Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Native forest logging industry bushfire dirty tricks campaign.

Shortly after the Black Saturday fires, there was a deliberate scaremongering campaign by anti-National Park extremists who sought to falsely blame conservationists for the tragedy.

Unfortunately some people (such as Wilson Tuckey) were quick to use the Black Saturday disaster as an opportunity to scapegoat conservation minded people as a means to push their own political ideology.

These extremists describe National Park management as “lock it up and leave it”. Such statements deny the fire suppress strategies which have been actively implemented, such as fuel reduction and the many access tracks and fire breaks maintained for fire prevention in and around National Parks.

The Australian was quick to run several stories by people keen to finger point 'greenies'. This cartoon summaries the negative community sentiment The Australian was promoting.

[see cartoon Australian]

Many of those who finger pointed, have been strongly associated with the native forest logging industry. The motivation for this dirty tricks campaign includes:

1. Shift attention away from the fact that native forest logging practices elevate
bushfire on public land.

2. Use public fear of bushfire to shift public attitudes against the creation of more
National Parks.

3. Argue for more logging through thinning on public forested land purportedly to reduce bushfire risk when the opposite occurs.

Flase claims made about bushfire management in the Otways

Public statements made by Bill Middleton (Geelong Advertiser 16/2/09) and former Liberal MLC Richard de Fegely (Geelong Advertiser 14 February 2009) that the Otways has been locked up so no control burns are occurring, is factually incorrect.

All the Otway fire suppression strategy information is publicly available, yet those pointing the finger conveniently ignore this.

So what is going on?

There has been an broad generalised argument pushed in the popular media that more fuel reduction burns on forested public land before the February the 7th inferno would have made a significant difference in mitigating the destruciton on that day. This argument has been tied to the idea that conservatoin minded people labled as "greenies" and those chasing "green votes" are to blame for not allowing enought control burns to occur. It has hence been either implied or said outright that conservatoin minded people are directly to blame for the death and destruction. (See below)

Fuel reduction burns made no difference on Black Saturday

On Sunday the 1st of March photos were taken of State forest near Muchison Road in the Flowerdale area in Victoria. This forest area was incinerated by the Kilmore fire on the 7th of February. Photos were taken of a 30 hectare area that was controlled burned on the 10th of April 2008.



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