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Put out the Otways fires now using aerial water bombing planes

Wildlife and people who live in and love the Otways need us all to place pressure on the Victorian government to use effective fire-fighting, in the form of aerial water-bombing, instead of allowing these fires to burn themselves out whilst consuming our remaining forests and wildlife. Parks Victoria, CFA and DELWP (said DELWOP) use labour hire and equipment companies, and create an emergency bureaucracy and pay themselves massive bonuses during fires giving them a direct incentive to keep them burning - almost invariably making the future landscape more flammable - deprived of the insects and animals that break down flammable fuels. Like children with matches (an a financial incentive) they cannot help themselves and consider wiping parks, wildlife, homes and businesses and tourism out when people are not killed a success!

Act Now write/email to

Dear Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews,

Letter: Spring Street Melbourne 3000. Email (danial.andrews[AT]

The livelihoods of thousands wildlife and the future of water supplies are threatened.

This Otway's fire started on the 19th of December and was left burning, as happened in the Alps in 2003, Wilson's Promontory National Park in 2005 and 2009 and the Grampians National Park. It looks like another case of unauthorised and un-costed application of Wildland Fire Use Policy imported from the USA. See Bruce M. Kilgore: "Origin and History of Wildland Fire Use in the U.S. National Park System".

Where are the the big aerial water bombing aircraft? Can you please explain where the Australian firefighting DC10 is now? It should be deployed immediately or the government should lease equivalent aircraft to blackout and extinguish fires with WATER, not Phos-Check of unknown toxic chemicals [1] when burned.

Blacking out and putting out fires with water bombing aircraft works. Fire breaks don't!

The IL 76 was at Avalon Air Show after Black Saturday, loading 40,000 litres in 15 minutes, as can be seen in the video above. Why not use this if the DC 10 is unavailable?

You need to put a stop to fire agencies prolonging fires by burning 'unburned areas' in the Otways fire zone now. Burning these areas risks further escapes and 'hotspots' and kills wildlife’s obviously less flammable ‘fire refuges’.

[1] What's the WorkCover Occ. Health & Safety advice on smoke from Phos-Check? Please provide this to locals who are currently being exposed.

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cc Ring Vic Parliament on 9651 8911 for the phone number of your parliamentary reps. Ring their after hours answering machines and say if they do not get fixed wing water bombers to put fire out you will do your best to get 5 people who voted for them to vote against them at the next election.

Ring Talkback Radio and ask for water bombers

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According to an Age article. "Eighteen aircraft have been bombarding the Otways fires, trying to save the surf coast towns."

Inside the herculean effort to save surf coast towns (2/1/15) | The Age

The CFA has 60 aircraft at its disposal across the state. Of those, 18 have been used in the Otways, including helicopters of various sizes, air tankers, an aircrane? similar to "Elvis" and, for the first time in Australia, a Chinook – the enormous twin-engine helicopter used by the American military.

Wayne Rigg a CFA helicopter pilot said "throwing more aircraft at the fire wasn't the answer. Relatively speaking, this fire is not over a large area, so you have to remember that we have to manage these aircraft in a very tight area.....Air crews don't put fires out; ground crews put fires out and there's ground crews down there who are, quite frankly, slogging their arses off and we support those ground crews in any way that we can."

Maybe there were fears about damaging properties, from water bombing, such as breaking tiles and structure? It's about being damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

The following is from Better forest management can help prevent bushfire disasters (5/1/16) | The Age:

"... Our place was built using second-hand along with new materials. Much came from the demolition of the Large Lecture Theatre (LLT) in the School of Botany at the University of Melbourne. ...

"An irony is that generations of foresters were taught about the ecology and management of forests in that large lecture theatre, or LLT, as it was known. ...

"... We hoped that at least once, the authorities would come and run a fuel reduction fire in the forest behind. Like most, we are strong supporters of the Country Fire Authority. ... (my emphasis)

"I know – and I mean I know – that for more than a quarter of a century there had been no serious fuel reduction within cooee of Sep and Wye. Sure, there had been the odd cosmetic burn along the Ocean Road, but the serious fuels to the north and west – the quarters from where the big risks would come with hot dry winds — were ignored. Easier by far to declare the forests a national park and then let nature take care of itself.

"For decades foresters were taught how to manage fuels in concert with the ecology of the forests. Some of it they learnt by sitting on the same blackwood stools that are now piles of ash. It wasn't too hard for them to manage forests so that disasters were avoided.


The above article was also published in the Canberra Times. The author, Professor Mark Adams, is director of the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food at the University of Sydney. The CSIRO book Burning Issues (2011), which he co-authored, supposedly "examines the many facets of fuel reduction burning in forests." Claims, similar to those made above, were made on the ABC Radio National Background Briefing program Fighting fire with fire (transcript here, 23MB podcast here).

Letter in The Age: Firing up burn debate (6/1/15)

Fuel-reduction burning takes place across all public land tenures, parks included (Comment, 5/1 – see Age article linked to from above comment - Ed)). Furthermore, it is unfortunate that poor planning decisions allowed Mark Adams' house to be constructed on a steeply wooded slope on the edge of a forest where even planned burns are difficult to control.

Current fire science tells us that fuel reduction burning is least effective in times of acute fire weather, the very thing we are increasingly experiencing under climate change. And given that we have had more fire in the landscape across Victoria, planned and otherwise, than at any time in recorded history, it's time to rethink fire policy.

We need far better planning laws, we need to increase our capacity for rapid aerial attack on fires, and people who choose to live in vulnerable areas must take added responsibility. That should include installing well-designed private fire bunkers, a forgotten urgent recommendation of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.

Philip Ingamells, Victorian National Parks Association – above letter is second from the bottom of the Age letters page.