This story is so reminiscent of the public fight to …

Comment on Minister Lawler determined to demolish Anzac High by Domenico Pecorari.

This story is so reminiscent of the public fight to save the Alice Springs Gaol in Stuart Terrace, next to the RFDS, against a then CLP minister determined to demolish everything on the site.
Same with our Old Hartley Street School, which the council of the time wanted to demolish so as to have more car-parking!
I’d have hoped that we lived in more enlightened and culturally-aware times but, sadly, it seems not.

Recent Comments by Domenico Pecorari

Real young people, not the faceless offender
Thanks Rainer, for another very interesting read. I recommend readers also visit Rainer’s previous article (from April 2018), the insightful “Youth crisis: broken window of tolerance”. Just click on the link at the end of this article.


Fracking well ‘unstable’
Why are we not surprised?
No matter how many conditions are placed on the fracking industry, there will always be “accidents”, not to mention the long-term costs that governments (read taxpayer) will have to pay for long after these companies have left.
Time for another moratorium on fracking?


Chance for NT Government to get cracking on fires
@ Erwin: I am not doubting the re-filling or flight times you quote, but question the appropriateness of aerial bombers to our particular bushfire conditions.
I refer you to the ABC News story of November 15, 2019, citing the general manager of National Aerial Firefighting Centre, Richard Alder, who said that while large water bombers were useful, they were not a silver bullet. In the same story, senior researcher at CSIRO’s Department of Bushfire Behaviour and Risks, Matt Plucinski, said that, while aircraft had a number of advantages for fighting fires, they were most important in the initial attack and for fighting fires in difficult terrain, he added that more research was needed to understand the most effective use of large aircraft, what Australia might need in the future and whether the high cost was warranted.
No doubt a lot more has been learnt over the last 2 months, but the fundamental issue of “appropriateness” remain the same.

[ED – Thanks for your further comment, Dom. Our sources never claimed water bombers were a silver bullet and Mr Plucinski clearly confirms the point we reported in our report: The fire in the West Macs last year started “in difficult terrain” namely around Standley Chasm.]


Chance for NT Government to get cracking on fires
@ Erwin. One of the most important lessons to have come out of the bushfires of the last month in south-eastern Australia is that there is no one answer to fighting fires, no silver bullet, and that each fire is best fought by means appropriate to the type of terrain, type and density of fuel load (and other factors) in which the fires occur.
Large air tankers (DC-10s and 737s) are designed to dump a very large amount of water very quickly, so as to have an effect upon very intense hotspots, as found in densely-treed forest landscapes such as are found in our national parks of SE Australia.
Most fires in our Central Australian region are much less intense, the majority best described as scrub or grass fires that can be adequately managed by our existing rural fire-fighters.
Sure, our fire-fighters could always do with more and better equiped tanker trucks, but aerial tankers? At the very most, I imagine a fleet of smaller helicopters for use in inaccessible terrain, sourcing water from local waterholes, where available, may offer a better and more cost-efficient solution. They could also assist in moving firefighters into where they are required and out of dangerous situations.
While your calculation (“5 minutes” to fill the tankers plus “five minutes” to fly out to Ormiston) makes your case seem a no-brainer, after you factor in landing and take off taxi-ing time, manoeuvring into place at the fire front, flying back to Alice, I reckon the best dump rate would be about every 40 minutes.
Instead of arguing for a gold-plated “solution”, we’d be better off asking our local fire-fighters for advice on how to best fight our kind of fires, based upon their valuable experience, as well as consulting our indigenous community for advice on how traditional fire practices could assist in our reducing the risks.
Now that would make for an interesting and more useful article.
Happy New Year to you too.
[ED – Hi Dom, a large tanker can be filled in five minutes – google our report. The flight time quoted, correctly, was not to Ormiston but to Standley Chasm where the blaze a year ago started. It was then allowed to burn for 17 days through roughly half of the national park. The opinions we quoted about the use of large water bombers are those of an expert with national and international experience.]


Chance for NT Government to get cracking on fires
Readers and commentators would do well to inform themselves by reading up on the NT Government’s “Alice Springs Regional Bushfire Management Plan 2018”, as prepared by Bushfires NT and the Dept of Environment and Natural Resources.
Central Australia presents an entirely different set of fire risk conditions to the forested areas of SE Australia.
Local conditions require particular responses suited to our region’s ecology.
I’m not sure that water-bombing aircraft would be very useful in fighting our type of (scrub)fires, outside of the immediate urban area.
It would be interesting, Erwin, to re-visit and take comparative photographs one year on, to see how re-vegetation (if any) may be proceeding.


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