A Burning Question – Fuel reduction burns how much, what and where?
Some points made at the Bushfires Royal Commission LAND & FUEL EXPERT FORUM, by experts Phil Cheney, former head of CSIRO Bushfire Research, Dr Ross Bradstock,Professor Mark Adams, Dr Michael Clarke, Mr Jerry Williams,Dr Kevin Tolhurst and Dr Malcolm Gill ( Monday 22 February 2010).
‘Our current system has failed; expansion to bigger and better suppression systems is going to fail …It is not effective to apply a target across the state … due to the large range of different fuel types, rates of fuel accumulation, and geographies. … So that around some towns, fuel reduced areas may need to be 100 metres and others three kilometres deep’
‘Our big challenge in the overall management is persuading all levels of government to take the appropriate action to reduce the fuels not only in the public lands but across other areas, including towns and private forest. … Some towns carry more fuel than the forest around them – as happened in Canberra - it is not surprising that the town burns.’
‘The most important fuel level is right around the house. …(so we) also need to modify the fuel in the built environment… with the introduction of deciduous hardwoods which don't drop a lot of leaf fall in summer and some fleshy-type plants.’