“And of course there were ignitions by the fistful. Lightning kindled some fires, but most emanated from a register of casual incendiarists that reads like a roster of rural Australia: settlers, graziers, prospectors, splitters, mineworkers, arsonists, loggers and mill bushmen, hunters looking to drive game, fishermen hoping to open up the scrub around the streams, foresters unable to contain controlled burns, bush residents seeking to ward off wildfire by protective fire, travellers and transients of all kinds.
This month marks the 55th anniversary of the worst fires experienced in the Bellinger Valley since European settlement. The late spring and early summer of 1968 was one of the worst fire seasons experienced in New South Wales. Spring was exceptionally dry in coastal areas, with Sydney only receiving 29.5 mm for the season, easily the driest on record.
Because the forestry profession is far from simple and the work highly variable, I have tried to describe what a forester does by outlining the development of the profession in Australia. In Part 1, I outlined the broad principles of forestry and the development of the forestry profession up until WWII.… Read more
“But there is a sad symbolism in the tragedy of the burning bush capital, for Canberra was not merely sited in the political middle ground between Sydney and Melbourne but in an environmental middle ground between two Australia’s: that of the bush and that of the metropolis. When slammed together, the matter and anti-matter of Australian ecology are likely to explode.… Read more
“The dead ash forests reach starkly towards the sky like sentinels bearing witness to the holocaust just past, and those who love the bush are heavy hearted because this may be only the beginning of what is yet to come.” David Treasure, 2007
Since 1939, the high-country forests in Victoria were relatively free of devastating wildfires.… Read more