Fires of spring

After two years of La Nina and plenty of rain we haven't had significant rain in three months. But clever people still want to burn their pasture ... sigh. Let's have a big round of applause for the (all volunteer) Rural Fire Service who have to deal with such nonsense on the ground.
As well as bushfires there are some local wildlife and garden shots here too.
http://s1086.beta.photobucket.com/user/HareScott/library/Fires%20of%20Spring
Comments welcome.
David
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

we get knuckleheads like that around here too. they'll pick the windiest days to burn ditches or leaves or trash...
i'll even believe a fire started by lightning here or there too, but some are started by cigarettes tossed out windows of cars in passing and that's someone being just plain brainless during a drought.

do they let some of the fires burn freely if they don't threaten houses or are all fires suppressed?

it looks like you are surrounded by nice green pastures. :)
songbird
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songbird wrote:

Their activity is pretty well proportional to the risk of damage to property or loss of life. In some cases the terrain is so difficult there is no access so they cannot do anything on the ground anyway. Such areas do not have much in the way of property or people but if (say) a wind comes up and threatens to blow the fire towards a town they will water-bomb the forest to try to save the town. These people are not only unpaid but they can be away from work for days losing pay. An employer who didn't let them go would probably be lynched.
D
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Supposedly. But look what happened as a result of that policy when 500 houses burned in Canberra.
In some cases the terrain is so difficult there is no

I notice the qualifier added in there.
These people are not only unpaid but they can be away

Yup.
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On 11/24/2012 10:42 PM, David Hare-Scott wrote:

Fires can occur naturally and US West has apparently gotten in trouble by suppressing them and then dealing with fires that are difficult to control.
Nice pictures.
Frank
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????? Is that how it started or was it a farm burnoff? The only people who I've heard of seen who still burn stubble are the odd wheat farmers out west.

But then we've all heard of tossers who join the RFS so they can put out fires they start..... such tossers should be shot by their fellow Firies.

Nice photos as usual David. Have you done your fire survival plan yet?
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Farm1 wrote:

I am in a beef cattle area where there are many landholders who still do things the way that Grandpa did. Every Spring just before the expiry of the burn-without-permit season they burn their paddocks. They overstock and use set stocking in big paddocks and don't mind if their bulls cover their own offspring. It's a time warp.

True. They join up because they loooove fire. Its like the priests and Brothers who teach because they loooove little kids. The same penalty should apply but Cardinal Pell will keep it behind the seal of the confessional instead.

Yep. I put the house in the centre of a 5 ha paddock with no forest nearer than 150m and no tree nearer than 60m and I paid for steel/hardieplank instead of wood and I mow all round. During this episode, which was mainly on a neighbour's place, I was taking pictures not waving a hose and worrying. Should freak conditions arise where fire might cross the gap I'm staying to defend. I have enough water to soak everything for days.
David
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LOL. It sounds like it. We know one grazier who has a closed herd and his cattle are pathetic, but he's the only one. His ancestor was one of the more famous conservative Colonial parsons so I've always thought that might be his excuse for such dim behaviour.

Yeah. Bastard priests and also those who went into politics after thinking the priesthood might be an option.

Well done. I'm still planning to do a plan. But I have sent Himself off to the tip today with 2 trailer loads of tree trimmings and he's changing the oil in the tractor because he's been slashing. Once things hay off, I'm going ot kmake sure all tanks are filled frequently and all hoses are laid out. I might even get him to move a tank that is on a hill and doing nothing useful into a better, closer position where it can be gravity fed in case of danger.
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

if the genes are weak then the inbreeding will make it obvious.
i don't understand the burning thing though, as it puts nutrients into the air instead of into the cow. perhaps they breathe it in like people who smoke herbal cigarrettes for their health...
...

sounds sensible in a brushfire area. congrats.
songbird
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Actually burning is quite beneficial to the soil because it adds (if I recall correctly) phoshorus to the soil (although it may be another, or even a number of other nutrients). Australian Aboriginals and many other native peoples did it as a 'farming' technique as after the burning, grass grew strongly and brought in grazing animals that they then killed for food. It's not a good technique though in fire prone areas and quite antisocial these days because of pollution.
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Farm1 wrote:

Burning only adds phosphorus to the soil if it is present in what you burn. This is the basis of slash and burn agriculture where the nutrients in trees are released allowing a crop to grow in the ashes. In Oz which tends to have phosphorus impoverished soil the P is held mainly in the trees, burning the forest releases this. So our white forebears used fire to clear forest and increase fertility at the same time but then found that the great crops they got in the first year or two couldn't be sustained. S&B only works if you have plenty of forest to move on to when the current patch becomes exhausted, which was fine for the aboriginals who lived at a low population density and were ready to move as required.
Burning pasture doesn't achieve anything like that, you are much better slashing with a mulcher which retains nutrients and carbon in the soil. The perpetrators are seduced by the apparent reduction of weeds and the nice flush of new growth you can get if there is rain afterwards but in the long run it's a loser as volatile nitrogen compounds are lost and so is soil carbon. But as one neighbour put it "its fun".
D
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wrote in message

Well as I mentioned, I don't recall what it sis that is added so perhaps it wasn't phosphorus.

But you mentioned your grazier neighbours who were burning pasture. That is not slash and burn agriculture.

Of course it's a loser in the long run, but as I said, it does add nutrients. Anyone who does it annually is a total nong and anyone who does do it, but doesn't ensure they do a low heat burn is also a nong.
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wrote:

It would add potassium, as does wood ashes, but as mentioned, S&B is a quick fix, and isn't sustainable. You may get some charcoal, but there are better ways to do it.
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

*grr!*
right, slash and burn agriculture is a completely different thing than pasturage as also would be the burning of wild areas for encouraging native species and those who must have fire for completing their life cycle.
the point of "adding" anything to the soil by burning is more like the changing the accessibility of the nutrient, but like you say that only works if there is rain shortly afterwards. the greater the gap between burn and rain the more likely there is a breeze to take the ashes away. a heavy rain means runoff which puts a lot of those freed up nutrients into the streams. there really isn't a whole lot of good about slash and burn compared to other things that can be done. even taking the brush and burying it will at least keep the carbon and nutrients nearer the place where they were formed instead of exporting them into the air or into the streams.
but to get to pasturage, burning during a drought exposes more of the soil surface to drying winds and the heat of the sun. plus removing any of the dry stalks that can soak up some of the extra water if a heavy rain comes along, protecting the soil from the rain drop impacts (reducing compaction), erosion protection... it's just so completely and boneheadedly wrong.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

It's just slackness, there are plenty of reasons not to inbreed to that degree they just cannot be bothered managing their herd properly.

This is also slackness, burning is cheaper than slashing or many other pasture management practices. Yes it reduces the nutrients (especially N whose compounds are often volatile) but it also reduces soil organic content which reduces the capacity of the soil to hold both nutrients and water. It also favours rank grasses and some weeds which are better adapted to fire than more nutritious grasses.

I have friends who built in a eucalyptus forest because they like the trees......
D
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

...
oops.
songbird
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