing this destructive vandalism and wanton destruction of this country by wilful idiotic burning, is not only stupid … its barefacedly racists!
Case in point just a few weeks back along Larapinta Drive a person identified as a firebug lit a series of fires.
These were small fires because they were found quickly, they could have been extinguished with relative ease. It was on a day declared by bushfires as a “catastrophic fire day”!
Very hot with high winds.
Those charged with controlling the fires were deliberately running the fires on. This means lighting up country in front of the fire – yeh, burning it before it can burn, presumably at some more inconvenient moment!
Pretty damn hard to imagine a more inconvenient moment than a catastrophic fire day!
These fires were encouraged to run the length of Larapinta – all the way to town and even deliberately started on the opposite side of the road where at that stage there had been no fire.
Worse, the fire was run over an area that had been traditionally burnt just a few months prior resulting in fatal damage to trees still struggling to recover from previous vandalism.
So, what has this to do with the complete burnout of the Western Macs you ask?
Well, the fire of which I speak wandered off in that direction given the attitudes shown alongside the road I can hardly imagine it was ever put out.
That being said, a lightning strike has been claimed as the source of the vast fire through the ranges.
My question is was the same destructive fire bug mentality in evidence in the efforts to put this fire out?
Excuse me for being cynical but after observations of the fire fighting efforts on Larapinta one can only wonder if we haven’t lost a huge part of our wonderful natural environment not to buffel grass as apologists claim, but to a toxic culture of burning!
Remember, fire is always destructive! Buffel grass is simply food! If you don’t burn it, it is a highly productive food asset!
And further to that if we do get a sprinkle of rain it will be the quick response growth of buffel that saves the last vestiges of wildlife in the ranges from starvation.
Because when burning isn’t immediately followed by rain, starvation follows swiftly.
Stop burning our country!
Graze our country, save our plants and wildlife, preserve our tourism assets.

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