It's certainly not usual for me to read an Andrew Bolt article and find myself nodding along in agreement, but this story makes a lot of sense.
Black Saturday, in terms of the history of bushfires, was an anomaly. A rare, devastating event the likes of which we've not seen before. It challenged some of the advice given by the fire-fighting authorities, and provoked a Royal Commission which increasingly looks like a witch-hunt, given the individual authorities are represented by one legal counsel, meaning their individual interests will not be served by that counsel.
The big question for me though, is do we reject conventional wisdom - based on years of studies and a history of success in survival rates in bushfires - or do we abandon what we know based on one catastrophe, that we don't know for sure will occur again?
I used to live in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. My family - the family I lived with when I first came to this country, still does, just inside the borders of the National Park. There's a verandah out the back overlooking the valley, and we used to sit there, feet on the railings watching the fires crest the furthest hill - three or so kilometres away - and be told there was no immediate danger.
That was based on the advice of the park rangers and the Fire Authorities. If that had been Black Saturday, leaving even then may have been too late.
How do you prepare for something like Black Saturday? Do we flee every time when a Code Certain Death is called and gradually become complacent as to when to go, ignoring that the best advice previously - the most successful strategies - have always been based on preparing yourself and your property and knowing how to defend yourself and your property? Do we wipe the advice based on years of study and go with Code Useless Panic evacuations that will gradually ebb away the diligence of people evacuating, so they're neither preparing themselves in the most effective way possible, nor leaving before it's too late?
I don't know the answers. It would be a shame if we don't learn anything from Black Saturday, but shouldn't we be careful that what we put in place is based on fact and not on Panic Overdrive?
We drove up to Kinglake on Australia Day, and the devastation was terrible. But looking at the trees, nature knows how to repair itself. Let's hope the communities do as well.
1 day ago