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Rising Sun*
02-13-2009, 06:35 AM
This is a thread for recording and commenting upon official, and maybe unofficial, stupidity of magnificently stupid proportions, in civilian, military or any other spheres.

I have been impelled to create it as I sit here many, many miles from any of the bushfires ravaging my state but in an outer suburban house like tens of thousands of others full of the smell of smoke under a night sky still full of light smoke blowing for days from where thousands of poor bastards have been burnt out and many burnt to death and injured, as a direct consequence of the Numb Nuts Greenies and the local, state and federal politicians captive to their demands to get the major parties over the line in our magnificent democratic system where the minor parties or independents elected by single digit (as low as 2% of the voters) can control the government elected by the majority.

So that now people are prohibited from picking up deadwood from the roadside in the areas which had the worst fires when until about 20 years ago people used to go up there with a trailer and pick up their firewood.

Don't even think about cutting down a tree. Unless, of course, you're a major corporation given a licence by the state government to chop down native forests to convert into woodchips to send to China or wherever, which permits you to denude thousands of acres of land.

Also, thanks to the Greenies who think every blade of native grass is so precious that it cannot be cut while the Greenies conscientiously improve the environment by driving around in their Golfs and Peugeots and Renaults, often a couple of decades old (which are well known to have a carbon neutral footprint and actually convert fossil fuels into good feelings which will save the planet from the nasty emissions produced by Ford and GM cars) there is no burning off of the undergrowth which is the basic fuel for the fire which is a kindling which gets into the trees because the Greenies and their ilk think it's so bloody precious that everything in the forest must be preserved and left in its natural state.

Except, of course, when the Greenies are having an earth festival or just a forest logging protest with huge bonfires to illuminate their Sioux dancing and Tibetan chanting and African drum beating because, like, you know, that is so totally real and just, well, you know, like wow and totally amazing to connect with the fire in the wood which is special wood which doesn't contribute to global warming any more than the noxious vapours coming out of the Greenies arses via their mouths. FFS!

These are the same Numb Nuts who go all misty eyed and mystical about the Aborigines and their custodianship of the land. Carefully ignoring the burns that the Aborigines regularly did to exploit their land.

It ain't by accident that many of our native trees and plants will germinate only after bushfires have gone through their area, but the Numb Nuts Greenies are too busy hugging trees created from germination by earlier bushfires to realise that if they want those trees to reproduce then they need a big burn. Preferably without killing people in the process, but if a greenie is so committed to saving a tree which can geminate only after fire then I'd encourage the Numb Nuts greenie bastards and all the 'Couldn't Give A Shit About Green Issues But I'll Do A Deal With Them To Get Elected" politicians who have sucked up to them for the past couple of decades to get up there and hug a tree to save it in the face of a bushfire.

If they do, it's a pity that the tree won't survive.


Angry survivors blame council 'green' policy
Andrea Petrie
Arthurs Creek
February 11, 2009

ANGRY residents last night accused local authorities of contributing to the bushfire toll by failing to let residents chop down trees and clear up bushland that posed a fire risk.

During question time at a packed community meeting in Arthurs Creek on Melbourne's northern fringe, Warwick Spooner — whose mother Marilyn and brother Damien perished along with their home in the Strathewen blaze — criticised the Nillumbik council for the limitations it placed on residents wanting the council's help or permission to clean up around their properties in preparation for the bushfire season. "We've lost two people in my family because you ****heads won't cut trees down," he said. http://www.theage.com.au/national/angry-survivors-blame-council-green-policy-20090211-83p0.html[/quote]



Fined for illegal clearing, family now feel vindicatedRichard Baker and Nick McKenzie
February 12, 2009

They were labelled law breakers, fined $50,000 and left emotionally and financially drained.

But seven years after the Sheahans bulldozed trees to make a fire break — an act that got them dragged before a magistrate and penalised — they feel vindicated. Their house is one of the few in Reedy Creek, Victoria, still standing.

The Sheahans' 2004 court battle with the Mitchell Shire Council for illegally clearing trees to guard against fire, as well as their decision to stay at home and battle the weekend blaze, encapsulate two of the biggest issues arising from the bushfire tragedy.

Do Victoria's native vegetation management policies need a major overhaul? And should families risk injury or death by staying home to fight the fire rather than fleeing?

Anger at government policies stopping residents from cutting down trees and clearing scrub to protect their properties is already apparent. "We've lost two people in my family because you ****heads won't cut trees down," Warwick Spooner told Nillumbik Mayor Bo Bendtsen at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Although Liam Sheahan's 2002 decision to disregard planning laws and bulldoze 250 trees on his hilltop property hurt his family financially and emotionally, he believes it helped save them and their home on the weekend.

"The house is safe because we did all that," he said as he pointed out his kitchen window to the clear ground where tall gum trees once cast a shadow on his house.

"We have got proof right here. We are the only house standing in a two-kilometre area."

At least seven houses and several sheds on neighbouring properties along Thompson-Spur road in Reedy Creek were destroyed by Saturday night's blaze.

Saving their home was no easy task. At 2pm on Saturday, Mr Sheahan saw the nearby hills ablaze.

He knew what lay ahead when the predicted south-westerly change came.

The family of four had discussed evacuation but decided their property was defensible, due largely to their decision to clear a fire break. It also helped that Mr Sheahan, his son Rowan and daughter Kirsten were all experienced members of the local CFA.

"We prayed and we worked bloody hard. Our house was lit up eight times by the fire as the front passed," Mr Sheahan said. "The elements off our TV antenna melted. We lost a Land Rover, two Subarus, a truck and trailer and two sheds."

Mr Sheahan is still angry about his prosecution, which cost him $100,000 in fines and legal fees. The council's planning laws allow trees to be cleared only when they are within six metres of a house. Mr Sheahan cleared trees up to 100 metres away from his house.

"The council stood up in court and made us to look like the worst, wanton environmental vandals on the earth. We've got thousands of trees on our property. We cleared about 247," he said.

He said the royal commission on the fires must result in changes to planning laws to allow land owners to clear trees and vegetation that pose a fire risk.

"Both the major parties are pandering to the Greens for preferences and that is what is causing the problem. Common sense isn't that common these days," Mr Sheahan said.

Melbourne University bushfire expert Kevin Tolhurst gave evidence to help the Sheahan family in their legal battle with the council.

"Their fight went over nearly two years. The Sheahans were victimised. It wasn't morally right," he said yesterday.

Dr Tolhurst told the Seymour Magistrates court that Mr Sheahan's clearing of the trees had reduced the fire risk to his house from extreme to moderate.

"That their house is still standing is some natural justice for the Sheahans," he said.

He said council vegetation management rules required re-writing. He also called on the State Government to provide clearer guidelines about when families should stay and defend their property.

Houses in fire-prone areas should be audited by experts to advise owners whether their property is defensible, Dr Tolhurst said.

Mr Sheahan said he wanted others to learn from his experience and offered an invitation for Government ministers to visit his property.

He would also like his convictions overturned and fines repaid.

"It would go a long way to making us feel better about the system. But I don't think it will happen."
http://www.smh.com.au/national/fined-for-illegal-clearing-family-now-feel-vindicated-20090212-85bd.html

So, my nomination for a Numb Nuts award goes to anyone and everyone in and out of government at any level who took steps to ensure that trees were preserved and people weren't.

32Bravo
02-13-2009, 10:52 AM
Couldn't comment on the political issues, as this is a very tragic event and people are suffering from shock and grief and, naturally, feeling very very angry.

Seeing the fires raging, on TV, it seemed as if nothing could have prevented this holocaust, once it was underway, unless every tree and blade of grass within miles had been reduced. Would the precautions mentioned have been enough?

Rising Sun*
02-13-2009, 04:50 PM
Seeing the fires raging, on TV, it seemed as if nothing could have prevented this holocaust, once it was underway, unless every tree and blade of grass within miles had been reduced. Would the precautions mentioned have been enough?

In many cases where houses were burnt and or people killed and injured, probably not. Because it's not necessarily the trees or scrub close to the house that sets houses and other things on fire but the embers flying from the main fire, which may be a kilometre or more deep and driven by high winds but still quite some distance away, that get into the roof or onto timber decks and so on that often cause the house fire. And a grass fire can destroy houses and kill people in cars just as successfully.

However, a house with bare ground for 100 metres or more around it has a far, far better chance of survival than one with trees and scrub close to it, partly because the radiant heat is from a source further away and much less likely to cause windows to explode and let the fire in and otherwise cause ignition from proximity to the house, and partly because the occupants are able to get outside to quell the ember attack which they can't do if trees and scrub are burning a few metres from them and producing radiant heat they can't endure. Similarly, water sprinklers on roofs and other water measures will be more effective if the heat source is far enough away that it's not vapourising the water when the main fire front arrives.

32Bravo
02-14-2009, 03:06 AM
So, had the precautions been taken, the people would have felt that they had at least a fighting chance, however slim that chance might be. And, in some ways, a little more control over their destiny, as opposed to simply being victims. Which, as a hard as the outcome might be if they had failed, the inevitability of it all would be somehow seem more acceptable than doing nothing at all.

One would expect that many lessons and much by way of improvements, not just in planning laws, but also by way of community effort etc. to help reduce the inevitability of this from happening again on such a scale?

Rising Sun*
02-14-2009, 06:48 AM
So, had the precautions been taken, the people would have felt that they had at least a fighting chance, however slim that chance might be. And, in some ways, a little more control over their destiny, as opposed to simply being victims. Which, as a hard as the outcome might be if they had failed, the inevitability of it all would be somehow seem more acceptable than doing nothing at all.

No, in the right circumstances they would have been able to defend their homes successfully but, more importantly, they would not have faced the conflagration at all, nor would people have been burned in or fleeing from cars on roads in burning bush, because the fires would not have occurred or would have been of lower intensity.

Here followeth a short lesson in bushfires. ;)

Fires need fuel. Duh! ;)

Natural fuel sources are grass, forest litter, forest undergrowth, and trees.

Tree canopies, especially among some Australian species which in fire release oils and gases which help to spread fire, can spread fire very rapidly by what is known as a crown fire.

Crown fires and bushfires are spread best, or worst, by strong winds pushing the fire towards new fuel sources.

It is impossible to cause a crown fire from the ground, unless you have arms about fifty to a hundred feet long and somehow manage to get one isolated leaf to set fire to another isolated leaf.

However, if you set fire to the grass, forest litter, and undergrowth, and especially if there is also dense undergrowth, then in no time you have a fire which will climb into the canopy and draw air up to it which accelerates the fire at ground level and so on. Put a 60 km/h wind gusting to 120 km/h behind it in drought conditions with everything bone dry on days with humidity in the single digits and you are on the way to fire which can’t be controlled, as happened a week ago.

Now, and this should stand out like dog's balls to Blind Freddie, if you remove the forest litter and undergrowth which enables the crown fire, then the risk of an uncontrollable bushfire and its ability to spread drops dramatically.

And this is exactly what used to be done by various methods, including controlled burns before the fire season.

But, since well-intentioned but ignorant city ****wits who think every ****ing tree must be preserved at all costs have persuaded major party politicians that they hold the votes which will determine major party politicians’ fates, we have had weak-kneed ****wits in government who pander to the extreme Greenie elements rather than listening to people who actually know what they’re talking about, such as those in the quoted article below.

I know just about all of the country where the current bushfires are. We had a farm in the middle of the main area when I was a kid. People then could get on their tractor with a blade or on a dozer and cut firebreaks and burn off when it was safe before the fire season, and a lot of the forest litter was picked up for firewood, which is all it was good for whether in your fireplace or, less desirably, left where it was to fuel a bushfire. Now you need to go cap in hand to get a permit from a petty Numb Nut at Numb Nuts Headquarters (being your local municipal council, which are sheltered workshops for otherwise unemployable drones with a Hitler gene) to mow your lawn if it contains native grasses, in case you wreck the environment. Unlike a ****ing great bushfire wiping out everything for miles around, for which a permit is neither needed nor provided for in the Numb Nuts legislation and policy books but after which, and this doesn't seem to have occurred to the King of Numb Nuts Castle where it's all about legislation and policies which bushfires don't bother to consult before sweeping across the land, there won’t be any more patches of native grass or anything else for the Numb Nuts to protect.

Still, the always triumphant Numb Nuts will get to oil their balls frustrating the building permit applications of the poor bastards who got burned out as a result of the Numb Nuts denying their earlier applications to do common sense things to make their homes reasonably fire safe.

And I say this with the confidence of someone living in an area where, after community consultation (being sharing and interacting sensitively and bonding with a couple of other Numb Nuts, because nobody I know knows anyone who was consulted by the Numb Nuts), the assembled elected Numb Nuts decided that all pine and cypress trees and all trees not native to our area were weeds, and had to be removed forthwith. Apparently their determination to return our land to its pristine state didn't extend to removing people and houses who, I thought, did a little more damage to the landscape than the odd pine tree. Because then the ****ing Numb Nuts would have had to be removed, which would have been a bloody brilliant idea.


Policy critics predicted 'inevitable mega-fires'

Andrew Rule
February 14, 2009

A GROUP of forest-fire experts has accused state Environment Minister Gavin Jennings of attempting to deceive the public — and of pre-empting a royal commission — over fuel-reduction burning.

Mr Jennings this week defended the Government over suggestions it had contributed to Australia's worst peacetime disaster by tacitly neglecting its commitment to fuel-reduction burning to appease the green lobby.

Forest Fire Victoria — a group of forestry experts and scientists, including outspoken academic David Packham — claims the Government has sidelined crucial recommendations from its own parliamentary environment and natural resources committee to curry favour with environmentalists.

The dispute flared when Mr Jennings said this week Victoria had carried out 400,000 hectares of fuel-reduction burning over three years — and the proposed royal commission would back his Government's stance.

Mr Packham yesterday accused the minister of deception. "It's true they have done fuel-reduction burning on 400,000 hectares — but everyone else is talking per year and he's talking about burning that much every three years," he said. "If it's not deception, it's stupidity — and I can't believe he (Mr Jennings) is that stupid."

Fuel-reduction burning of 400,000 hectares in three years represented only 1 per cent of Victoria's bushland a year — when 10 per cent was needed to safeguard the state properly and the Government's own committee had urged an annual minimum of 5 per cent fuel-reduction burning, Mr Packham said.

Mr Packham said he was willing to risk being dismissed from his post as honorary senior research fellow at Monash University's school of geography and environmental science rather than stay silent. It is believed his criticism of bushfire management has made him unpopular in some circles at the university.

Former Victorian environment minister John Thwaites, widely seen as the architect of Victoria's relatively modest reduction-burning policy, has been appointed a professor at Monash since stepping down from Parliament.
Just seven weeks ago, Forest Fire Victoria warned that the apparent failure to act on the recommendations of the Victorian Parliamentary Environment and Natural Resources Committee last June would lead to dangerous fuel loads in Victorian bushland.

Members of Forest Fire Victoria include long-time University of Melbourne botanist (and former forester) Professor Peter Attiwill and the state's former commissioner of forests and, later, chief fire officer, Athol Hodgson.
Mr Hodgson circulated a tough critique of the Government's Living With Fire policy when it was released in mid-December, predicting it would fail and warning that the unprecedented fuel loads in the bush would trigger catastrophic fires.

The parliamentary committee had made 20 recommendations, of which the Government had adopted seven and supported 13 "in principle". "It means they did nothing," Mr Hodgson said.

In his critique, he described the Government's reaction to the committee recommendations as "a farce, conveniently ambiguous and deceptive to the point of arrogance" and paying "lip service only". His colleague, Professor Attiwill, said: "It's a Yes Minister response to avoid doing anything while at the same time appearing to act."

Professor Attiwill said that preventing controlled "ecological burning" in cool autumn weather would inevitably lead to mega-fires.

"Hot fires like that kill things," Professor Attiwill said. "If not people, then millions of animals and birds. While all the emphasis is on fire suppression, rather than on fire prevention, it will happen again and again.

"The science of fire is simple. All that's needed for a fire is a source of ignition, fuel, and the right conditions — wind and heat. And the only one of those we can control is the fuel load." My bold http://www.theage.com.au/national/policy-critics-predicted-inevitable-megafires-20090213-877e.html



One would expect that many lessons and much by way of improvements, not just in planning laws, but also by way of community effort etc. to help reduce the inevitability of this from happening again on such a scale?

Not when the Numb Nuts get hold of it, again. We went through this a quarter of century ago after very bad fires, but the Numb Nuts have managed to prevail and to create worse conditions than those a quarter of a century ago. What a brilliant ****ing advance in knowledge and goverment! :evil:

32Bravo
02-14-2009, 09:58 AM
Speaking of consultation, here is a situation with explosive potential:

The reintroduction of the beaver (not to be confused with the Canadian pussycat) -


In the usually quiet countryside of Devon, England, a beaver has been leaving a trail of destruction, and causing political disquiet. ‘Igor’ as one national paper has dubbed him, has been felling trees along the River Tamar in Cornwall after escaping from his Devon home. The beaver, which weighs six stone, is apparently not trying to build a dam, he’s simply living in a hole in the riverbank and felling the trees for food. He escaped in October, after a flood, in the company of two females, which were recaptured in a lake nearby after felling a number of trees on the River Thrushel.
And there’s the worrying bit for locals. There’s a projected plan to release beavers into the wild in Scotland as early as next year. In fact Igor’s conservationist keeper has a bunch of quarantined beaver that he’s keeping for exactly that purpose, but Igor’s activities in travelling 20 miles and felling a significant number of trees is definitely troubling a lot of people.

Reintroduction or meddling?
While owner Derek Gow says that beavers are part of the ecosystem and should definitely be reintroduced, locals in Devon and Cornwall are wondering how much havoc beavers can produce and whether any garden, orchard or farm that backs onto a river would be safe. Beavers were hunted to extinction in England and Wales during the 12th century, partly because their pelts were worth three years wages to the average peasant and partly, disgruntled people are suggesting, because they were such a nuisance.

Mr Gow plans to trap the beaver in a box baited with the scent of a female beaver as he believes Igor is trying to find a mate. ‘He can’t build a dam because the Tamar is far too wide for one furry rodent,’ he said, against all the evidence that Igor seems to be trying. He also says he has no idea how the beaver escaped.

Butterflies good, beaver bad
The UK’s plans to reintroduce native species hunted to extinction have always had a difficult time. While butterflies (Somerset) and red squirrels (Angelsey) have been uncontroversial, the white-tailed eagles have been lobbied against in some parts of Scotland and even poisoned on Mull, while the ‘accidental’ reintroduction of wild boar (sometimes through escapes of domestic pigs, sometimes deliberate releases by activists) causes massive local controversies, with farmers threatening to shoot free ranging pigs and environmentalists demonstrating to save them.

The issue was previously seen as being whether a small, highly-populated, intensively-farmed island can cope with the reintroduction of major prey species that can harm livestock: eagles, bears, and wolves. Many say not, that the time has passed for such species, but others claim that the UK could have a richer and more diverse eco-system if such species returned, and that safe management systems have been piloted elsewhere. Until recently, the disagreement has not included non-predators, but Igor seems likely to stir up another debate ahead of the planned beaver release in Scotland in 2010.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2008/05/25/beaver10c.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/30/beaver-escape-england&usg=__HvJ6INdHMFWTJmFsq3LxnMxHV9U=&h=276&w=460&sz=42&hl=en&start=1&um=1&tbnid=YwwWB1NA_Zza1M:&tbnh=77&tbnw=128&prev=/images%3Fq%3Denvironmental%2Beffect%2Bof%2Breintro duction%2Bof%2Bbeaver%2Bto%2Bthe%2Btamar%26um%3D1% 26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:*:IE-Address%26sa%3DN

32Bravo
02-14-2009, 10:02 AM
More do-gooders:


UK Minister condemns mink release




The Agriculture Minister, Elliot Morley, has condemned the release of hundreds of mink into the Staffordshire countryside by animal rights activists as "irresponsible and cruel".


The BBC's Margaret Gilmore reports on the mink hunt
Mr Morley said: "There is nothing remotely positive for the cause of animal welfare in these releases.

"Indeed these actions show a total disregard not only for the welfare of the mink themselves but also for the wildlife which are attacked by escaped mink."

He said the government saw fur farming as "unacceptable" and was committed to banning it through legislation.

'Fighting chance'

His comments came as efforts to recapture the missing animals continued. The Animal Liberation Front says it released about 1,000 mink from the farm of Len Kelsall in Onneley on Thursday.



The vehicles were attacked while farm workers were catching mink
In a statement, it said: "This action has given the mink a fighting chance of survival rather than a miserable existence ending in death by gas or electrocution."

However, Mr Kelsall, who is the Chairman of the National Fur Breeders Association, has branded the release an act of "terrorism".

Police are also investigating who vandalised Mr Kelsall's car and van with a corrosive substance on Friday .

People living near the farm are being advised to keep children and pets indoors because of the risk that they might be attacked by the mink.



Toni Vernelli of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals backs the release
Some of the animals have been sheltering in houses and under car bonnets. Environmentalists are predicting a "catastrophe" for local wildlife.

Council official Alan Hudson advised the public not to approach the mink because they were "quite vicious".



Police warn the mink could attack pets and children
He said: "If they call us we will arrange for someone to go out and catch the animal. If a mink manages to get into someone's home they should shut the door of the room where the animal is and again give us a call.

"We would also appreciate people calling us if they simply sight any of the mink so that we can build up a picture of how far they have spread."

The council has set up a mink hotline on 01782 742550.

In August, about 7,000 mink were released in to the New Forest following two attacks on Crow Hill Farm near Ringwood, Hampshire.

The animals killed pets and even attacked a fisherman. Thousands were recaptured but many were shot by desperate landowners. Police are liasing over the two incidents.

Originally an American species, the mink has already proven itself to be an indiscriminate and adept hunter in the UK.

Many indigenous British species, such as water voles, have been wiped out in areas where they are forced to compete with feral mink.

Rising Sun*
02-15-2009, 06:07 AM
More do-gooders:


UK Minister condemns mink release
Toni Vernelli of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals backs the release
Some of the animals have been sheltering in houses and under car bonnets. Environmentalists are predicting a "catastrophe" for local wildlife.

You can't imagine how much it amuses me to see environmentalists pissed off with PETA.

Alas, the cost to the local wildlife is far too high a price to pay just to amuse me, as one group of wankers has a hissy fit with another group of wankers. I hope the PETA blokes gets bitten on their peters by minks, and that the minks fang the PETA sheilas in their fur. The biter bit, and all that. ;) :D

Anyway, minks are just upmarket ferrets with better grooming and fewer manners. I don't know why anyone would want to release either into the world.