Not literally today, which here in The Gong is particularly wet as we are experiencing the effects of the dreaded east coast low.
But you will recall that for almost six months from spring through summer the theme was bushfires. Here are just two pictures from that time, the first from November 2019, the second from December 2019.
Dargan, near Lithgow NSW — part of the Gospers Mountain fire
I raise all this because the ABC has an amazing online feature and set of documentary reports called Anatomy of a ‘mega-blaze’.
That tree, deep in wild Wollemi National Park, was where it all began — struck by lightning, one strike out of 19.068 during a single spring storm.
“By the end of the Black Summer, the Gospers Mountain blaze accounted for half of the mega-blaze at 512,142ha, the Kerry Ridge blaze 323,900ha, the Little L Complex 169,834, the Three Mile fire 45,944ha, and the Grose Valley fire 19,920ha….”
Just before Christmas 2019:
With catastrophic conditions again forecast for December 21, Premier Berejiklian declared a second State of Emergency.
Thousands of firefighters were now in the field, as strike teams from interstate and overseas joined the battle.
“The first thing you experience is the ember attack,” Mr Burley said.
“It’s like a snowstorm but embers, and then the colour of the sky turns to orange, then dark.
“It’s like sitting in front of an oven.”
Volunteer firefighter Stacey Kent was with her RFS team on the fire’s southern flank, trying to stop it crossing the Hawkesbury River and making a run into Sydney’s northern suburbs.
“Just walls of flame, and like, as far as you could see, from the treetops to the sky was just orange, no matter where you looked,” she said.
“If it crossed the river, it was going to be catastrophic.”
By then, emergency management officials at all levels of government were planning for the worst.
The ABC can reveal extensive preparations were made to evacuate thousands of residents from Sydney’s Hornsby and Hills districts….
We became accustomed but not inured to signs like that over spring (that one is from spring!) and summer 2019-2020. I had several relatives affected by this and other blazes — yes, there were other mega-blazes — including my cousin Ray Christison of Lithgow who wrote at the time:
“Big day for an old bloke. Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and support. I just want to clarify something. I’m not in the RFS and was working yesterday as a museum volunteer. I have considered joining the RFS over the years but know I would be allocated to a communications role.”
So do visit that latest ABC offering. I conclude with poet and Blue Mountains resident Mark Roberts who in commending the ABC site on Facebook said:
Remember how Andrew Bolt, Craig Kelly and the hordes of other experts claimed there was an army of arsonists moving across the country lighting magazines as a political act to prove Climate Change? The Gosper’s Mountain fire was started by lightning strike 19,068 in a single storm. Later strikes expanded the fire. I expect the apologies are already being written.
Further to Mark’s comment see Media Watch 3 February 2020.
ROWAN DEAN: Unprecedented bushfires? Unprecedented drought? No, this Australian summer has been the summer of unprecedented stupidity. Never before have we had to suffer such idiocy in public debate and political commentary, nationally and internationally, in relation to two of the most common and predictable occurrences in Australia’s climate cycle, drought and bushfires.
– Outsiders, Sky News, 26 January, 2020
Hello, I’m Paul Barry, welcome to Media Watch.
And welcome to Groundhog Day, where the loudest voices at News Corp are adamant that the summer’s terrifying bushfires have nothing to do with climate change.
Or, if they have, there’s nothing we can do about it.
And, as always, welcome back to News Corp’s team of hand-picked, highly-paid columnists and TV hosts on Sky, who are leading the chorus:
PETA CREDLIN: So, let me deal with the issue head on. Does climate change cause these fires? No.
– Credlin, Sky News, 20 January, 2020
CHRIS KENNY: … So that’s the key. The drought. And if drought can’t be blamed on climate change you can’t blame the fires on climate change, especially when so many are deliberately lit …
– The Kenny Report, Sky News, 11 December, 2019
ALAN JONES: What’s burning in Victoria are eucalypts. What’s burning in South Australia are eucalypts … When are we going to wake up and stop using this as an excuse to justify the climate change hoax?
– Richo & Jones, Sky News, 29 January, 2019
Passionate denial that the bushfires should make us act on climate change runs right across the Murdoch media in this country reaching an audience of millions….
Yes, Alan Jones, that famous expert on bushfires and climate change, has now left radio 2GB and hawks his voice on Sky In The Dark where he displays his credentials on epidemiology and public health — all backed by the same rigorous study. Not bad for a fellow BA Dip Ed! I envy him the depth and confidence he brings to those calm and rational conclusions on such knotty matters, as follows.
I have spared you the voice.
The longer politicians fail to mention the vast majority of all coronavirus cases are mild and over 99 per cent of people will recover, the longer “they will deserve the contempt that the public feels towards them” says Sky News host Alan Jones.
Mr Jones said the public are “ropeable and rightly so” over the handling of this virus by our political leaders. He said “Dodgy Dan” won’t answer the questions the public wants answers to.
Neither the Victorian Premier, nor NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, will tell the public “how many of these cases are mild and how many are critical”.
Mr Jones said the best way moving forwards is for Dan Andrews to “resign today,” but instead more fear is being spruiked, this time in the form of the wearing of face masks in the state.
He also added residents in New South Wales are being told to be on “high alert” by Premier Berejiklian. “Well I will tell you who is on high alert … the voter”.
Such ineffable wisdom! Oh bow down, people, before the Mighty Al! Rarely has so little been said so loudly to such maleficent effect! He really is a master! Of crap….