Letters to the Editor-Tuesday,November 19:Bushfires not early

JOHN Edwards makes some very misleading claims (DEX 11/11), stating that there has never been bushfires this early in what we all know (well, not all apparently) is the beginning of the bushfire season.

I would advise DEX readers to fire up their computers and type in Appendix D Fire History in Australia to discover just how far off track John Edwards is trying to lead us.

September/October bushfires have been consistent on the Australian continent since whenever, with the occasional August fire thrown in.

In October 1918, a massive fire raged across a vast area of central Queensland, resulting in five deaths and the loss of 100,000 sheep; October 1926 saw eight dead and two million hectares destroyed on the NSW north coast and Newcastle district; September/August fires in 1940/1941 took out 120,000ha; September 1968 saw the south coast take the brunt of devastating fires that destroyed two million hectares and took 14 lives.

There were many more September/October fires from the 1950s through to the 1990s that destroyed homes and property and took lives. The early 2000s also had its share, with 1.6 million hectares of national park and grazing land lost in October 2001, and 2002 saw 40,000ha burnt out, one death and 10 houses lost.

And, of course, we can't escape the October 15, 2009, headline in the Northern Star that read: Bushfires rage on the north coast, reporting on fires that were raging throughout the Clarence Valley, one in particular that seriously endangered the villages of Brooms Head and the Sandon.

As for the claim by John Edwards that fire chiefs favoured climate change as the cause of the most recent devastating fires, well, a very large pinch of salt should go with that one.

The majority of firies on the ground said it as it was - an overload of fuel that had been allowed to build up over years due to the restrictive policies of environmental groups.

Until those restrictive policies are dumped in the waste basket, Australia will always be at risk of devastating fires.

Fred Perring,
Halfway Creek.

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