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  1. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    are you sure the fire bombers are 747s

    The one's I've seen look a lot like the much smaller 737s to me
    Yes, my mistake they were 737. I have thick fingers and often strike the wrong key. Mind you, 747's would be even better but probably require more advanced runway facilities. Size is not critical, so long as we have the numbers. The difference they make to fire fighting is remarkable. On S#*t Saturday I saw six houses in a row saved by one pass. Very impressive.

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  3. #107
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    So Bilpin now has quite a few "pinked" houses in the district. We refer to the owners as the "Anointed Ones." We also have a pair of pink donkeys who, prior to their anointing, were the best of mates. Now they won't have anything to do with each other. What ever happened to colour me happy?

  4. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    Yes, my mistake they were 737. I have thick fingers and often strike the wrong key. Mind you, 747's would be even better but probably require more advanced runway facilities. Size is not critical, so long as we have the numbers. The difference they make to fire fighting is remarkable. On S#*t Saturday I saw six houses in a row saved by one pass. Very impressive.
    I sadly shake my head when reading the related comments above. While aerial firefighting is a welcome addition to the tactical firefighting methods, its not a panacea, but many are now latching onto this as the silver bullet that will save us. Yes - some property will be saved by tactical use of these very expensive machines. However there are many issues arising from the growing calls for a dramatic increase in spending on this approach. And as far as effectiveness is concerned, the upper limit of intensity for fire suppression for even the biggest of these machines is about 5000kw/m - the recent fires have been burning with an intensity in excess of 150,000 kw/m.

    The reality is that there will always be a limit on the budgets available for fire management. The question is how to maximise the effectiveness of the funds available. Buying or leasing more bombers will make for great political mileage and be seen as a win for those providing the funds. However, better use of this money would be a massive increase in proactive fuel load management, and better infrastructure for those with boots on the ground when fighting fires - ability to more rapidly construct mineral earth containment lines, better manage back burns, updated ground equipment and funding for income support for those who are fighting the fires. But this is not sexy and not suited to quick political soundbites. The huge focus on aerial suppression is a distraction.

    I'm not saying that there should not be some increase in aerial firefighting capability, particularly given the northern and southern hemisphere fire seasons increasingly overlap and we can not rely on previous machine sharing arrangements; we will need to acquire some additional capability. However the conversation in the media and elsewhere seems to be ignoring many realities in favour of technology as the solution.

    See the following for a well articulated discussion. There are many, many more in similar vein from those who have expertise in this area:
    Water Bombing and Magic Bullets

  5. #109
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    Doug, I hope I'm wrong but I have deep suspicions that such a common sense approach may not be allowed today, and that red tape would be everywhere. Something like:
    "But that's OUR job"
    "Yes but we were already here"
    "Doesn't matter, you should have called us"
    and so on.
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  6. #110
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    Re Ross' comment: I think we need to increase just about every aspect of the game, but in particular the preventative side rather than the reactive side.

    Let's say these fires are going to cost $5bills, just for argument's sake (it will probably be much more before it's over - did I read $20b off GDP alone?). That money could buy a helluva lot of preventative measures. I wonder how many cultural burns it would cover? (there would need to be a great deal of education done, people hired and resourced etc etc). The big takeaway from that article for me was that White Fella's hazard reduction is just too hot and too blunt hammer approach. CBs are gentle - hell they hardly even had any protective clothing apart from gloves. I'm imagining a national Fire Force with tens of thousands of Black Fellas and other trained people moving around from district to district, doing CBs as required. It wouldn't be long before they would all be hugely experienced in treating all the varieties of country. Combine their millennia of experience with scientific instruments (for say moisture content reading quickly and accurately) and other relevant equipment.

    "SmoKo's Fire Force" has a bit of ring to it, doncha think?

    No single approach will ever be the universal panacea, but if we can get the prevention game running much better than it is then we don't need to pour anywhere near as much resource into the panicked curative side - something I'm sure the insurance industry would like, just for a start.
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  7. #111
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    The Mega Fire which started in the Wollemi National Park was from a single lightening strike in a relatively inaccessible area. The responsibility of National Parks and Wildlife it was left to burn its self out. Well it didn't. More than 500,000 hectares so far and still going. In this sort of country only air fighting is going to get the job done. If we can afford to waste millions on fireworks displays we can afford a bit of serious fire protection. Yes it is expensive but so to are peoples lives, homes and businesses. If it wasn't for the aircrews up here on S#*t Saturday there would have been nothing left. There were 2000 Firies on the ground. All they could do was try to install containment lines, which failed time after time. Keep in mind, we are not talking your average BBQ runaway here, we are talking fire, the likes of which has not been experienced in Australia before. Drastic circumstances require drastic measures. If Global Warming and Climate Change are the real deal, we are going to be looking at this situation occurring with monotonous regularity. If we are going to lock up vast tracts of bushland for National Parks we must be prepared to take the responsibility of proper management. National Parks and Wildlife are punching well above their weight, with little positive effect on weeds,vermin or fire reduction.
    If we can afford to fly ourselves around the world just for a bit of a holiday why is it that it all becomes too expensive to have some serious fire protection?

  8. #112
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    I haven't been able to find out anything of the fate of the Wollemi Pines, but unless they gave it a good dose of retardant, it's hard to see how they would have been spared.
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  9. #113
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    When I was in the Army all they had to do was ask. State governments, local councils and even individuals could ask for assistance.
    Exactly my recollection as a civilian during floods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    1. If Global Warming and Climate Change are the real deal,
    2. we are going to be looking at this situation occurring with monotonous regularity.
    No doubt about either part of that.
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  11. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by doug3030 View Post
    I cannot say for sure how it is now, but back in the day ...

    When I was in the Army all they had to do was ask. State governments, local councils and even individuals could ask for assistance.

    Over 30 years ago when I had not yet even risen above the rank of Sergeant, I was on duty one Sunday and a local farmer who lived opposite the base drove in the gate to advise of a grass-fire on his property and asked if we could help him. I got the fire team mobilized and the fire was quickly dealt with.

    I recorded the incident in my Duty Log Book,which I presented to the Adjutant on dismounting duty on Monday morning. His only comment was "Well done Sergeant".

    I authorized it as a duty person without reference to any higher authority at the request of a citizen.

    If I had been asked to justify my actions, which I was expecting to have to do but was not, I would have said that the fire may have posed a risk to military assets if it had not been extinguished.
    Technically what you did is called "aid to the Civil power".
    Again technically, an individual can not request that aid -- it has to be some level of the "Civil Power" the local police, council, what ever. But you as the senior duty person can independently mobilise the base fire team to protect the base from the cocky's grass fire.


    Great initiative there me son.
    So well done.



    BTW
    Back in '89, 14 Sqn RAE mobilised on their own initiative to aid the Civil Power following the Newcastle Earthquake.



    Edit: to add bit about 14 Sqn, RAE.
    regards from Canada

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  12. #116
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    In respect to cultural burning, the big problem is the weather in the Sydney Basin leads on too many days to the city being clothed in very unhealthy smoke.

    Outside the Sydney basin it's more a case of why bother.
    regards from Canada

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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    If we can afford to waste millions on fireworks displays we can afford a bit of serious fire protection.
    Ohhh yes! Well said.

    I have just returned today from a local gathering to address a town issue and the subject of acute and chronic problems was discussed. In relation to the fires we have an immediate problem (acute) and a long term problem (chronic). Whilst our first priority is to the immediate effects to people and property (in that order) we should not neglect the aftermath. Fire through a tourist resort is the kiss of death, certainly this year and probably next year too. Bush fire is to land mass what an oil spill is to the ocean.

    Ultimately we are all affected to some degree as in the aftermath it is like taking a wrecking ball to the economy.

    It is not expensive to put in place preventative measures and to have resources available for when they fail. It is expensive not to do this.

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  14. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    In respect to cultural burning, the big problem is the weather in the Sydney Basin leads on too many days to the city being clothed in very unhealthy smoke.
    Hi Ian, were you here in Nov/Dec? Unbelievable smoke every damn day in Sydney. I suspect they'd trade that for some less smoky days spread around. I don't think CBs have to be done all that often though - every 3-5 years perhaps?? CBs may not necessarily stop fires but they may well reduce the intensity and make them easier to put out or manage.

    Somehow we only had two smoky days up here until quite late in the whole event. I just forget now but I don't think we had any but those two days up until about mid-December. This was quite extraordinary given that I could see the smoke billowing out of the Ruined Castle fire - it was all blowing towards Sydney as could be seen down at Echo Point. But even when it wasn't blowing towards the Big Smoke there were huge clouds of smoke affecting the colour of sunlight, but nothing down on the ground. However, since then (early-mid Dec) it has been smoky to some extent most of the time - but even then it can vary greatly within one day, and I suspect that is our altitude at play.

    There have been quite a number of misty days too, looking at it from inside it's actually very difficult to tell if it's smoke, mist, or a Katoomba Special (50/50 of each)

    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    Outside the Sydney basin it's more a case of why bother.
    Eh? That might need some expanding upon.....
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  15. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushmiller View Post
    Fire through a tourist resort is the kiss of death, certainly this year and probably next year too. Bush fire is to land mass what an oil spill is to the ocean.
    Although it can be counter-intuitive to how we think things work. Aussie bush is the most adapted to recovery from fires (AFAIK). In 1994 98% of the Royal National Park was burnt. The 1995 wildflower season was the most spectacular I've ever seen! I was a very keen photographer of wildflowers in those years and had very good knowledge of the RNP and where to find what. I was very fortunate to live pretty close to the RNP for many years - the Sydney Basin is the 3rd most significant wildflower area in Australia, after the Stirling and Flinders Ranges.

    Just as a matter of interest for those who may not know - the RNP was the first declared in Australia (1879) and the second in the world, after Yellowstone in 1872.
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  16. #120
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    Bushfire is a bit like a war, there are those who’s world is turned upside down and yet makes the world go around for others.
    A lot of work and commerce is generated as a result

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