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“ARSONISTS OR IDIOTS”
by Viv Forbes, Executive Director, The Saltbush Club, ©2019
(Sep. 10, 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 mis-management (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 100+ 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 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 Qld, 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.
Below is a true unpublished story about one fire we fought. We hope you find it interesting: “The Fire with Nine Lives”: