Bushfires in Australia

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keithsloan52
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby keithsloan52 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:14 pm

Stay safe Jim and hope your property survives okay especially given it is only the start of the bush fire season.
Mankind on itself isn't in danger, even if each human life loss is drama and is one too many. Endemic species are a treasure that it would be terrible to lose.
Not sure that is true
Runaway greenhouse effect. The runaway greenhouse effect is used in astronomical circles to refer to a greenhouse effect that is so extreme that oceans boil away and render a planet uninhabitable, an irreversible climate state that happened on Venus.
I think we are nearer to the point that a lot of "positive" feedback situations kick in that increase even more the CO2 in the atmosphere
  • more wildfires
  • thawing if tundra in artic
  • etc
to the point where the growth of CO2 outpaces our ability to reduce. This report https://www.earth-syst-sci-data.net/11/1783/2019/updated November last year show that whilst some countries have been able to cut the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are still growing. The problems are also in the oceans . Great barrier reef looks like it is a lot of trouble https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558- ... ardian.com
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yorik
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby yorik » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:03 am

We are destroying our planet really so word censored fast...
Stay safe Jim!
jmaustpc
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby jmaustpc » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:43 am

Exciting news! It rained here yesterday, it's now the second day in a row where the smoke has gone away. I can breath outside without a mask! :) The smoke has been obnoxious here for weeks/months with only a very few partly clear days.

The Gospers Mountain fire is the largest of the fires east of me, (west and north west of Sydney), it started in October 2019 and was officially announced as "contained" (still burning but contained) a few days ago (i.e. January 2020, burnt for about two and a half months). 512 thousand hectares burnt from a single point of ignition which is apparently a world record. Multiply hectares by about 2.5 to get the figure in acres. most of the fires around it eventually burnt into each other. The total area burnt by that fire and a hand full of others in just that bit of bush west/north west/north of Sydney, about 900 thousand hectares. Which is interesting as that is about the same as the total of the recent Amazon bush fires or the Californian fires. That is just one group of fires. There were of course many others including one south of that, hence south west of Sydney and then a series in three or so groups with small gaps going all the way down to and across the Victorian/NSW border. Sydney to the state border on the coast is about 500km. There are many more elsewhere of course. I don't know the total burnt is right now, but by following the area burnt by the currently active fires over time (from the NSW RFS website below), the highest I noticed was over 4.15 million hectares, so that means that is not including any fires that had been extinguished at that time nor the extra burnt since then. So my guess is something like 4 and a half million hectares must be about right, but that is only for the state of NSW.

If anyone is curious this link is to the NSW rural Fire Service "fires near me" map. The fires shown and currently active fires for the state of NSW.

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-informa ... es-near-me

There were at different times less than 10 fires reasonably near my place that were all put out before any got larger than a few 10s or 100s of hectares. The closest I think was about 11km away. That might seem a long way, but during one of those "catastrophic" fire weather days, 11km is not very far, one of my mates said the fire that hit them had travel 30km over one night. On a day when the wind is gusting to perhaps 80km/hr, the temperature is over 45 degrees centigrade and the wind has travelled something like one thousand or more kilometres across the hot dry outback and hence has a near zero humidity.....plus a dry and a considerably large fuel load ....put that together and you hope like hell that no fires start because if they do start, they are not likely to stop for anything.

Anyway, right now I am feeling like the worst is over, but logically I know that this is still early in our fire season and all this rain will dry out in a week or so of hot summer weather ....so we will see.

As far as why it happened etc. you will all likely see all sorts of simplistic garbage talked. The truth is that it is complex and all comments are true to some extent with caveats etc. even the contradictions.

Some general points for perspective
1) our Prime Minister ....what can I say about someone who, amongst several other things, went on holidays to Hawaii while his country burnt!
2) it is just a simple fact that this was made worse and statistically more likely to happen due to the long term average effects of climate change (including an increase in extreme weather events) which have been previously predicted and are currently measured and hence shown to exist.
3) although it is true that in some cases more clearing around some houses was needed and some more hazard reduction burning may have help in some limited situations, however when the weather is as extreme as it was and hence the fires were so intense only areas burnt less than 12 months ago made any difference to the spread of these fires, it just simply raced straight through areas burnt 2 years ago. Most if not all, "greenies" including the political party "The Greens" all understand that the Australian bush needs to burn on a regular basis and has some plants that only seed after they have been burnt, and that the wildlife and the bush is best served by having regular low intensity fires.
4) the number of animals killed and the risk to "populations" or "species" as distinct from just a few individual animals is due to the scale and ferocity/intensity of these fires rather than bushfires in a general sense. Most animals and plants have adapted to the regular common "normal" fires.

Anyway there is so much more I could say but I have already likely written too much so I will just end with some "good stuff", the amount of countries who have sent firefighters/other people to help is very much appreciated. The donations and other help from many foreign and Australian companies and individual people have also been generous, many organisations have received orders of magnitude more than they hoped for.

Thank you to all of you for your good wishes.
:D

Jim
JiPe38
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby JiPe38 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:01 pm

I propose to create an australian-european fire brigade, able to be displaced by boat (ro-ro) for the vehicles and water bomber planes, and plane for the firefighters. Two times a year, the brigade would be shifted to be positionned in summer in the right hemisphere. No doubt that young people with no family charges would be glad to live this life for some years. You could ask your prime minister to contact european commission to apply this principle, when he comes back from his vacations.
triplus
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby triplus » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:09 am

Stay safe and for sure it is devastating to watch all the people, animals and nature getting affected and destroyed in such way.
jmaustpc
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby jmaustpc » Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:39 am

Hi all
I thought this post might help explain why I have been a bit stressed about these fires this time.

If you want to see what it is like for an Aussie farmer who decided (wrongly) to stay and try to protect his house, watch this video. You will likely understand why I decided my plan was an early evacuation rather than attempting to fight the fire on a day like that. I had some days like that, with strong winds and a temperature over 45 deg. C. Thankfully the fires anywhere near me came on less excessive days and were put out while still small. These people are on Kangaroo Island in SA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQAHupUy9w8

These guys very nearly die but they make it, watch until the end.

They manage to save one of their utes with their portable petrol pump (that some how kept going), their mates turn up with another ute with water and a pump on the back and then they all leave. When a bad fire comes, we are told either leave early or stay inside the most secure building you can until the fire front has passed then get out and put out the fires still burning if you can. Staying like that is extremely dangerous with these excessively intense fires, a lot of people are killed in that scenario, however you have a better chance than being caught out in a vehicle. You will quite likely find trees/power lines across the road then you are trouble even in a smaller fire. Note that when they stop to clear the tree, they don't know where to park because those sticks/logs/branches on the road when they are stopping are on fire.

You of course can not see the radiant heat in the video, these people were lucky because as bad as it was, the fire was not as bad as it has been elsewhere. These bush fires can generate extremely high temperatures, well over the melting point of Aluminium (from memory that is 660 deg C).

I think many of you would have seen this next video, as I think it has been on the TV news around the world. This shows a fast moving fire front catching some fire engines/crews by surprise and burning over them as they put up a blanket to try to stop the heat. These were Aus$700,000.00 each NSW suburban fire engines of the NSW professional fire brigades not the volunteer rural fire brigades so the truck did not have a water spray flash over protection system, hence they were very lucky to survive. The "other' fire engine died, but the fire fighters apparently put on their breathing masks with air tanks and somehow managed to get out, but their truck was totally destroyed, the aluminium components melted and flowed like water. The truck that took the video managed to keep going long enough to get a few kilometres up the road before it died, the crew were picked up by another truck and went straight back to pick up the other team. There are many versions of this, but here is the first in the search results on Youtube....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvy2siEwOZ0

If anyone is interested, this video shows the Victorian Country Fire Authority recently testing the effectiveness of flash over crew protection systems in realistic conditions by putting a bunch of fire vehicles in the bush and then igniting it. They measure the heat and say it topped out at 728 deg C in that test.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ONQSjkRWi8

Anyway I will leave it at that.

Jim
jmaustpc
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby jmaustpc » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:27 am

JiPe38 wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:01 pm
I propose to create an australian-european fire brigade, able to be displaced by boat (ro-ro) for the vehicles and water bomber planes, and plane for the firefighters. Two times a year, the brigade would be shifted to be positionned in summer in the right hemisphere. No doubt that young people with no family charges would be glad to live this life for some years. You could ask your prime minister to contact european commission to apply this principle, when he comes back from his vacations.
Your post is kind and deserves a specific response....

Firstly this has already be happening, sort of, for decades. Canada and USA and Australia have been sending teams in our off seasons to help out the others for a long time. Note that New Zealand also does this, and Singapore. This is just all just from my memory so is not complete...

Papua New Guinea and Fiji have also sent substantial teams out here this year. :)

Of the, I think it is 176 fire fighting aircraft used in Australia, most of the large expensive ones are just leased, the large Jet tankers and the Sky Crane helicopters at least. These are used in the northern hemisphere in their season and then come down here for ours.

The big problem from climate change is that our fire seasons can now over lap. In the last few years we have had more and more trouble getting them out here early enough.

Technically these fires here now started before, or at least very early in, our "normal" fire season.

Similarly the government of Australian state of Queensland (in the tropical north of Australia) announced that this year for the first time the fire and cyclone seasons have overlapped.

Also in our "off" season, we need to be doing hazard reduction burns so we need to keep most equipment for that.

So unfortunately its a genuinely nice thought but just not practical. :)

Jim
chrisb
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby chrisb » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:19 am

Hi Jim,
thanks for sharing this again, and very glad to hear again that you are still safe. The first video was the most impressive for me. Of course the video cannot transport the feeling of the heat inside the house, but the heavy breathing says it all - very frightening.

Very interesting as well to see these crew protection systems, I never heard of any such things here. This special technique evolved with the special needs of your country. And if I see that the crew has to cover under a blanket while sitting in a truck at more than 35 degrees it transports again a tiny little bit of how unbelievable hot people may feel in such situations.

Stay safe!
jmaustpc
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby jmaustpc » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:31 am

chrisb wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:19 am
thanks for sharing this again, and very glad to hear again that you are still safe
thanks Chris, its been emotionally draining as it has just gone on and on, I tend to forget just how long, I was just now searching for this particular video and was noticing the dates of some of the others, they were longer ago that I had remembered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K_B8Qv2EO8

This video above is an interview with a couple who were extremely lucky to survive, they were in fact literally a few seconds from death. It's an example of how the house, then the garage managed to protect them just long enough from the main fire front to pass over such that when the house then the garage burst into flame they got out and where the fire had already burnt.

Now I will leave it at that. :)

Jim
Philip Rayment
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Re: Bushfires in Australia

Postby Philip Rayment » Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:16 pm

jmaustpc wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:39 am
If you want to see what it is like for an Aussie farmer who decided (wrongly) to stay and try to protect his house, watch this video.
In Victoria before the 2009 Black Saturday fires that killed 173 people, advice had been that if you are well prepared, you can stay and defend your house. As you mentioned, part of the rationale is that the fire will pass before the house really catches alight, so you're safe there while it's going through, then you can come out and put out what fire still remains. One part of being prepared, though, is to cover windows, as the radiant heat from outside can start a fire inside the house. I was surprised that the video showed large unprotected windows, although the situation was probably helped by not having a lot to burn really close to the house.

After Black Saturday, that advice changed somewhat, as those fires were so intense that even people who were prepared didn't make it. It does depend on the fire though.

And I know of homes in the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires that were prepared with water pumps and sprays, but they were run by electricity, and the fires cut off the power in the area...

If anyone is interested, this video shows the Victorian Country Fire Authority recently testing the effectiveness of flash over crew protection systems in realistic conditions by putting a bunch of fire vehicles in the bush and then igniting it. They measure the heat and say it topped out at 728 deg C in that test.
I know they put a lot of effort into that after the Ash Wednesday fires in which twelve volunteer fire fighters died (as mentioned just over a minute into that video). Fire fighting must be the world's most dangerous volunteer task, and I have the utmost respect for the volunteers. I have been to the place in Upper Beaconsfield where they died, and it's easy to imagine how it happened. They were only about 200 metres from a sealed town road, but on a dirt track in a nature reserve near the head of a valley that the fire would have been funnelling up. It was in reference to the fires around that town that I first heard the term "firestorm" to describe the intensity of the fires.

If anyone is curious this link is to the NSW rural Fire Service "fires near me" map. The fires shown and currently active fires for the state of NSW.
Here is the Victorian equivalent: https://www.emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/

As far as why it happened etc. you will all likely see all sorts of simplistic garbage talked. The truth is that it is complex and all comments are true to some extent with caveats etc. even the contradictions.
I agree with that, but I think that a lot of the criticism of the Prime Minister has been political more than anything, and climate change comments tend to be in the same category. Yes, the weather changes over periods of decades, but it tends to cycle, too. Recent NASA satellite data shows that the total area burnt by fires around the globe has been going down.
I'm also not so convinced about the Green's attitudes. Yes, no doubt their policies provide for fuel reduction. But the overall message tends to discourage it. I can't directly blame the Greens, but just opposite our home was a vacant property of an acre or so with literally hundreds of trees on it that was burnt in the Ash Wednesday fires. The trees were burnt, but it wasn't really intense there, and they recovered. About a year later, the (new?) owner built a house on the property, ... and planted even more trees!