In the aftermath of 180 dead, Australians ponder deep causes behind devastation of worst-ever bushfires.

Australians, though no strangers to bushfires, are still shocked and baffled. They could not help wondering what factors are combining to have created the tragedy.

The police now have full evidence to believe that arsonists started the fire, but environmentalists and other experts are in search of causes that make the inferno so uncontrollable and devastating.

In an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Bushfire expert David Packham at Melbourne’s Monash University put the blame on the a green movement that opposes controlled clearance in forests.

Fire management has been taking place in Australia for centuries but present policies have changed those practices, Packham said. “If you can reduce your fuels by one-tenth, you actually reduce your fire intensity by one-hundredth.”

Ray Nias from the environmental group the WWF told the broadcaster that the recent fires should inspire discussion about whether it is safe to live in some areas of heavy bush-land at all.

“People choose to live in places like the mountain ranges of Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and elsewhere where there is a high bushfire risk and so, you know, we need to realize that people are, more and more people are living in those high bushfire prone areas and that in itself is an issue,” Nias said.

I wish the reporter had prompted Mr. Nias to expand on his statement, including possible solutions to the bushfire risk. All he says is “the recent fires should inspire discussion about whether it is safe to live in some areas of heavy bush-land at all.”  Discussions with whom?  Does he imagine the people who live in those areas are clueless about the risks?  No, not likely.  Then he must mean someone else.  The government bureaucracy that laid down the laws?  Maybe.  But discussions about what?  I think the “at all” at the end of his sentence gives an indication of where his thoughts lie.

The best conclusion I can draw from what he said is that he considers people to be the problem, not the environmental rules that led to the disaster.  Not very enlightened, Mr. Nias.  Blaming the victim is so 20th century.  It’s almost as if he considers environmental dogma more important than human lives.   If that’s not true, then environmentalists need to get better spokesmen.

H/T Chilling Effect

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