Doomed Planet

Beset by Flames and Flim-Flammery

HEROES SAVE US – That’s the headline on our local Noosa paper, superimposed over a dramatic photograph of a lone fire fighter directing a puny stream of water from a hose into an advancing wall of flame at Peregian Beach. It’s a term which can be over-used, along with “amazing” and “miraculous,” but in this case, all totally accurate. In a scene straight out of Dante’s Inferno, flames and embers fanned by winds gusting to 50 knots suddenly threatened thousands of homes at Peregian Beach and other coastal centres to the north towards Noosa on the evening of September 9.

While the firies put their lives on the line to save homes, a couple of motorcycle cops and others in a car braved the flames sweeping across access roads to rouse residents from their beds and direct them to safety. Their dramatic body-cam footage  showed just how horrendous the situation was, as the load hailer message “Evacuate now!” filled the night air.

From our coastal home, only about 6km from the fire front, my wife and I could see the glow lighting the sky.  We were receiving fire emergency text messages telling us to be prepared to leave:  “Watch and act”. That night we heard news reports that ten homes had been lost at Peregian. There was also a rumour that the service station in the small coastal village had been consumed by the flames. We went to bed late for a worrying and endured a mainly sleepless night.

Fortunately, as Tuesday dawned, we heard the previous night’s news had been clarified – only one home had been destroyed, another seriously damaged, and several others affected to some degree. No lives had been lost and the service station had been saved. We remained in the firing line, however, the fire was still raging, but the strong, cold winds moved from Monday’s north westerlies to south easterlies – better for us, but putting other settlements further inland at risk.

During the day, from our roof deck we could see the constant stream of fire-fighting helicopters hovering in the smoke above the fire front and dumping their water loads, but the flames continued to advance through the extensive national park forests. Then, that afternoon the converted Boeing 737 fire-bomber arrived from New South Wales and dumped its 15,000 litres of pink fire retardant ahead of the inferno. And again, miraculously, within about an hour, we could literally see the thick plumes of smoke start to diminish. Hallelujah!  That night we slept more easily, and by Wednesday it was pretty obvious that it was all over, Red Rover! That morning, about 5000 residents who had been forced to evacuate were allowed back to their homes among scorched earth and gardens.

But the fire risk remains high and it is apparent how “touch and go” the situation was at the height of the emergency. The firies had drawn a defensive line in the sand at Peregian’s Woodland Drive. Their very real fear was if the flames had skipped that, the dunal forest terrain to the north would sweep the flames right through Marcus and Castaways beaches onto Sunrise and beyond, potentially as far as the tourist mecca of Noosa. Catastrophe averted!

Not unexpectedly the fires here, in the Gold Coast hinterland, other parts of Queensland and New South Wales, have sparked the usual outcry from some media commentators and politicians blaming “climate change”.  This includes the Greens’ Adam Bandt and even Jackie Trad in her short role as acting premier. Well, climate change doesn’t provide matches or lighters, and the real tragedy is that the Peregian fire and a number of others appear to have been deliberately, or so police allege. Two teenagers have been charged with starting the Peregian blaze and police have set up a special task force to investigate, with about ten outbreaks  identifiedso far as having been maliciously or negligently ignited.

Executive director of climate sceptic group The Saltbush Club, Viv Forbes, says: “Bushfires are normal events in this season in tropical and sub-tropical latitudes of the southern hemisphere – in Australia, Africa and South America. Even Captain Cook noted many fires in Eastern Australia in 1770, long before the era of ‘global warming’ hysteria. What is unusual is the number and ferocity of recent Australian fires.

“Destructive bushfires need three things – a big load of dry fuel, hot dry winds and a point of ignition. A big load of dry fuel, close to towns and buildings, in this season, is a sign of gross mis-management … That fuel should have been raked, dozed or burnt in safer weather conditions.

 “But how do 100+ bushfires start suddenly? Machinery occasionally starts fires, but not 120 fires in a short time. “There have been no lightning storms, so who are the arsonists or idiots starting these fires?”

The group boasts a widely diverse membership, and says it “aims to change the climate of public opinion, thus changing the political agenda” on climate change.

 But “idiots” seems a mild term for the fire bugs, given the risk to lives, property and defenceless slaughtered and maimed wildlife. While kids might be responsible for “accidentally” starting some fires, one has to wonder at the motivation of any adult or teenager old enough to know right from wrong.

The punishment should fit the crime.

John Mikkelsen was the editor of the Gladstone Observer

5 thoughts on “Beset by Flames and Flim-Flammery

  • en passant says:

    Shouldn’t the title read ‘Flim-Flannery?
    In what are called ‘Black Flag’ operations those wishing to promote their catastrophist agenda are the most likely suspects. They deliberately create catastrophes so they can claim they were right and promote their agenda.
    We now live in a New Dark Green Age of anti-human, anti-civilisation and anti-rational behaviour created by an education system that promotes fallacies and cultish belief systems that defy logic and observed reality.
    About 5-years ago an arsonist in the USA set a fire that killed several people. He was caught after his DNA was found on an incendiary device he had planted failed to ignite. He was sentenced to death (but later commuted to life without parole) despite his lack of remorse.
    How many of the arsonists caught after the 179 deaths resulting from ‘Black Saturday’ in Victoria are still in prison? How many Dark Greens (who prevented cool weather burn-offs in Victoria this winter) are languishing in prison now? How many people will burn to death in Victoria this summer as a result of the cold, wet winter and spring we have just had that will cause a huge early summer growth in vegetation in our forests? How many Dark Green Mayors of country towns opposing burn-offs will be convicted next year for conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and predictable destruction of property when the inevitable happens?
    How long before Ian MacBot posts another diatribe about about this article citing rising seas and climate change? Some things are inevitable and Dark Green catastrophes created by inner city muppets and a MacBot comment triggered by the words ‘climate change’ are among them.

  • ianl says:

    The really dangerous periods for bushfire arson are spring/early summer episodes of high, hard westerly or north-westerly winds following a dry winter. NW are the worst as they are warmer (straight off the desert) and dry out the undergrowth very rapidly. It’s no accident that these Q’ld/NSW fires all started in a period of very high westerly winds, no dry lightning.

    These winds run the fire faster than one may imagine, causing the flammable eucalypt vapour to explode as the firefront crown-jumps ahead on burning, wind-borne debris. Quite a thrill for those affected by this pathology.

    One such arson episode came within 50m of destroying my family and home so I took a detailed look at the pattern involved. The pathological malice of the person responsible, when defending the arson charge in court, was amazing in its’ unrepentant intensity.

    Another charming young gentleman was caught flying a large box kite over the forest canopy during a firestorm. The kite had a kerosene drip tail.

    This pathology is really scary, so the MSM deal with it mostly by avoiding reference. This helps the arsonists hide.

  • IainC says:

    “…a couple of motorcycle cops and others in a car braved the flames sweeping across access roads to rouse residents from their beds…” I saw some helmet-cam footage on the news of them doing this – truly astonishing.
    It’s no comfort for those who suffer from bushfires, I know, but if you are being accosted by some who knows beyond all doubt that fires are getting worse globally, perhaps you could point them in the direction of some actual science. For example NASA has released a long term study which showed that, in terms of global burnt area, there has been “…a decrease in the total number of square kilometers burned each year. Between 2003 and 2019, that number has dropped by roughly 25 percent.”
    ( link here: The original paper about this work appeared in the prestigious journal Science (N. Andela et al., “A human-driven decline in global burnt area” Science, 356 p 1356-1362 (2017)), and can be downloaded for free if of interest. The advantage of these references is that they cannot be dismissed as “published by obscure denialist blogs”, and you can truthfully, with a slight smirk to be sure, boast that you are indeed “following the science”.
    (When I arrived in Australia in November 1964, aged 5, and thrillingly found myself accommodated in a small flat next to a saw mill (oh, joy!) in Montmorency, THAT VERY SUMMER there was a rampaging bushfire that tore towards us and somehow stopped just short in Briar Hill. My parents, who had been evacuated in the UK for the duration of the war, must have thought “here we go again!” Welcome to Australia, sunshine!)

  • Les Kovari says:

    Maybe, just maybe, this is a case for redefining the term “free speech”. At the moment we tend to brush away all the maligned agenda spreading fear because we need to preserve the right to say those things. However, we are now at a point in history where we allow beliefs striking root in our daily life that many years ago would have been rejected outright for being undesirable, downright foolish or even malignant. We keep ridiculing climate alarmists but not one scientist stands up to them. Governments are wasting money on climate change policies but nobody stands up and says-enough is enough, stop this nonsense. There is a whole new industry, solar panels, are on the rise to flood the nation with cheap panels, based on the growing hysteria of using renewable energy sources. Who is game enough to stand up and tell Scomo, you can’t control the climate, it is controlled by the Sun. It is almost too late now.

  • Biggles says:

    Our security forces keep a watch (we hope) on potential terrorists in Australia. Perhaps we should keep a watch on suspected arsonists; surely the authorities should know at least some of them.

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