Thursday 9 July 2020

Bits and Pieces: The Ghosts of Bushfires Past and Future (Updated)

Hopefully, the next and upcoming fire season in Australia will not be as devastating as the last one: there isn’t much left to burn.

That will not last, however.

In fact, those fires are still affecting many.

Meet the Firefighters Left Homeless After Battling Last Season’s Bushfires
By Vanessa Milton, Rosie King and Kerrin Thomas (ABC), June 4.

Burnt Out
By Stephanie March and Sashka Koloff with photography by Harriet Tatham (ABC). July 7.


Satellite imagery is a useful tool to assess the magnitude of bushfires; a range of authoritative sources offer such images for free. But its assessment requires some care.

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but I am afraid in the near future we’ll have ample opportunity to use them. Some useful guidelines to use those images may prove handy:

6 Things to Ask Yourself Before you Share a Bushfire Map on Social Media
By Juan Pablo Guerschman (Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO). January 10.

Satellite Imagery is Revolutionizing the World. But Should we Always Trust What we See?
Melinda Laituri (Professor of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University). June 4, 2019.


Although the liberal/leftish anti-racist intellectuals know we workers are a subhuman breed of racist brutes – particularly if we fancy ourselves socialists – scientists can still use the help of citizen scientists. And the good thing is that they won’t ask what on earth you do for a living.

You can do this to help scientists:

Birdwatching Increased Tenfold Last Lockdown. Don’t Stop, It’s a Huge Help for Bushfire Recovery.
By Ayesha Tulloch, April Reside, Georgia Garrard, Michelle Ward and Monica Awasthy. July 9.

In the process, and against all expectations given our limitations, we may even learn something.


Update (13/07/2020).

You know what is scary? When someone widely regarded as a pessimist is shown to have been too optimistic.

Last Saturday, just after I published the present post, this note appeared:

This map of fire potential was included in that note:

Note that heightened fire potential affects the zone of Bega (the red area towards south-east NSW). But the rest of the state and Victoria territory still present normal fire potential.

Let us hope the forecast of rains (including heave rains today) materialises.

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