Victorian forestry workers in conjunction with government departments have lit fires in at least five national parks since the February bushfires to capitalise on public sympathy for controlled burning to reduce the fuel load.
Immediately after the bushfires, News Limited media and talk back radio stations ran concerted campaigns to blame the bushfires on a lack of controlled burns leading to an abundance of fuel. Scientists who presented evidence that forests opposing the burning, claim they have not been given a fair hearing.
A study commissioned by Environment East Gippsland indicates that many Victorian forests are more than 500 years old. Coordinator Jilll Redwood said that forests become less vulnerable to fire if they are not burned regularly, that most fires are started by arsonists and that old forests store vast amounts of water and carbon dioxide. “This is a critical component in our carbon emission reduction,” said Lindsay Hesketh of the Australian Conservation Foundation