A friend of this site, Dale Stiller has made a couple of postings on the evacuationgrounds site highlighting the problems faced by rural fire brigade volunteers owing to the growth of central control and bureaucratization within the service:
On Tuesday I was called out to a fire north of Miles on the Hookswood Road and witnessed one of the biggest stuff ups, of incompetency that you don't want to see. Qld fire & rescue set up a controll centre, overrode local people and treated volunteer rural fire brigade people like dirt.
They stood around that long talking about what may happen with the fire that it did happen. The fire went from big to massive while us volunteers weren't allowed to do anything. Then at 6.30 when the incident controller was sending in the locals to do some backburning to save people's houses, his mates left in a heap of units to go back to Toowoomba.
I got to bed a 1am, I have to go now & fight a much bigger fire than yesterday with many unsecured fronts. I will be having a lot more to say about this.
The subsequent post explained his position:
In my previous post, Hookswood Rd Fire, I expressed my frustration at the incompetence of Qld fire & rescue who took control of all efforts to fight a fire and by their inaction causing a big fire to grow to something far more dangerous and destructive.
I was also angry to learn from those who were on the scene on the Sunday, Monday and first thing Tuesday before I was called in as part of the Downfall Creek rural fire volunteers, of 3 occasions were the fire could have contained as a small fire and that on 2 of these occasions the opportunity wasn’t taken because of blindly following of the rule book by Qld fire & rescue.
Having hours of inaction on my hands during Tuesday and hearing the outrage of my fellow rural fire volunteers I made sure that their views became known to the media. These two articles are the result - Heat on resourcingas fire threats intensify More RFS review forQld
This image above was developed from the NAFI web site gives the perfect illustration of why preventive burning is very important. The image also shows what sectors of the fire the Downfall Creek brigade played a part.
On Tuesday night our crew joined others to back burn to save property of a family. The Qld fire & rescue incident controller would have had a heart attack if he knew that we went to the lead of the fire yet many km’s away. The sky glowed red, thick smoke billowed overhead and the roar of the fire was enough to strike fear. Earlier we had sighted a spot fire start up 1km in advance of the fire front. We knew of nothing that would stop this fires advance. We left that location to go back to burn a wide band around the house and buildings.
The Downfall Creek rural fire brigade operated within the Barakula State Forest at the western flank of the fire from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday night. The forestry fire fighters were on the eastern side of the fire on the Wednesday and could only bring equipment to the western side on the Thursday. When the forestry workers shift changed soon after dark on Thursday we learnt from the shift supervisor what stopped the fire front from going any further.
On Wednesday night he was just off to the east of the lead of the fire front. At 3am the fire was still crowning, that is burning in the tree tops, when it hit an area that had a preventive burn back in September. In the image above it is the peach colour area. The fire lost its ground fuel source and bit by bit died down to a halt.
Look at the image to see how few preventive burns have occurred in the fires path, both in privately held land and the state owned state forest. There was a large fuel build up in this area. You don’t need to be Einstein to know that fuel load plus hot temperature plus ignition equals destruction. More needs to be done to encourage cool burns in August and September.
In this day and age, much of firefighting has come under the control of state bodies, as has land use and management owing to the increased influence of the Greens who tend to be based among the inner city trendies. As result, fuel reduction burns have become a sacrifice to political correctness and policies developed by the ignorant of reality and idealists who believe standard practices are the result of the stupidity of those they see as yokels.
State bodies are by nature bureaucratic and inclined to follow the rule book rather than rely on commonsense. Initiative is scorned by such people as a dangerous anarchic tendency.
Most people raised in the bush get their first experience of firefighting soon after their dads deem them strong enough to swing a wet corn sack, and understand that a buildup of dry grass and shrubbery is a disaster waiting for the next ‘dry storm’ where a lightning bolt can set the country aflame. This experience should be utilized rather than scorned.