Sunday, February 15, 2009

Urban opinions put rural dwellers at risk for catastrophic fire; Australia; 2/12/09

Bushfire management: where to from here On Line opinion - Australia
A second issue is that people who live in the bush (and here I am targeting the so-called “tree-changers” who have moved into rural areas from the city), must learn more about bushfire behaviour, bushfire preparedness and damage mitigation. For example there is a basic law of bushfire physics understood by almost no one outside the fire community: a four-fold increase in fire intensity occurs with every doubling in the tonnage of fuel on the ground. If you are living adjacent to a national park which has not been burnt for 20 years and is carrying 30 tonnes of leaf litter, twigs, dry trash and tree bark, then you need to know that if a fire gets into this stuff the fire brigade will most likely be unable to put it out. Furthermore, the fire will throw spot fires miles downwind, and if these land in long unburnt fuel the result with be a coalescence of small fires into a massive fire, totally destructive and utterly unstoppable.

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