Aussie bush-fires nurtured in national parks
Listen carefully to a typical Australian bush-fire warning: "A big fire in the XYZ National Park is now threatening adjacent homes and farms."
For decades now, politicians have been recklessly locking up more land in national parks, reserves, and heritage areas. There are now over 500 national parks covering over 11% of Australia.
In addition to this huge area of nationalized parks, the Howard government, in cahoots with compliant states, created untouchable Kyoto forests on private land in order to meet silly carbon dioxide obligations imposed by the Kyoto Protocol. This conversion of private grazing land to protected "Kyoto Forest" was accelerated by state government tree-huggers who used aerial surveillance to identify "remnant vegetation" and "regrowth areas" on private land, which were then subjected to preservation orders (without ground checking or discussions). Graziers were also prohibited from harvesting timber on their own land. Then some greedy landowners created private plantations of eucalypts to earn credits from carbon fairies in Canberra. This vast area of "protected" land soon became a tinder box of unburnt weeds and flammable scrub.
Most of these untouchable areas have turned into national liabilities, harboring noxious weeds, lantana, wait-a-while, eucalypt fire-trees and feral pigs, cats, dogs, rats, camels, brumbies, hippies and arsonists. Timber getters, graziers, shooters, and bikers are locked out and burn-offs are over-regulated and seldom approved. A heavy fuel load soon accumulates, fire breaks are neglected, access tracks become blocked, and national parks become noxious neighbors.
It is obvious to all except those wearing green spectacles that today's National Parks and Carbon Forests are a danger to their surrounds and bad for the environment. Government land protectionism has failed — we need to hope that these tinder boxes are de-risked by fire in the current bushfire season and at least half of them are restored to private management, usage, or ownership.
Forget distractions like "man-made global warming." There is nothing unusual about droughts or hot winds or bushfires. Today's problem is "man-made super-fires."
YouTube screen grab.
Land and fire management must return to past practices of generations of landowners, black and white — we must fight fire with fire. Burn weeds, regrowth, and undergrowth regularly in late winter, subject to approval from only immediate neighbors and the local fire warden.