Water won't stop wildfires. Fire will.

In a furious firestorm with high winds, extreme temperature and big loads of dry fuel, water bombing is usually just wasting water and avgas.  In hot winds, water will evaporate quickly, embers will start glowing and blowing, and soon the fire will be raging again.

With few dams getting built, and much stored water released to irrigate the oceans, where will they get the water?  Too often, they will steal it from private dams, leaving prudent landowners with inadequate water in a drought.

Water can extinguish house fires and protect homes and towns, but is useless for raging forest fires.  The only solution here is to fight fire with fire — back burning from the wide cleared tracks that should protect every park, forest and property.

The best fire insurance is to keep tracks and firebreaks clear and conduct regular cool-season burn-offs, especially in national parks.  And stop creating fire hazards by locking up more land.

Don't blow money on more water bombers — we need more back-burning, more boots and tires on the ground, and more graded tracks.

And we should build more dams.

Viv Forbes is executive director of the Saltbush Club.  He has had long experience of bushfires in Queensland and N.T. — lighting, fighting and cleaning up after them.

Some Reading:

Water could not quench "The Fire with Nine Lives":


Image: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr.

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