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Eldorado

"Absolute panic" amid Australia bushfires

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Habitat
9 hours ago, tmcom said:

Unprecedented, lol, no just a lot of a....holes lighting fires around Sydney.

There is no doubt at all, that this is the worst fire situation in terms of size of area affected, if not (yet) in terms of loss of life, ever seen, in Australia.  But I am also suspicious of what part firebugs are playing in this, it would not surprise me if the majority of fires are deliberately, and maliciously lit. There is little official mention, they likely fear copy cats. The only answer is severe punishment to offenders, as a deterrent to others. That people have been let off with "warnings", simply ridiculous, should be mandatory and lengthy jail terms.

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Peter B
1 hour ago, RabidMongoose said:

I just looked at the BBC map and their whole country (the size of Europe) is on fire.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-50952253

I have never seen anything like it.

LOL, don't let tmcom see you say that. He might think it's Business As Usual, but I respectfully disagree.

Actually, that map with all the dots over all of Australia isn't really helpful. The first map on this link (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-50951043) is more helpful for showing the extent of the area burned. For those unfamiliar with Australian geography, Sydney fills a bit over half of the space between the Wollemi National Park and Blue Mountains fires and the coast. In other words, the burned out area of the Blue Mountains fire is about as big as Greater Sydney.

And the thing is, the fires are going to have an economic impact years into the future. If nothing else it's likely to cause the price of some foods to go up. Then there's the highways and railways which will have to be repaired, along with the houses and other infrastructure which has been damaged or destroyed. Then there's the health effect of the smoke over major cities. How's that going to affect kids running around the school playground at lunchtime, or people playing community sports, or professional sport events - we had a Big Bash League cricket match abandoned in Canberra just before Christmas when smoke from a distant fire rolled in over the city.

Then there are the literally thousands of firefighters. These people are volunteers, so while they're fighting fires they're away from work or study or business. How sustainable is that as the months go by? Then there's all the equipment: there are something like 160 fire fighting aircraft of various sorts available in Australia at the moment. That's not cheap either.

Then there's general transport costs. Sydney has four major highways leading into it - the Princes Highway on the coast north and south of the city, the Great Western Highway (obviously) west of the city, and the Hume Freeway heading south-west to Melbourne. The Hume is the busiest transport link in the country, as it connects the country's two largest cities. They're about 900 kilometres apart, so driving between them is a full day's work. However the fires have at times blocked both the Hume and the Great Western Highway. For people in cars you can get to Sydney via the Illawarra Highway and Wollongong - it adds about 30 kilometres to the journey. But this is the road which travels down the Macquarie Pass, so it's impassable to large trucks. If you want to drive a semi-trailer from Melbourne to Sydney when the Hume and Great Western Highways are blocked (as well as the Princes Highway south of Sydney) your shortest alternative is to travel via Dubbo and Newcastle which is about 1300 kilometres, most of it not freeway. What's that going to do to the cost of transporting goods between these cities?

ETA: Then there's the effect on tourism. The South Coast of NSW is the holiday area of Canberrans. Batemans Bay has a population of about 10,000, and this roughly triples during the summer holidays as Canberrans flock to the region. But the Kings Highway which connects Canberra and Batemans Bay has been cut by the fires, and around 20 kilometres of road, including the steep and windy Clyde Mountain section, will need to be re-laid. Batemans Bay itself was nearly burned by the fire yesterday. There's simply no way Canberrans will be going to the coast these holidays.

So it wouldn't surprise me if dozens of tourism-related businesses collapse in The Bay due to the direct and indirect effect of the fires. The same thing will be happening in the other touristy parts of SE Australia - the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, the rest of the South Coast between Wollongong and the Victorian border, and Gippsland east of Melbourne.

Ideally, the best way to help is to go on holidays in these areas once the fires are under control, to kick-start local economies. But the recovery process is going to be long and slow.

Edited by Peter B
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Cookie Monster
3 minutes ago, Peter B said:

LOL, don't let tmcom see you say that. He might think it's Business As Usual, but I respectfully disagree.

Actually, that map with all the dots over all of Australia isn't really helpful. The first map on this link (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-50951043) is more helpful for showing the extent of the area burned. For those unfamiliar with Australian geography, Sydney fills a bit over half of the space between the Wollemi National Park and Blue Mountains fires and the coast. In other words, the burned out area of the Blue Mountains fire is about as big as Greater Sydney.

And the thing is, the fires are going to have an economic impact years into the future. If nothing else it's likely to cause the price of some foods to go up. Then there's the highways and railways which will have to be repaired, along with the houses and other infrastructure which has been damaged or destroyed. Then there's the health effect of the smoke over major cities. How's that going to affect kids running around the school playground at lunchtime, or people playing community sports, or professional sport events - we had a Big Bash League cricket match abandoned in Canberra just before Christmas when smoke from a distant fire rolled in over the city.

Then there are the literally thousands of firefighters. These people are volunteers, so while they're fighting fires they're away from work or study or business. How sustainable is that as the months go by? Then there's all the equipment: there are something like 160 fire fighting aircraft of various sorts available in Australia at the moment. That's not cheap either.

Then there's general transport costs. Sydney has four major highways leading into it - the Princes Highway on the coast north and south of the city, the Great Western Highway (obviously) west of the city, and the Hume Freeway heading south-west to Melbourne. The Hume is the busiest transport link in the country, as it connects the country's two largest cities. They're about 900 kilometres apart, so driving between them is a full day's work. However the fires have at times blocked both the Hume and the Great Western Highway. For people in cars you can get to Sydney via the Illawarra Highway and Wollongong - it adds about 30 kilometres to the journey. But this is the road which travels down the Macquarie Pass, so it's impassable to large trucks. If you want to drive a semi-trailer from Melbourne to Sydney when the Hume and Great Western Highways are blocked (as well as the Princes Highway south of Sydney) your shortest alternative is to travel via Dubbo and Newcastle which is about 1300 kilometres, most of it not freeway. What's that going to do to the cost of transporting goods between these cities?

I`m sorry but the map you link too focusing on the southeast coast makes the problem seem even worse. Look at the huge burned areas on it. Its like something out of the apocalypse.

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Eldorado

Latest...

"Victoria, NSW bushfires wreak havoc as death toll rises, several missing

"A confronting satellite image taken late yesterday has emerged, revealing the extent of the devastation caused by Australia's horrific bushfire crisis. "

https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-and-victorian-bushfires-wreak-havoc-and-destruction/live-coverage/fb3443775d5d2b365ba1c583046dc865

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Black Red Devil

You see no clear blue sky days in Sydney since the bushfires started.  At least it doesn't smell as smokey as it did a few weeks back but nevertheless there are still some 100 fires burning around the State and in the greater Southwest and Northwest of the city.  Damage to the Australian fauna and worlds atmosphere is incalculable at the moment but will be significant IMO.

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Habitat

And really the peak fire season is yet to come, in Southern Australia, where rainfall occurs more in winter.  

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Golden Duck
2 minutes ago, Black Red Devil said:

You see no clear blue sky days in Sydney since the bushfires started.  At least it doesn't smell as smokey as it did a few weeks back but nevertheless there are still some 100 fires burning around the State and in the greater Southwest and Northwest of the city.  Damage to the Australian fauna and worlds atmosphere is incalculable at the moment but will be significant IMO.

Around Redcliffe, north of Brisbane, temporary hazard signs have been installed to warn of Koalas.

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Habitat

A lot of rare fauna and flora would have vanished in this catastrophe.  Firebugs are domestic terrorists, and are a far bigger part of this disaster than is being officially acknowledged.

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'Walt' E. Kurtz

It's very tragic indeed :-(

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Golden Duck
8 minutes ago, Habitat said:

A lot of rare fauna and flora would have vanished in this catastrophe.  Firebugs are domestic terrorists, and are a far bigger part of this disaster than is being officially acknowledged.

I've heard numbers as high 60 for people investigated.

News reports say more than half the fires were started by people.

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Habitat
1 minute ago, Golden Duck said:

I've heard numbers as high 60 for people investigated.

News reports say more than half the fires were started by people.

I am starting to think that the % of anti-social, malicious ratbags in society has reached "critical mass", and it is showing with the ongoing fire epidemic,  people who light these fires deliberately have crossed a line that requires them to be rendered incapable of repeat performances, not being sent home with a warning. I would say a law that says a conviction for arson mandates a GPS tracking anklet/bracelet for life, would be a good start.

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Golden Duck
1 minute ago, Habitat said:

I am starting to think that the % of anti-social, malicious ratbags in society has reached "critical mass", and it is showing with the ongoing fire epidemic,  people who light these fires deliberately have crossed a line that requires them to be rendered incapable of repeat performances, not being sent home with a warning. I would say a law that says a conviction for arson mandates a GPS tracking anklet/bracelet for life, would be a good start.

I'm not sure if the demographics could support such sanctions.  Up to 10 per cent are younger than 10 years.

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/understanding-an-arsonists-motives-may-help-stop-future-fires/news-story/0eebd6a2ea1a726126df38ca2ce8fb56

There was also a report of a volunteer starting one of the blazes.

Then there's the conspiracy theories...

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Habitat
7 minutes ago, Golden Duck said:

I'm not sure if the demographics could support such sanctions.  Up to 10 per cent are younger than 10 years.

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/understanding-an-arsonists-motives-may-help-stop-future-fires/news-story/0eebd6a2ea1a726126df38ca2ce8fb56

There was also a report of a volunteer starting one of the blazes.

Then there's the conspiracy theories...

I think you'll eventually find a groundswell of public opinion calling for firm action, it is OK to talk about arsonists being "troubled" people, but better one person is "troubled" than a hundred being traumatised by a fire they light. These people are killers/potential killers on the loose.

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Golden Duck
1 minute ago, Habitat said:

I think you'll eventually find a groundswell of public opinion calling for firm action, it is OK to talk about arsonists being "troubled" people, but better one person is "troubled" than a hundred being traumatised by a fire they light. These people are killers/potential killers on the loose.

For the most part I agree that they should be removed from the community. But, how are you going to manage pre-teens and the autistic?

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Habitat
2 minutes ago, Golden Duck said:

For the most part I agree that they should be removed from the community. But, how are you going to manage pre-teens and the autistic?

GPS tracking will make it easier to manage firebugs released back into society. If they re-offend, they have to be taken out of circulation. The stigma of having to wear tracking bracelets will deter some.

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tmcom
2 hours ago, Habitat said:

There is no doubt at all, that this is the worst fire situation in terms of size of area affected, if not (yet) in terms of loss of life, ever seen, in Australia.  But I am also suspicious of what part firebugs are playing in this, it would not surprise me if the majority of fires are deliberately, and maliciously lit. There is little official mention, they likely fear copy cats. The only answer is severe punishment to offenders, as a deterrent to others. That people have been let off with "warnings", simply ridiculous, should be mandatory and lengthy jail terms.

Area affected, not likely, in our History Victoria has had 50% of our entire state burned at one point, during far more intense and long lasting heatwaves that we are getting now.

G,....mast****g with its search results doesn't make it worse.

B)

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Habitat
Just now, tmcom said:

Area affected, not likely, in our History Victoria has had 50% of our entire state burned at one point, during far more intense and long lasting heatwaves that we are getting now.

G,....mast****g with its search results doesn't make it worse.

B)

That simply is not correct. The fires are far more widespread, virtually nation-wide, and the drought and  heat wave has also never been so widespread and persistent. Rain forest areas have burnt, that had never done, in the history of European settlement, ditto with the cessation of flow of many streams, never seen before. Imagine how much worse, if with the inferior resources available in the past, to mitigate the fire situation, as regards loss of homes.  And it is still early in the so-called fire season.

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tmcom
2 minutes ago, Habitat said:

That simply is not correct. The fires are far more widespread, virtually nation-wide, and the drought and  heat wave has also never been so widespread and persistent. Rain forest areas have burnt, that had never done, in the history of European settlement, ditto with the cessation of flow of many streams, never seen before. Imagine how much worse, if with the inferior resources available in the past, to mitigate the fire situation, as regards loss of homes.  And it is still early in the so-called fire season.

It is true, in 1878, it was 119 in the shade, in Vic, and NSW, or the hottest month we have ever had in living memory. Been trying to relate that to our worst fires in these states, but since Google search results are so biased, now, it is pretty hard to do so.

Going by memory, 1700's or when Captain Cook was about, we had the 50% of our state go, and about 30% in the 1920' or maybe 70's.

So as the unprecedented word goes, 1878 was the hottest in our country for heatwaves, and l believe in 177 something was the biggest for bushfires.

^_^

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Habitat
13 minutes ago, tmcom said:

It is true, in 1878, it was 119 in the shade, in Vic, and NSW, or the hottest month we have ever had in living memory. Been trying to relate that to our worst fires in these states, but since Google search results are so biased, now, it is pretty hard to do so.

Going by memory, 1700's or when Captain Cook was about, we had the 50% of our state go, and about 30% in the 1920' or maybe 70's.

So as the unprecedented word goes, 1878 was the hottest in our country for heatwaves, and l believe in 177 something was the biggest for bushfires.

^_^

Victoria and sometimes Tasmania, have a history of bad summer fires, but what has happened in NSW is definitely new territory. I reckon you will find nothing in the archives, that parallels the smoke pall that has hung over Sydney, either in intensity or duration.

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susieice
1 hour ago, Habitat said:

A lot of rare fauna and flora would have vanished in this catastrophe.  Firebugs are domestic terrorists, and are a far bigger part of this disaster than is being officially acknowledged.

The loss of Australia's wildlife is a world catastrophe. They are unique to your continent. I can't believe people would go out and start these fires, but then I can. People have intentionally started more than a few of the fires that burned here in California. They need a strict punishment when caught. 

Is there any hope for a break from the heat in the near future? Or rain? The pictures we're seeing are just so horrific. People are heading to the beaches but everything looks so smoky. I think they were saying they were going to take them out by boat.

Everyone stay safe and heed warnings if they are issued. Be careful on your trip Peter B.

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Black Red Devil
55 minutes ago, Golden Duck said:

For the most part I agree that they should be removed from the community. But, how are you going to manage pre-teens and the autistic?

What's the Law say for Attempted Murder?  It should be the same for arsonists because the result of their actions can lead to the same result.

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Habitat
Just now, susieice said:

The loss of Australia's wildlife is a world catastrophe. They are unique to your continent. I can't believe people would go out and start these fires, but then I can. People have intentionally started more than a few of the fires that burned here in California. They need a strict punishment when caught. 

Is there any hope for a break from the heat in the near future? Or rain? The pictures we're seeing are just so horrific. People are heading to the beaches but everything looks so smoky. I think they were saying they were going to take them out by boat.

Everyone stay safe and heed warnings if they are issued. Be careful on your trip Peter B.

In the affected regions of NSW, there is more hope of rain this time of year, Victoria gets ts rain largely in Winter, a bit like California in that respect. I heard a report the other day of a burnt-out area in Victoria that was the only known repository of some plant species, and now feared lost. It is a tragedy, and the thought it might be an act of vandalism, well, it would be worse than that.

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Peter B
17 minutes ago, tmcom said:

It is true, in 1878, it was 119 in the shade, in Vic, and NSW, or the hottest month we have ever had in living memory. Been trying to relate that to our worst fires in these states, but since Google search results are so biased, now, it is pretty hard to do so.

Going by memory, 1700's or when Captain Cook was about, we had the 50% of our state go, and about 30% in the 1920' or maybe 70's.

So as the unprecedented word goes, 1878 was the hottest in our country for heatwaves, and l believe in 177 something was the biggest for bushfires.

^_^

In the circumstances we're experiencing you might do better to not look so pleased with yourself.

Plus you'd do better to provide some decent evidence than to wave around vague years and percentages.

I can't find any evidence of "50% of [the] state" burning. The Black Friday fires of January 1939 burned about 2 million hectares, or about 10% of Victoria's land area. The fires of 1851 maybe burned double or triple that. Still nowhere near 50%. Plus, in any case, Victoria today is a very different place from 1851 or 1939.

As for the heat in 1878, I'll take your word for it (but still it'd be nice for you to, you know, provide some evidence). But what's a single temperature worth? Was it part of a heatwave? Was it part of a drought?

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Black Red Devil
4 minutes ago, susieice said:

The loss of Australia's wildlife is a world catastrophe. They are unique to your continent. I can't believe people would go out and start these fires, but then I can. People have intentionally started more than a few of the fires that burned here in California. They need a strict punishment when caught. 

Is there any hope for a break from the heat in the near future? Or rain? The pictures we're seeing are just so horrific. People are heading to the beaches but everything looks so smoky. I think they were saying they were going to take them out by boat.

Everyone stay safe and heed warnings if they are issued. Be careful on your trip Peter B.

Rain is the only thing that will stop them short term, but predictions for rain (not sprinkling rain but rain that lasts for days) aren't optimistic.  This is tragic because it effects Australia but massive bushfires like the ones we also saw in the Amazon and California etc. are a danger to the whole world.

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Peter B
13 minutes ago, susieice said:

The loss of Australia's wildlife is a world catastrophe. They are unique to your continent. I can't believe people would go out and start these fires, but then I can. People have intentionally started more than a few of the fires that burned here in California. They need a strict punishment when caught. 

Is there any hope for a break from the heat in the near future? Or rain? The pictures we're seeing are just so horrific. People are heading to the beaches but everything looks so smoky. I think they were saying they were going to take them out by boat.

Everyone stay safe and heed warnings if they are issued. Be careful on your trip Peter B.

Thank you, I will.

In the meantime one of the fires has been burning not far from where Obviousman lives and works.

Back in 2003 when a bushfire burned into Canberra itself, killing four people and destroying 500+ houses, we had a thick smoke haze for a week before it blew away. However the smoke haze this time has lasted for over 3 weeks, and today is the worst ever. Here's how bad it is ATM: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-01/smoke-shrouds-australia-as-nsw-bushfires-continue/11835734

Quote

The 12:00pm air quality index reading in the ACT's southern station at Monash was 4,394 — more than 21 times the hazardous level of 200.

Edited by Peter B
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