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Byron Shire
September 27, 2021

Whipping up fear of fire

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James Blackett, Myocum

Despite the fact that not one house has been destroyed by bushfire in Byron Shire in the history of the shire (140 years) we are being fed information that we are continually under threat .

The facts are that devastating bushfires are nourished by three factors:

1. high temperatures for a long period – over 44 deg

2. low humidity

3. high winds.

These conditions are not spontaneous in Byron Shire for a lot of reasons. The cost of complying with a high-probability fire regime suitable for other parts of Australia where devastating fires are a certainty is unjustified by facts in our low- to negligible-risk environment .

The situation is such that the media and the SES whip up fear to make news and empire-build, pressuring the council to react .

They have convinced council their fire trucks now require a 4m-wide driveway rather than the traditional 3m. Serious money.

The idea that a house DA be rejected because of fire risk is absurd yet we are told the BSC planners are in that space.

The idea that eucalypts in Byron (wet sclerophyll forest) should not be planted near buildings because of fire risk is again absurd. The facts are there has never been a “crowning” eucalypt fire in Byron Shire. Instant fire “consultants” (TAFE part-time qualification) are quoting over $800 to provide a now-mandatory report to BSC on threats to rural acreage on all DAs – another earn for consultants.

Perversely, a high risk of grass fires due to many degraded paddocks not being farmed, grazed or slashed goes unpublicised. Similarly the melting of plastic tanks and plumbing in such grass fires should limit their use in a rural environment . I ask that all those ‘new’ to the shire and to our country, including the incoming GM and local firefighters, become educated by those who do know – firstly our Aboriginals and White historians and forestry scientists, Frank Mills and others.


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