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Bushfire Threatens Major Telescope

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the burning-dow-the-house dept.

Australia 79

Thorfinn.au writes "Authorities are warning lives and property are under immediate threat as a large bushfire burns out of control near communities in northern New South Wales. The Rural Fire Service has issued an emergency warning for the large, fast moving blaze near Coonabarabran, which has already destroyed two properties. Siding Springs, the principal optical observatory is under threat. The MtStromlo observatory was destroyed in a bush fire in 2003."

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79 comments

Bush... (-1, Troll)

eggroll0d (2606969) | about a year ago | (#42576799)

Another Bush is on fire huh? Is this one going to speak to Moses as well? Seriously? Can't even proofread the freaking title of your article????????????

Re:Bush... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42576851)

um Australia. Title is correct in context.

Re:Bush... (1)

killkillkill (884238) | about a year ago | (#42576855)

ahhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushfires_in_Australia

NEVER FEAR! (2, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#42576869)

Captain Periscope will rescue Major Telescope!

Re:NEVER FEAR! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42581015)

Why'd ya pull yer resume off LinkedIn Jeremiah Cornelius -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3368135&cid=42529887 [slashdot.org] Is it since someone spotted you're not only a "San Fran 'Man'" (a fella is more like it) and that you can't even spell what you allegedly used to do for a job? It's correctly spelled PENETRATION, not "pentration" as you misspelled it there in front of 1,000's no doubt (one would think an anal penetration man from San Fran'd know how THAT is spelled at least, lol). Jeremiah Cornelius likes to troll others -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2238996&cid=36457426 [slashdot.org] , but can't handle it when it's done in return showing he is illiterate, and that much is obvious. You fail troll. How many years did you leave your resume up there with that basic literacy fail on it? Yes you have been trolled. You like? I wager you don't since you removed your faulty resume (on the very thing you took pride in that you can't even spell correctly most likely indicating you weren't any good at it either).

Re:NEVER FEAR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42584563)

Why'd ya pull yer resume off LinkedIn Jeremiah Cornelius -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3368135&cid=42529887 [slashdot.org] Is it since someone spotted you're not only a "San Fran 'Man'" (a fella is more like it) and that you can't even spell what you allegedly used to do for a job? It's correctly spelled PENETRATION, not "pentration" as you misspelled it there in front of 1,000's no doubt (one would think an anal penetration man from San Fran'd know how THAT is spelled at least, lol). Jeremiah Cornelius likes to troll others -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2238996&cid=36457426 [slashdot.org] , but can't handle it when it's done in return showing he is illiterate, and that much is obvious. You fail troll. How many years did you leave your resume up there with that basic literacy fail on it? Yes you have been trolled. You like? I wager you don't since you removed your faulty resume (on the very thing you took pride in that you can't even spell correctly most likely indicating you weren't any good at it either).

Re:Bush... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42576885)

They're just trying to subtly tie natural disasters with George W. Bush. As if there weren't enough disasters associated with him.

Re:Bush... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42577461)

He probably caused it somehow. Perhaps too much weed smoking on a trip to the Outback

Threat Passed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42576803)

The threat has passed. Some minor out buildings were damaged, but otherwise the majority of the main equipment was unharmed.

Re:Threat Passed (4, Informative)

Tapewolf (1639955) | about a year ago | (#42576989)

The threat has passed. Some minor out buildings were damaged, but otherwise the majority of the main equipment was unharmed.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/13/siding_spring_survives_firestorm/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Threat Passed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42577025)

And samzenpus knew it had passed, but he posted the "story" anyway, because his goal in life is to post as many articles about his beloved Australia as he can before he's fired.

See what happens when Aussies get mod points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42577853)

Or it was samzenpus... The new Michael Sims?

Never the less (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42577993)

They and you should get off the pot, tell the Greens to go hang and bulldoze decent fire-break roads again, and do controlled under-brush burns regularly. This is more Green, un-Sustainable Bullshit, If you plow fire-breaks you 20 square kn on fire, not half of the Socal canyons at once, burn out the underbrush every 3-5 years and you have a healthy forest.

What we have here, thank you America, again for ignorant intemperate troughing!

I have an Office in Amazonas and one of the state officials called up and said what can we do about the big tree fires, they have become ver bad in the last 7 years.

I asked him if the WWF, Greenpeace or the UN had been by, and he said yes, but it keeps getting worse. They told you to stop the inigenes burning, didn't they I asked ... Well Yes.

Start paying the indians to set fires but not before 1800 I told him. OK why, it will burn out the underbrush, and at 2000 it will rain and put the fire out. Now we have no more dangerous fires within 100 km of Manaus in 5 years.

MFG, omb

Re:Never the less (2)

dwywit (1109409) | about a year ago | (#42580221)

An interesting strategy, and I hope it works out for you.
 
Coonabarabran doesn't have that sort of reliable rainfall - it's not in or near a rainforest, you see.

Re:Threat Passed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42578231)

A blog post from an astronomer who regularly uses this observatory: here [blogspot.com.au]. The on-site accommodation that astronomers usually use has been destroyed. The blogger is offering to camp out there in a tent for her next scheduled telescope-using timeslot.

Re:Threat Passed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42578273)

There's a radio observatory nearby (the 22-metre Mopra telescope) that's still under threat. They lost communications when the fire passed over it, and they're going out to assess the damage today. (Source: heard this from an astronomer in the office next to me, who uses this telescope. She's already got all the data she needs for her PhD, though, so it's not a disaster for her personally if it's out of commission.)

The good part (3, Funny)

fredan (54788) | about a year ago | (#42576891)

is that they got an telescope so they can actually see the bushfire!

Re:The good part (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#42577081)

The bad part is that they had to cut funding for the local fire brigade.

Re:The good part (2)

fredan (54788) | about a year ago | (#42577337)

wait, what?

So they can't see the bushfire with their current telescope since the money for a new telescope to see the bushfire actually went to the fire brigade?!?!

Re:The good part (1)

HJED (1304957) | about a year ago | (#42580325)

The government funded local fire brigades usually aren't the ones fighting bushfires that's the job of the rfs which is a volunteer organization.

Where (0)

StuffMaster (412029) | about a year ago | (#42577067)

I get from "bushfire", ".au", and "New South Wales" that we're talking about Australia, but not everyone will pick up on that. Country should be mentioned.

Re:Where (2)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#42577115)

Also, whenever London is mentioned I feel they should put "London, England" in case people confuse it with other Londons, such as London, Ohio (it's 2 miles south of Cowpoke).

Re:Where (1, Insightful)

LoztInSpace (593234) | about a year ago | (#42577569)

Also, whenever states in USA are mentioned, I feel they (article writers with an eye to an international audience -i.e. everything on the web) should spell the frickin' state out in full as you did. Using these bullshit colloquialisms makes it rough going to work out what's going on sometimes. Especially bad is organisations that should know better, such as National Geographic.
I guess we should count ourselves grateful we got New South Wales not NSW.

Re:Where (1)

cupantae (1304123) | about a year ago | (#42579603)

Well, they don't claim to be International Geographic.

Re:Where (1)

LoztInSpace (593234) | about a year ago | (#42580189)

Very true, but I am sure deep down you know what I mean. They sell it hard enough internationally though. I get at least an email a week and a letter every fortnight asking me to renew and I'm not in the USA.

Re:Where (1)

talis9 (166451) | about a year ago | (#42588937)

I guess we should count ourselves grateful we got New South Wales not NSW.

Yes, you should be grateful you got NSW. We got WA. That's Western Australia. Not Washington. Western fucking Australia!

Re:Where (1)

fido_dogstoyevsky (905893) | about a year ago | (#42577997)

Also, whenever London is mentioned I feel they should put "London, England" in case people confuse it with other Londons, such as London, Ohio (it's 2 miles south of Cowpoke).

And whenever Dallas is mentioned, they should put in "Dallas, USA" in case people confuse it with other Dallas(es?), such as Dallas, Victoria (AU)... :)

Re:Where (1)

HJED (1304957) | about a year ago | (#42580335)

Most people should know that London is the capital city of England, I wouldn't expect most people to know that New South Wales is a state in Australia.

Re:Where (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year ago | (#42580597)

I suspect people may know more than you give them credit for. Besides which, it is quite a large and relatively populous place - there are 7.2 million people living there - it's larger than most US states by population or area. Should we start qualifying US states? Minnesota (USA) at 5.3 million Commonwealth of Massachusetts (USA) at 6.6 million? If not, why not?

Re:Where (1)

HJED (1304957) | about a year ago | (#42584923)

BTW I live in NSW. Your example is a bit extreme, but yes it would be good to start qualifying US states like in your Minnesota example, your Massachusetts example is a bit over the top, Massachusetts, USA would be good though. However most people know the names of the larger US states due to films and literature.

Re:Where (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42577133)

It is tagged Australia

Re:Where (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42577211)

And it has the Australia icon

Re:Where (5, Informative)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#42577827)

Don't they teach world history/geography in schools these days? :-)

NSW has existed on world maps for over two centuries, has a population larger than Washington State or Serbia and is bigger than Texas or Mozambique.

Re:Where (2)

quenda (644621) | about a year ago | (#42579965)

I get from "bushfire", ".au", and "New South Wales" that we're talking about Australia, but not everyone will pick up on that. Country should be mentioned.

If you are part of the English-speaking world, how can you not know what New South Wales is?
Do you also want to be told that Texas is US, Scotland is UK, and Ontario is in Canada?

Re:Where (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year ago | (#42580057)

That's depressing. I always giggle when I see American news reports talk about "London, England" or "Paris, France"- surely people don't need telling which country these places are in? But apparently I was wrong...

Re:Where (1)

CHIT2ME (2667601) | about a year ago | (#42586995)

Hey dude! I live in Missouri. Thats in the U.S. if you didn't know! Paris is just about 90 miles away. Also Versailles is only about 18 miles away from my home. Oh, and to add fuel to the fire, Cuba is about 60 miles away. So, the next time you start having a "giggle fit" about why we in the U.S. add France to Paris or Versailles, remember, even though these countries are, reasonably, the first location one would think of, they're not always the cities being talked about.

Re:Where (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year ago | (#42595063)

Of course I knew Missouri is in the USA- those of us in the rest of the world are not geographically challenged.

Paris, Missouri has a population of 1220 (according to Wikipedia). The Paris (France) metropolitan area has a population 12 million. So I think it would usually be fairly likely that the nice news reader on CNN might be more likely to be talking about the French capital, rather than the backwater village in Missouri.

Context is also usually pretty clear. If the story is "Prime Minister Francois Hollande announced today in Paris that the EU will be releasing new funds to Greece", the addition of "Paris, France" is fairly superfluous.

So yeah, still pretty funny.

(Incidentally, the only thing worse is when the new reader gets it wrong, which is surprisingly often. The number of times I've heard them say "Glasgow, England", or even worse- "Wales, England" is painful.)

Why so many bush fires? (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#42577119)

Do they never do controlled burns to reduce the burden of undergrowth? Seems like they keep having large bush fires threaten important stuff.

Re:Why so many bush fires? (4, Interesting)

dwywit (1109409) | about a year ago | (#42577189)

2 reasons. The size of the area to be burnt, and funding.
 
When you have limited funds, you have to be very selective where you spend it doing this years' choice of burns. Rural Fire Brigades (at least here in Qld) have to do a lot of fundraising to stay afloat - they're volunteers, and one of the few charities I always support when the phone rings to sell me raffle tickets.

Re:Why so many bush fires? (2)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year ago | (#42578507)

When someone does call, make sure it's a local volunteer and not some firm outsourced for a percentage of the cut. Otherwise find a way to give directly.

Re:Why so many bush fires? (1)

dwywit (1109409) | about a year ago | (#42579121)

Good point - I think it's local, though. I won a consolation prize, once - 2 smoke alarms, a fire blanket, backpack, cap, AND a Garmin Nuvi!. When the next call came I told the caller I'd be happy to buy double tickets, because of the prize. He started talking about what a great little package of items it was, and he had been given the package for some reason - so that makes me think it wasn't outsourced to a city call centre.

Re:Why so many bush fires? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42577273)

Do they never do controlled burns to reduce the burden of undergrowth?

Backburn - what's that? Oh - wait. I get it. Why didn't we think of that. Great idea, we could create an organisation and call it the Country Fire Authority and they could do it.

You are a genius!

Genius or fucking clueless pinheaded moron and master of the bleeding obvious - I keep getting the two confused.

Re:Why so many bush fires? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#42581029)

The post was clearly referring to hazard reduction burning, not backburning. Same organisation does them but they are very different things.

Re:Why so many bush fires? (3, Informative)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | about a year ago | (#42577379)

We do have some fairly extreme weather here, and the last three years have been wet, making hazard reduction burns difficult. Now we have lots of fuel and this summer is dry and hot. As the temperature rises, the relative humidity falls and the fine fuels dry out in less than an hour. Then you have a very large fuel load with the fine fuels (grass, twigs, leaves) acting like tinder. All you need then is an ignition source and high winds and you have a major problem.

Re:Why so many bush fires? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#42577907)

The Hollywood hills keep catching fire for similar geographical reasons, it's not becuase of a lack of common sense or back burning.

Re:Why so many bush fires? (2)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about a year ago | (#42577929)

Do they never do controlled burns to reduce the burden of undergrowth? Seems like they keep having large bush fires threaten important stuff.

One wonders if this is Environmentalism run amuck of putting out all fires until instead of number of small natural fires that don't do significant damage, the fuel builds up into inferno range that does great damage?

Or you could just clear the brush around your observatory regularly -- again if the Environmentalists let you. Australia is rather weird in this regard.
 

Re:Why so many bush fires? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42578005)

Australia's natural environmental balance is to have ridiculously large bushfires sweep across the continent every summer. There are plant species that rely on bushfires to flourish! So technically by putting the fires OUT we are being un-environmental...

Re:Why so many bush fires? (5, Informative)

tconnors (91126) | about a year ago | (#42578913)

Do they never do controlled burns to reduce the burden of undergrowth? Seems like they keep having large bush fires threaten important stuff.

One wonders if this is Environmentalism run amuck of putting out all fires until instead of number of small natural fires that don't do significant damage, the fuel builds up into inferno range that does great damage?

Or you could just clear the brush around your observatory regularly -- again if the Environmentalists let you. Australia is rather weird in this regard.

Well, 10 years ago to the week, Mount Stromlo Observatory burnt down. The owners of that also own Siding Spring, and put in place many measures. Like clearing trees, and installing fire mesh on all the windows.

Problem is, the flash point of eucalyptus oil is 47 degrees, so on hot days the country is basically guaranteed to erupt in a massive fireball. Fireballs have been observed rolling along bare earth for a km, just igniting the volatile oils above the ground layer in the air.

Other problem is that we've had record rains for 2/3 years so burnoffs couldn't really be done. And now we're back in a record hot spell, and everything has completely dried out in the past 6 months now that La Nina is back. It went from too wet to burn off to too volatile to burn off in a blink of the eye (and since there are government organisations involved, it could be argued they can't act that quickly :) .

Most buildings on the mountaintop are 1970's era. The main 3.9m dome has no active fire safety equipment in it, but it is clad in fire proof material and was always intended as the fire safety refuge for the entire mountaintop, since there's only a single winding road off the mountaintop (which always scared the hell out of me in Summer).

The lodge on the other hand had wooden doors, was quite up close to the bush (a feature, because it moderated the temperatures for the astronomers sleeping during the daytime), and was sorely lacking in maintenance (although when I worked there, I could hear workman on the roof often enough, so I presume they were clearing leaves and twigs from the roof).

Fortunately, yesterday was Sunday. The photos the guy on duty took just before leaving look awfully scary to me, but he's a firey, and knows what he's doing. Might have been interesting to get all 18 staff and x number of visiting astronomers off the mountain in a hurry if it was a week working day the bus was back in town and not available when the evac was called. Not much room to land a chopper (although it's been done before).

Re:Why so many bush fires? (3, Informative)

tconnors (91126) | about a year ago | (#42578969)

Well, 10 years ago to the week, Mount Stromlo Observatory burnt down. The owners of that also own Siding Spring, and put in place many measures. Like clearing trees, and installing fire mesh on all the windows.

Problem is, the flash point of eucalyptus oil is 47 degrees, so on hot days the country is basically guaranteed to erupt in a massive fireball. Fireballs have been observed rolling along bare earth for a km, just igniting the volatile oils above the ground layer in the air.

Other problem is that we've had record rains for 2/3 years so burnoffs couldn't really be done. And now we're back in a record hot spell, and everything has completely dried out in the past 6 months now that La Nina is back. It went from too wet to burn off to too volatile to burn off in a blink of the eye (and since there are government organisations involved, it could be argued they can't act that quickly :) .

Most buildings on the mountaintop are 1970's era. The main 3.9m dome has no active fire safety equipment in it, but it is clad in fire proof material and was always intended as the fire safety refuge for the entire mountaintop, since there's only a single winding road off the mountaintop (which always scared the hell out of me in Summer).

The lodge on the other hand had wooden doors, was quite up close to the bush (a feature, because it moderated the temperatures for the astronomers sleeping during the daytime), and was sorely lacking in maintenance (although when I worked there, I could hear workman on the roof often enough, so I presume they were clearing leaves and twigs from the roof).

Fortunately, yesterday was Sunday. The photos the guy on duty took just before leaving look awfully scary to me, but he's a firey, and knows what he's doing. Might have been interesting to get all 18 staff and x number of visiting astronomers off the mountain in a hurry if it was a week working day the bus was back in town and not available when the evac was called. Not much room to land a chopper (although it's been done before).

By the way, it was 40 degrees on the mountaintop yesterday according to the onsite met tower (prior to reading 104degC for a couple of minutes as the fire passed over). When I worked there, I found that if it was hot on the mountaintop, it was unbearable in town. The constant temperature inversion meant that it was always 10 or so degrees hotter in town. Yesterday was a frickin dangerous day. I haven't looked, but I suspect we made a lot of use of the new category of fire danger that was introduced after the Victorian Black Friday fires a few years ago - "Catastrophic (Code Red)". That's the new category they now use to say "get the fuck out, don't even try to defend your purpose built property. You will die.".

As to your question about burnoffs; of course burnoffs are regularly done onsite. There's a dedicated fire truck on site, large tanks of water, fire pumps, a trained staff fire team, assistance from the local RFS. Every few years they burn off different sections of the mountain and the surrounding national park. Using a coordinated, evidence based approach (ie, not the method you would use if you typically read The Daily Smellograph and other Is Your News Limited? publications).

Re:Why so many bush fires? (2)

HJED (1304957) | about a year ago | (#42580359)

In fact environmentalists actively support backburning in Australia because a large part of our native trees and plant are dependent on being burnt every few years

Re:Why so many bush fires? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42578887)

Not to mention, Australian bush actually thrives off a burn/regrowth cycle - You burn it off and in a year it's pretty much back to normal

Siding Spring Observatory (2)

hde226868 (906048) | about a year ago | (#42577255)

This is a place to bring my favorite joke by Virginia Trimble: "It is Siding Spring Observatory, not Siding Springs, this being Australia, after all". I hope that the damage is small. This is the most beautiful observatory site I have been observing at. and it would be a shame to see the telescopes damaged. Not only the AAT, but also the smaller telescopes on that site have been very productive.

God hates the ANU (1)

reluctantjoiner (2486248) | about a year ago | (#42577369)

First Stromlo, now Coonabarabran.

Coonabarabran is a nice little town for active geeks - great hiking during the day, actual starlight at night. I can't wait to visit in the Wintertime.

Re:Siding Spring Observatory (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year ago | (#42577391)

I, too, hope for minor damage only. After first-hand experience of the bushfire that destroyed Mount Stromlo 18 Jan 2003 (and the ensuing shit fight with insurers) I would not wish a similar loss on the ANU and others again.

Re:Siding Spring Observatory (3, Informative)

Tapewolf (1639955) | about a year ago | (#42578247)

I, too, hope for minor damage only. After first-hand experience of the bushfire that destroyed Mount Stromlo 18 Jan 2003 (and the ensuing shit fight with insurers) I would not wish a similar loss on the ANU and others again.

The Register had a link to this:

http://news.anu.edu.au/2013/01/08/fire-risk-information-for-anu-staff-and-students/ [anu.edu.au]

The Observatory has survived with some damage and some loss of buildings.

An initial assessment indicates that five buildings have been severely affected or damaged, including the Lodge used to accommodate visiting researchers and a number of cottages and sheds. A fire has been extinguished at the Visitors Centre this morning . We expect the Visitor Centre has been severely damaged.


An initial visual assessment indicated that no telescopes appear to have received major damage, but the impact of the fire on the instruments will not be known until later today.

Re:Siding Spring Observatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42578451)

Where the bloody hell is Coona-bloody-barabran?

just more evidence (0)

Bill Dog (726542) | about a year ago | (#42578145)

I didn't think an ex-president would go so far as to resort to arson, but I guess those Republicans really hate science that much.

Firebreaks are a simple solution. (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#42578327)

If you have something valuable which may be endangered by burning plants nearby, remove the plants and ensure they don't grow back.

I had a number of pines too near my houses. A chainsaw solved that nicely. I don't have flammable brush near my shop. I mow and use total vegetation killer for the hard-to-mow bits.

Re:Firebreaks are a simple solution. (2)

Lairdsville (600242) | about a year ago | (#42578491)

That helps, but in severe conditions, as we are having now, it is still no guarantee. The problem of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ember_attack [wikipedia.org] after people are evacuated means that even building that are hundreds of meters from the fire can still burn down. The strategy in NSW is to evacuate if there is any risk to life, so we have the situation where many buildings have been lost but so far no lives.

Re:Firebreaks are a simple solution. (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#42579781)

We had an old house in a sandy, scrubby area that had plenty of room around it and still burnt down when a bushfire came through. The firefighter said that the air was so hot that it heated the wood under the corrugated iron roof until it spontaneously caught on fire.

Re:Firebreaks are a simple solution. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42580585)

Perhaps the value of "plenty" was not sufficiently plenty.

In any case, the real failure is all this building with flammable materials in places that burn. This has been fucking stupid for a very long time. We have many available building materials that won't burst into flame due to heat, notably including dirt and steel.

Re:Firebreaks are a simple solution. (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#42580631)

It was brick walls and corrugated iron roofing, so I wouldn't say it was particularly susceptible to fire. There was some grass just outside the house that didn't burn, so clearly the heat was only higher up. The only weak point was that the wood inside the roof, under the metal, was ~70 years old so was extremely dry. The heat was so intense once the house caught alight that all the windowpanes melted.

Re:Firebreaks are a simple solution. (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42581037)

Doesn't that strike you as a bit nutty? Build everything but the roof with fireproof materials? I realize that steel has issues in severe heat, but it takes more heat to deform steel than to light old wood on fire...

Re:Firebreaks are a simple solution. (2)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year ago | (#42580567)

Conditions have been quite bad the last week or so, by which I mean fires have been spotting 20 kms ahead of the firefront - that means that your firebreak would need to be 20 kms wide to be effective. Also, the fire in question covers 40000 hectares. Check out this site (Click on Wambelong for the fire in question) http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_content.cfm?cat_id=683 [nsw.gov.au]. The large blacked out patches on the map are what burnt last wednesday.

I don't think your chainsaw will cut it, pun intended.

Re:Firebreaks are a simple solution. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#42581157)

I think you might be surprised just how large that "nearby" area is during a large Australian bushfire. Whichever deity designed the Australian bush was clearly a pyromaniac.

proper term (1)

Papa Legba (192550) | about a year ago | (#42582083)

I beleive this is a brushfire, not a bushfire. Bush is the singular, brush is the pural (www.dictionary.com Brush - a dense growth of bushes, shrubs). Now I could be wrong, this could have been a REALLY big bush, but otherwise it is brushfire.

Side note : A bushfire is more commonly known as a STD (sexually transmitted disease)

Re:proper term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42583171)

In Aussielandia, "the bush" is the root of "bushfire". It's an Oz term for wildfire or forest fire.

Re:proper term (1)

Occams (2422082) | about a year ago | (#42585011)

The "bush" means outside of the densly populated area. It has nothing to do with shrubbery, bushes or brush.

Re:proper term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42586465)

The term "brush" is almost never used in Australia except when talking about hair and cleaning devices.

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