The year is 2020 and no one can see anything, no matter how serious, without trying to shift the blame somehow.
Such was the attitude that NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons encountered this morning, as he took to the TV screens of Australia to remind viewers that the current fires being suffered by millions of Australians are not caused by a lack of hazard reduction burning.
Hazard reduction burning, colloquially known as ‘back burning’ is where firefighters purposely ignite areas of bushland in safe conditions to minimise the damage caused by bush fires when fire season rolls around.
Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce floated the idea that a lack of back burning this season is partly to blame for the extraordinary fires the nation is currently experiencing.
Watch: Barnaby Joyce blames back burning for fire disaster
Fitzsimmons was quick to point out this morning that “Hazard reduction burning is really challenging, and the single biggest impediment to completing hazard reduction burning is the weather.
“With longer fire seasons, earlier starts and later finishes to fire seasons like we’ve been experiencing over recent times, you get a shrinking window of opportunity for more favourable hazard reduction burning periods.
“And in that shrinking windows, you get the extremes of it can be too wet and too cold to effectively get hazard reduction burns done, through to it being too hot and too dry, and therefore too dangerous.”
Fitzsimmons went on to note that when it came to back burning, just lighting a fire on a day with the right weather wasn’t an option.
“As settled Australians….we’re occupying areas that used to freely burn. We can’t light a burn and just let it run.”
“Within minutes of burns being lit, I end up getting inundated with claims for people wanting for us to pay for the shade cloths for their greenhouse…. there are so many ramifications that come from burning.”
Watch the exchange on ABC News Breakfast below.
"We are not environmental bastards."@NSWRFS Commissioner @RFSCommissioner on hazard reduction burning, which he stresses is not the panacea for stopping fires spreading.#nswfires #AustraliaFires pic.twitter.com/Jcm803vBx9
— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) January 7, 2020
The fact of the matter is that emergency services have been warning government bodies for quite some time about the oncoming threat, but the result has ultimately been those in control looking for other persons to blame when the shit has hit the fan.