Tim Flannery’s climate muppet show of retired, city-based fire chiefs might be dutifully chirping along from the alarmist hymn sheet, but the people actually fighting the fires see it differently. The environmental lobby is desperately denying that “green tape” led directly to the catastrophic build-up of vegetation that is fuelling the mega-fires. Firies beg to differ.

The Volunteer Firefighters Association (VFFA), the body representing the Voice of Volunteer Rural Firefighters in NSW refutes the claim by green alarmists that climate change is the cause of the recent bushfires in New South Wales.

So, where are the firefighters pointing the finger?

The VFFA is angered by comments from the green lobby groups that tackling climate change was more important than prescribed burning of forest fuels to reduce bushfire risk. The real blame rests with the greens and their ideology as they continue to oppose and undermine our efforts to conduct hazard reduction in the cooler months and to prevent private landowners from clearing their lands to reduce bushfire risk.

Hazard reduction is the only proven management tool rural firefighters have to reduce the intensity and spread of bushfires and this has been recognised in numerous bushfire enquires since the Stretton enquiry into the 1939 Victorian Bushfires.

The 2009 Black Saturday commission reinforced the message:

Prescribed burning is one of the main tools for fire management on public land. it cannot prevent bushfire, but it decreases fuel loads and so reduces the spread and intensity of bushfires. By reducing the spread and intensity of bushfires, it also helps protect flora and fauna. Ironically, maintaining pristine forests untouched by fuel reduction can predispose those forests to greater destruction in the event of a bushfire.

The Greens are trying to frantically re-write history by insisting that they support hazard reduction burning. What they don’t say is that they make sure that hazard reduction is choked by green tape.

The amount of ‘green tape’ we have to go through to get a burn approved is beyond frustrating; says Peter Cannon [President of the VFFA]. The VFFA is calling on the NSW State Government to reduce the amount of green tape involved in planning and conducting hazard reductions, so that our Volunteer Firefighters can get on with the job of conducting fire prevention works in the cooler months to prevent the inevitable summer bushfire disasters that are now becoming a more regular feature […]To increase the area treated by prescribed burning on bushfire prone lands from the current level of less than 1% per annum to a minimum of 5% per annum, as recommended by the Victorian Royal Commission and many leading bushfire experts.


Prescribed burning is not the sole answer to Australia’s bushfire problem, but it’s one of the biggies. One way or the other, vegetation needs to be stopped from building up to catastrophic levels.

In the meantime, the green lobby needs to stop trying to falsely blame climate change. Trying to scare everyone with imaginary bogey-men is not just nonsense, it’s deadly nonsense.

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