Showing posts with label bushfires. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bushfires. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

What a backburn looked like in one section of a northern NSW mega fire


News.com.au, 8 December 2019:

2:26 pm December 8, 2019 

Photo perfectly captures firefighters' bravery 

Ally Foster 


A photo of three firefighters battling a blaze in NSW's north has earned praise from hundreds of social media users.
The picture shows National Parks and Wildlife Service fire fighters Matt McClelland, Ray Dayman and George Barrott-Brown working to backburn a fire in Washpool, near Grafton.

The men appear to be surrounded by flames as they face the blaze in front of them.

"Back burns are conducted as part of fire containment strategies, at the direction of the incident controller," the National Parks and Wildlife Service wrote on Facebook.
Picture: Kyle Gibson 
"While the photo gives the impression they are surrounded by fire, they are highly trained staff, working within safer burnt ground, with a clear path of retreat."
The incredible photo gained hundreds of comments, with many people thanking the men for their bravery.
"Just looks so overwhelming. You all do an amazing job, putting your own lives on the line to keep everyone else safe," one person said.
"You are all incredible and brave. Thanks for all your efforts," another wrote.
One added: "This photo taken by Kyle Gibson of a fire near Grafton NSW gets me choked up. The bravery of firefighters is unmeasurable."

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Even the Australian Bureau of Meteorology rain radars are finding they are impacted by NSW bushfires


This tweet is from the Director of ABC News on 6 December 2019:

Monday, 9 December 2019

Because the Morrison Government is dominated by closet climate change deniers Australia will soon have no friends in the South Pacific


First Prime Minister Scott Morrison's intransigent climate change denying cost Australia the goodwill of the smaller South Pacific islands.

Now his refusal to turn, face the facts of climate change and take meaningful action is highly likely to increase the severity of climate change impacts on our near neighbour and oldest regional ally, New Zealand.

The Times, 7 December 2019:

New Zealand’s retreating southern glaciers are facing a new threat: clouds of orange soot from bushfires in Australia. Scientists said that the ash which fell on the pristine snow this week from 1,200 miles away across the Tasman Sea could absorb more heat and melt snow faster this summer, as one climate disaster accelerates another.

Andrew Mackintosh, an expert on glaciers and climate at Monash University in Melbourne, said: “If it stays on the surface then it will certainly enhance melt. If fire frequency, ash and dust transport increase, there is a chance that this will hasten the demise of New Zealand glaciers.”

New Zealand has 3,173 glaciers, ranging in age from est. 18,000 years to est. 1.2 million years.

Around 8 February 2019 bushfire smoke from Tasmanian bushfires mixed with dust storm particles from the Australian mainland reached the south island of New Zealand, turning the surface area of affected glaciers pink.

By 10 November smoke was covering the entire south island and potentially dropping brown ash on up to 3,155 glaciers, with those affected glaciers now pinkish red.

On 11 November 2019 smoke from Australian bushfires potentially reached 18 glaciers in New Zealand's north island.

As the 2019 Australian east coast fire season is not expected to end before March if we are fortunate and June if we are not, in all probability New Zealand will experience more ash falls from across the Tasman Sea. 

Its citizens will be perfectly within their rights to shun Australia for its government's gross negligence.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Clarence Valley CWA branches doing their bit for firefighterd & bushfire victims


Grafton & South Grafton CWA branches are cooking for the firegrounds.

Clarence Valley Independent, 4 December 2019



The Maclean branch of the CWA has been busy sewing mittens and pouches for wildlife injured in the bushfires, using pure cotton and woollen materials donated by Clarence Valley residents.

Food Care at Good Intent Shopping Centre on Armidale Rd, South Grafton, which sells low cost food to those that need it, is also offering free of charge brand new clothing to fire victims. The store is open Wednesday, Thursday & Friday from 9am to 1pm.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan told he has ‘blood on his hands’


Echo NetDaily, 29 November 2019:


Around 200 people have joined together outside Kevin Hogan’s office in Lismore this morning declaring he has ‘blood on his hands’ as the federal government continues to refuse to take real action on climate change.
Red hand prints are covering the pavement and the front of Hogan’s office. Around 20 kids and students are currently in his office writing him letters about their climate concerns.The police have been in attendance and asked protestors to remove themselves from the road. They said that if protestors remain on the road they would be back with more staff.
One local parent with two children, Ivy Young, was there to point out that politicians need to listen to the experts on climate change and take action.
‘We live on Wallace Ridge which is the ridge dividing Tuntable and Terania Creeks. The fire got to within about two or three properties from us, about 5km up in the forest,’ Ivy told Echonetdaily.
‘I’m here today because I care. I see the urgency to act. I’m worried for the future. We have a window of time where we can actually take the steps to mitigate the worst effects of climate change before we reach tipping points where the sea levels rise and temperatures become too high for many of the places in the world to become habitable......

Few Liberal-Nationals politicians have ever understood the strength of community in the NSW Northern River region


Few Liberal-Nationals politicians have ever understood the strength of community in the NSW Northern Rivers region or the passion of locals to protect their families, neighbours, the land, rivers, forests and native animals from those who threaten all six. Including those who threaten by refusing to take meaningful action to mitigate climate change.

Here is yet another Northern Rivers resident speaking up.....

The Guardian, 2 December 2019:
Melinda Plesman stands with the remains of her burnt-out house, destroyed in the NSW bushfires, outside Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Melinda Plesman and her partner, Dean Kennedy, lost their family home of 35 years after bushfires tore through Nymboida, south of Grafton in NSW, last month.
Plesman said she wanted to show Scott Morrison the direct result of climate change.
“It’s happening now and this is what climate change looks like,” Plesman said.
“I’m losing my home, whole communities are losing their homes ... and the prime minister said we’re not allowed to talk about it.
“He said he was going to pray for us. And that was the last straw.”.....

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

The toll on New South Wales as of 1 December 2019 flowing from the Morrison Government's refusal to take meaningful action on climate change


If one looks at media records the year 2019 commenced with the odd isolated bushfire fire and continued in the same manner through to July when fire outbreaks began to increase. 

By early September major fire activity was occurring in the Clarence Valley and, by October it was obvious that northern NSW was going to go up in flames.

When November came along many other regions were also battling huge unprecedented bushfires.

The state toll as of 1 December 2019 was:


It is hard to calculate accurately - but at this time it appears that at least 36% to 38% of the 10,441 sq. km Clarence Valley Local Government Area has experienced bushfires, with est. 100 homes and two irreplaceable lives lost.

I hope that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, every member of his Cabinet, each and every Liberal and Nationals MP and Senator are proud of what their negligence over the last six years of Coalition rule has brought about.

The bushfires continue with no sign of stopping.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

When a frontpage montage goes horribly wrong


The Daily Examiner, Page One, 28 November 2019

Ghostly onlookers to an unfolding environmental and societal disaster - transparent bodies and a missing head turns this unacknowledged montage into a mockery of the current emergency.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

North Coast, Mid-North Coast and Northern Tablelands to have access to over $48 million for bushfire recovery, including grants of up to $15,000 each for eligible farmers



Sunday, 24 November 2019

Joint media release with the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, Hon John Barilaro MP, and Hon David Elliott MP – Community recovery package for farmers, small businesses and non-profit organisations in NSW communities hit by bushfires


  • $48.25 million North Coast, Mid North Coast and Northern Tableland recovery package
  • This includes $18.25 million for Community Recovery Fund for community projects and mental health
  • Recovery grants of up to $15,000 for farmers and small businesses
Farmers and small businesses on the North Coast, Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands that were hit by the recent NSW bushfires can now access recovery grants of up to $15,000.

Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the $15,000 grants would help bushfire affected communities get back to doing what they do best.
“Getting back to business is one of the best ways to bounce back,” Minister Littleproud said.
“This will make sure businesses can open and people are back to work sooner.
“When money flows around a community it can help to speed up the whole recovery.
“An $18.25 million Community Recovery Fund has also been set up for targeted community project grants and mental health support.
“The mental toll on the community, volunteers and emergency service staff can linger long after the fires and they will need ongoing support.
“In addition the targeted grants will be available for projects that help with the recovery and improve disaster resilience.”
Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian said that the assistance package is a commitment from both governments to not only assist the long term recovery effort of bushfire affected communities, but also the farming and business sectors by making available recovery grants of up to $15,000 to eligible primary producers and small businesses.
“The impact to communities has been evident over the last few weeks, however the extent of the impact to our farming and business sectors has not been fully quantified as these bushfires continue to burn.
“We also know the emotional impact a disaster like this can have on communities which is why we are committing $4.05 million to mental health services,” Premier Berejiklian said.

New South Wales Deputy Premier, John Barilaro said regional New South Wales is going through a difficult time with the drought biting hard and ferocious bushfires across the state.

“This funding is an important step towards helping communities recover and we will do everything we can to help regional families rebuild for the long run,” Mr Barilaro said.
New South Wales Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott said the State and Federal Governments are working together to help communities impacted by the recent bushfires get back on their feet as soon as possible.
“The Community Recovery Fund and the recovery grants will be targeted across three regions that have been identified as the worst affected,” Minister Elliott said.
Assistance is being provided through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

To apply for a recovery grant, primary producers and small businesses should contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit raa.nsw.gov.au. [my yellow highlighting]

Recovery grants are available in these local government areas: 
Armidale, Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Mid-Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, Tweed and Walcha.

Eligibility to apply for grants can be checked here.

Farmers are obviously not happy with these disaster recovery funding arrangements.....

ABCNews, 25 November 2019:

Farmers say a joint New South Wales and Federal government bushfire recovery package is a fraction of what will be needed to recover from what they say resembles a war zone....

The NSW Farmers Association CEO Peter Arkle said the bushfires have destroyed about 26,000 kilometres of fencing and that repair bill alone was estimated at about $300 million.

"The scale of this recovery task is immense and so we'll be looking to all levels of government to continue to support farmers and regional businesses to take on what will be a mammoth recovery task."

Beef and soybean producers David and Carolyn Duff had 30 year's worth of infrastructure destroyed at their "Toorooka" property west of Kempsey on the Mid North Coast.

"I suppose we're grateful for any assistance that we get initially and the sooner we can access the money the better off for us personally," Mr Duff said.

"But really in the scheme of things I mean the $15,000 to our business is going to be only a drop in the big bucket.

"We're faced with a boundary fence, replacement cost of up $220,000 — that's a rough guess.

"Fifteen thousand dollars will only replace 1 kilometre of 17 kilometres that we've estimated that we've lost, and there's probably 80 per cent of it totally wiped out.

"There may be 20 per cent of it that we can resurrect, patch up but that's not counting infrastructure, fences, yards, sheds and all that sort of thing."

The couple estimated their business has suffered an overall loss of up to $1.2 million on the property.

"I mean we lost 60 head of cattle which had to be euthanased by the LLS [Local Land Services]," Mr Duff said.

"It was very sad and it was very traumatic, our cattle are our livelihood and as any beef producer knows he hates to lose one let alone that many all at once.

"I don't think that Canberra really gets the enormity of the devastation and the effect that it has had on people like us — grassroots mum and dad and the kids — cattle people."....

Labor Leader Anthony Albanese has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison proposing he convene an emergency Council of Australian Governments meeting to examine Australia's preparedness for natural disasters given the November bushfires killed four people and destroyed hundreds of homes



The Australian, 25 November 2019, p.4:

Anthony Albanese has written to Scott Morrison proposing he convene an emergency Council of Australian Governments meeting to examine Australia’s preparedness for natural disasters given the bushfires that killed four people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

The Opposition Leader has requested that the meeting addresses issues including an action plan for climate change adaptation and greater investment in research on natural disaster response, recovery and mitigation.


Other issues flagged for debate include the development of a new national strategy for disaster preparedness, adequate funding for emergency services and national park services, an expansion of the capacity of Australia’s National Aerial Firefighting Centre as well as better measures to attract and retain volunteers.
Mr Albanese said the response needed to be led by the federal government and argued the effects of climate change meant Australia was now in “uncharted territory.” “Emergency leaders, including former fire chiefs, are telling us the scale of these bushfires is unprecedented. The fire season is starting earlier and finishing later, and emergency leaders agree that extreme weather events in Australia will only increase in severity and frequency, due to climate change,” Mr Albanese said.

“In my view, these circumstances require us, as leaders, to re-examine our nation’s preparedness for natural disasters. To facilitate that, I request that you call an urgent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, including state and local government leaders to firm up Australia’s natural disaster preparedness.” Mr Albanese tweeted a copy of his letter saying that climate change would mean “longer and more intense bushfire seasons.”......

Monday, 25 November 2019

NSW Northern Rivers bushfire victim: "If only I'd prayed more. Sorry ScoMo"


More than 600 homes have been destroyed by bushfires in NSW this fire season - with 503 of these burnt down in the last two weeks.

Since October six lives have been lost in the fires - two of these in the Clarence Valley.
A Northern Rivers family which lived in one of about 80 houses lost to bushfire in the Nymboida area left highly visible messages in the ashes of their home for that closet climate change denier, Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott 'thoughts & prayers' Morrison.




These images should come as no surprise nor their message:

"No climate catastrophe? F. U. ScoMo"

"Quiet Aussies lead to homes on fire"

"If only I'd prayed more Sorry ScoMo"

"Thoughts & Prayers vs Action!! ScoMo = SloMo"

"Noisy Australian PROUD OF IT!"

One of the characteristics of Northern Rivers communities has always been their willingness to take the fight straight to the those in political power who they believe threaten their families, their way of life and the land on which they live.

The Mackay family demonstrated this after the blaze ripped through Nymboida leaving two of its members with only the clothes on their backs.

*Images found at 7 News.

Map animation of fires in the NSW Northern Rivers region from 2 October to 20 November 2019


Multiple bushfires in the Clarence Valley began in August 2019. 

Sunday, 24 November 2019

In November 2019 NASA tracked smoke from NSW & Qld bushfires as far as the middle of the Pacific Ocean and beyond



NASA’s satellite instruments are often the first to detect wildfires burning in remote regions, and the locations of new fires are sent directly to land managers worldwide within hours of the satellite overpass. Together, NASA instruments detect actively burning fires, track the transport of smoke from fires, provide information for fire management, and map the extent of changes to ecosystems, based on the extent and severity of burn scars. NASA has a fleet of Earth-observing instruments, many of which contribute to our understanding of fire in the Earth system. Satellites in orbit around the poles provide observations of the entire planet several times per day, whereas satellites in a geostationary orbit provide coarse-resolution imagery of fires, smoke and clouds every five to 15 minutes. For more information visit: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/fires/main/missions/index.html




Image possibly from 13 November 2019 fires.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Quotes of the Week


"Looking back now and after going through it, we were never ever going to stop it. It was igniting 12 kilometres in front of the fire.”
[Toorooka farmer Carolyn Duff speaking about the November 2019 northern NSW bushfires, ABC News, 16 November 2019]

"They’re saying it’s the Greenies stopping us from doing these hazard-reduction burns,” one firefighter says. “It’s the lack of fucking resources and people to do it. No one joins up until the shit hits the fan.” 
[The Guardian reporting on November 2019 northern NSW bushfires, 17 November 2019]

Today is not the day to talk about climate change.” No, yesterday was, or the day before, or the month before, or the year before. But it didn’t get a mention. Now we have the reality, and the mention it gets is: “Don’t talk about it now.”
[Wytaliba resident Badja Sparks writing in The Guardian, 15 November 2019]

"The persistence of climate denialism in Australian politics reflects the wealth of mining and energy companies prepared to use a deeply flawed political system to wield power.” 
[Journalist Bernard Keane writing in Crikey, 18 November 2019]

Friday, 22 November 2019

Remember to include pets in your disaster evacuation plan


The Daily Examiner, 19 November 2019: 

With 99 per cent of NSW officially in drought and 53 per cent, including the Clarence Valley, in high fire danger, residents getting ready to evacuate need to remember to include pets in their disaster plan. 

Bushfires, floods and tropical cyclones are an increasing reality around the country. 

World Animal Protection is encouraging people to be prepared by planning ahead – and have disaster packs for cats, dogs, horses, birds and small animals available to help. 

“Many people don’t have a disaster plan that includes their pets,” World Animal Protection director Simone Clarke said. 

“We know from looking at past disasters that people can make last-minute decisions to try to keep their pets safe, putting themselves in danger in the process. 

“Pets must be part of emergency planning, not just to protect them but to keep your family safe too.” 

World Animal Protection’s top disaster preparation tips are: 

Prepare a disaster survival kit for your pet with food, water, medicine, identification and a favourite toy for comfort. 

Put it in an easy-to-access spot and check it regularly to keep it up to date 

Identify a “safe house”, such as a friend’s house, pet-friendly motel or animal shelter where you can take your pet during a disaster 

Practise your plan so your pet is used to moving into their carrier. This will ensure you and your pet can move fast and stay calm in an emergency 

Display a rescue sticker on your doors and windows to alert emergency responders that there are pets in the home that need to be rescued. 

Put your pet’s name on the sticker so emergency personnel can call out to them Update your pet’s ID so that rescuers can contact you if they find your pet in an emergency. It’s best to get your pet microchipped so it’s easy to update contact information. 

Visit www.protectyourpet.org.au to plan for your pet. 

Thursday, 21 November 2019

With months to go before the end of NSW bushfire season, there are ways locals can help


The Northern Star, 19 November 2019:

As bushfires continue to ravage communities across NSW, many people are wanting to know how they can assist those impacted by this ongoing disaster. 

While many community groups including sporting and service clubs have stepped up, there are still opportunities for individuals to help in various ways. 

1. Donate money 
There are several charities accepting donations including the Australian Red Cross, the Salvation Army Disaster Appeal (or donate at any Woolworths checkout) or to Vinnies. Make sure you’re giving to a reputable organisation so all the funds go where they’re needed. 

2. Give blood 
The region’s blood banks need more blood and plasma donations. If you can’t afford to give money, then donating blood is a great option. While there are some conditions such as age, this is a great option. Book an appointment by phoning 131495. 

3. Helping wildlife 
The NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service is accepting donations to help its efforts in supporting displaced and injured wildlife affected by the fires. 

4. First responder 
You can join a local emergency services group as a volunteer. Consider joining your local Rural Fire Service brigade or State Emergency Service unit, while organisations such as the Country Women’s Association and Red Cross have many different opportunities to help communities facing tough times. 

5. Community 
Be a good neighbour. Check on people not only living nearby, but also in your social, sporting and community groups. Take the time to be kind. Make time to boil the kettle and listen. Many people are feeling the effects of the bushfires even if they are not in an area which has been burned. A great example is the Ewingar Rising concert from November 22-24, which has been organised by a wide cross-section of residents to support their burned-out community.

The Daily Examiner, 19 November 2019:

The Lower Clarence Community Choir will present its annual Spring Concert with performances in the Maclean Civic Hall at 2pm on Saturday, November 23 and St James Church, Yamba at 2pm on Sunday, November 24.
The choir and Maclean Music Ensemble have prepared music by Handel, Schubert, Offenbach, Tchaikovsky and Smetana, plus folk songs, popular songs and music from stage shows.
Sister Anne Gallagher will as usual be wielding the baton and the accompanist is again Gwen Berman. The choir and ensemble are fortunate to be led by two such esteemed musicians.
Both the choir and the ensemble have grown in size since last year, largely because the members enjoy making music together.
Proceeds from the performances will go to the Westpac Helicopter Rescue Service, Maclean Hospital Auxiliary and Rural Fire Service; three institutions that serve the local community so generously.
Tickets will cost $15, $12 (concession) and school children are free. Afternoon tea will be available for $4.
For further information, contact the president, Connie de Dassel, on 0409476425.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

ATO grants two month deferral for bushfire victims in New South Wales and Queensland


Australian Taxation Office, media release, 18 November 2019:

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) today announced that it will grant a two month lodgment and payment deferral to taxpayers impacted by the recent catastrophic bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Andrew Watson said that people affected by the fires should focus on getting their other affairs in order and not worry about their tax obligations at this time.
“We have applied automatic lodgment and payment deferrals to postcodes impacted by the fires, meaning if you’ve been impacted by the fires you don’t need to contact the ATO or your tax professional – we’ve already done it for you,” Mr Watson said.
The quarterly Business Activity Statement (BAS) that would normally have been due on 11 November or 28 November for businesses using a tax professional will now be due on 28 January 2020.
Monthly BAS lodgers also have an extra two months to lodge and pay, with the ATO automatically extending the due date until 21 January 2020 for the form which would normally have been due on 21 November.
Aside from businesses, individuals in impacted areas who have lodged their 2018–19 income tax returns and have received a bill that would normally be due on 21 November 2019 now have until 21 January 2020 to pay.
Mr Watson added that if taxpayers are concerned about their tax obligations, they should feel free to contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 to discuss how the office can support them.
“You can also discuss your options with your registered tax professional, if you have one”.
The ATO will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and make further decisions to include additional areas and/or provide further deferrals as needed.
Automatic deferrals have been put in place for the following 16 local government areas impacted by the bushfires:

New South Wales

  • Bellingen
  • Clarence Valley
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Glen Innes
  • Severn
  • Kempsey
  • Inverell
  • Mid Coast
  • Nambucca
  • Port Macquarie-Hastings
  • Richmond Valley
  • Tenterfield
  • Uralla
  • Walcha

Queensland

  • Noosa
  • Livingstone
Employers are reminded that they still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees.
Automatic deferrals do not apply to large pay as you go withholders.
The ATO is also reminding business owners at this time that it is critical to keep their Australian business number (ABN) information up to date, as it is:
  • used by Emergency Services and other government agencies during times of natural disaster
  • used by the Government to identify where financial disaster relief is needed to help businesses recover in disaster affected areas, and
  • likely to be checked if they are applying for a grant or loan for their business.
Business owners can access, change or cancel their ABN details online at abr.gov.au.All changes made to their ABN online will take effect immediately.
The ATO has more information about help and support options on its website:
ato.gov.au/NaturalDisasters