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It’s not how big your burn is, but where you put it

By johnboy - 3 May 2010 9

The ANU informs us that their research shows merely torching as many hectares as possible is no fire prevention substitute for targeting areas where the burn will do the most good:

The researchers question whether widespread fuel-reduction burning is as protective as it is widely believed to be. They report modelling that shows it is not the total area burnt that really matters, but the location of the fuel-reduction burns.

“It seems that burning within 100 metres or so of the urban fringe can have a strong protective effect, but randomly located burns have very little or no protective effect, even when a very high proportion of the landscape is burnt annually,” Dr Driscoll says. “Very frequent burning – say, more than once every five or ten years in eucalypt forests and woodlands – can eliminate native species from the area. So, minimising the area that is frequently burnt is a win for biodiversity. If that frequently burnt area is strategically located next to housing, then it is likely to have a protective effect.”

So there you go.

What’s Your opinion?


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9 Responses to
It’s not how big your burn is, but where you put it
frank2112 7:32 pm 04 May 10

gp said :

I initially read the title as “bum” not “burn”….

I thought it was just me!!!

sepi 11:46 am 04 May 10

CSIRO has a team of guys that actually go out and light fires and get in amongst it video taping and analysing the results.

I think any an d all research into bushfires is worthwhile.

Clown Killer 10:57 am 04 May 10

Another option is to have residential areas entirely circumscribed by farm land, which will be regularly cleared of fuels through grazing and mechanical removal of dead wood

On a january afternoon seven years ago I watched as fire raced across hectares of grazed farmland. No reall visible fire or even a lot of smoke. It was just the ground turning from dusty beige to black as the fire raced across the fields towards Canberra’s western edge.

p1 9:43 am 04 May 10

I just love models. Fire and smoke in a heat/shatter proof glass box can tell us heaps about not a lot!

In this case statistical and mathematical models. While very limited, in this case the alternative is what?

Ceej1973 12:00 am 04 May 10

I just love models. Fire and smoke in a heat/shatter proof glass box can tell us heaps about not a lot!

gp 5:28 pm 03 May 10

I initially read the title as “bum” not “burn”….

p1 4:43 pm 03 May 10

Did you even read the article, let alone the paper?

+1

While the article didn’t focus on alternatives to burning (like cows), it seemed pretty squarely opposed to being ….stuck in the “fight fire with fire” mentality.

tiliqua 3:44 pm 03 May 10

Did you even read the article, let alone the paper?

From the article…
“There seems to be an ingrained belief that we have to fight fire with fire, but that’s only part of the solution,” Dr Driscoll says. “To make rational decisions about fire management we need to put all of the options on the table, including fire management, engineering solutions, and social solutions.”

And from the paper:
“in this article we first identify fire management practices that might conflict with a policy of ecological sustainability, and then develop a rational decision-making approach that can evaluate conflicting objectives.”

Grail 3:14 pm 03 May 10

A better way of protecting assets from destruction in forest fires is to not plant firewood right next to your assets. The residents of Duffy are aware of that now. Another option is to have residential areas entirely circumscribed by farm land, which will be regularly cleared of fuels through grazing and mechanical removal of dead wood. This will have the added bonus of reducing the carbon miles required to get farm produce into our kitchens.

Neither of those issues is raised in that paper. The authors are still stuck in the “fight fire with fire” mentality.

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