Letters to the Editor

Bushfire Sense and Nonsense

quill pen

To the Editor
Climate Conversation Group

11 September 2019

Bushfires are normal events in this season in tropical and sub-tropical latitudes of the southern hemisphere — in Australia, Africa and South America. Even Captain Cook noted many fires in Eastern Australia in 1770, long before the era of “global warming” hysteria.

What is unusual is the number and ferocity of recent Australian fires.

Destructive bushfires need three things: a big load of dry fuel, hot dry winds and a point of ignition.

A big load of dry fuel, close to towns and buildings, in this season, is a sign of gross mismanagement (seen most commonly in public lands). That fuel should have been raked, dozed or burnt in safer weather conditions.

Hot dry winds are not unusual in this season in these latitudes — no use whinging.

But how do over a hundred bushfires start suddenly? Machinery occasionally starts fires but not 120 fires in a short time. There have been no lightning storms so who are the arsonists or idiots starting these fires?

Viv Forbes

Queensland 4306


Viv Forbes and his wife Judy have spent a lifetime in the bush of Queensland and NT. They were both volunteers in a rural fire brigade for over 25 years. They have fought many bushfires and have seen several fires lit — some deliberately, some naturally, some carelessly. One careless fire burnt out their exploration camp in Arnhem Land, another accidental “fire with nine lives” threatened their grazing property in SE Queensland, and a deliberate fire on another property cleared a lot of lantana and leaf litter from their property and also made the adjacent National Park a much safer neighbour.
Here is a true story about a fire that Viv and Judy fought: The Fire with Nine Lives (pdf, 82.5 KB, unpublished). They think you might enjoy it.

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16 Thoughts on “Letters to the Editor

  1. Brigitte Allain on 11/09/2019 at 3:41 pm said:

    Australia is becoming hotter and drier. It would be very odd if that meant fewer and less destructive fires.

    But of course if you believe you know more about the science than climate scientists you can believe anything you like. Knowledge and rational thinking won’t stop you indulging yourself…

  2. Mack on 11/09/2019 at 9:51 pm said:

    Looks like you’ve got yourself a fiery Frenchie, here, Richard. I’ll get some popcorn.

  3. Simon on 12/09/2019 at 11:38 am said:

    There are non-partisan coal-friendly solutions for this unprecedented run of hot weather…
    We may to get rid of anything that burns, we’ve already done a lot of that so it should help.
    Sometimes bad things happen to good planets…

  4. Richard Treadgold on 12/09/2019 at 11:49 am said:

    You say:

    Australia is becoming hotter and drier.

    it’s difficult to confirm this, as the Australian temperature records are riddled with adjustments over recent years that had the effect of lowering past temperatures to accentuate or even create a warming trend. This is well documented on Jo Nova’s website and others.

    But even in a warming climate, many fires can be prevented by sensible management, as Viv describes. So read the letter you’re commenting on. Viv explains the simple requirements for a bushfire. How you can shift the blame to human emissions is beyond understanding. Emissions are claimed to cause a little warming, not a tropical firestorm.

    Don’t make up things I said, such as, “you believe you know more about the science than climate scientists.” I do not. Mainstream climate scientists refuse to answer my questions. My beliefs have nothing to do with it.

    I must repeat: stop giving abuse.

  5. Richard Treadgold on 12/09/2019 at 11:55 am said:


    There are non-partisan coal-friendly solutions

    Brilliant cartoon, thanks.

  6. Chris Morris on 12/09/2019 at 7:04 pm said:

    Australia isn’t getting significantly hotter if one looks at all the raw data. Go back and look at the records and newspaper articles of the federation drought. Homogenisation and truncated records as well as adjustments have created most of the warming. Here are all the station records put together as a music video.
    The full set of rainfall records also have no trend .

  7. Maggy Wassilieff on 13/09/2019 at 7:09 am said:

    No evidence at all that areas where the fires are currently burning have become any hotter or drier than they have been in previous decades.

  8. Alexander K on 13/09/2019 at 4:51 pm said:

    Captain Cook, the first recorded whitefella to see Australia, documented many bushfires in NSW as he sailed past that coast. My paternal grandfather, from the same neck of the woods as Cook, a settler on a small ‘selection’ in the Blue Mountains in the late 19th century, endured the Jubilee drought around the turn of the twentieth century and was financially ruined by the total lack of rain for nine years.
    People who do not read or understand history, such as new commenter Brigette Allain, are doomed to repeat historical mistakes through ignorance of them. She reminds me of the old truism that it is better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth (metaphorically speaking) and removie all doubt.
    In my view, the most serious consequence of Green ignorance in forested areas around the world is the idiotic and short-sighted failure to reduce the fuel load of brush and dead timber when it is safe to have controlled burns. Add this to idiot criminal firebugs, and we see ral disasters.

  9. Simon on 15/09/2019 at 7:16 pm said:

    Australian air and sea surface temperatures have increased , plus eastern and coastal rainfall has decreased:
    Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

  10. Richard Treadgold on 15/09/2019 at 8:46 pm said:

    Thanks, Simon. You claim “eastern and coastal rainfall has decreased.” Click the “Time series” link and you’ll see rainfall has clearly increased for 120 years.

  11. Simon on 16/09/2019 at 9:26 am said:

    Correct Richard, but I was referring to changes in rainfall distribution. The irony is that the parts of the country where people live are those where the rainfall is decreasing.
    Of course, the nutters over at JoNova insist that the BoM are wrong and intentionally misrepresent and manipulate the data for unknown nefarious ends. Just like on this side of the Tasman. Apparently, the conspiracy is global.

  12. Richard Treadgold on 16/09/2019 at 11:44 am said:

    Thanks, astonishing, isn’t it? Jo puts it well: it’s not a climate emergency but a history emergency. Everyone’s forgotten even the recent past. Naturally, that’s because it’s not being taught.

  13. Richard Treadgold on 16/09/2019 at 11:46 am said:


    I was referring to changes in rainfall distribution.

    Well, you didn’t say so. But I can’t see any evidence, so how does that work?

  14. Chris Morris on 16/09/2019 at 6:00 pm said:

    Simon you can’t even read what you link to. Go back and look at the rainfall map 1900 – present
    Most of the eastern and coastal region is greenish. That is, it has got wetter. Winter has got a bit drier, Spring and summer wetter

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