Water bombers, the big ones carrying more than 15 tonnes of fire fighting fluid, were used in the Tasmanian bushfires but were not available to the fire fighters battling in the West Macs under horrendous conditions in January. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Our photos were taken yesterday at midday as the call was being made to 000. Passers-by had stopped when they saw smoke coming out of the hollows of this river giant. This follows the an unprecedented loss of mature trees to apparent arson attacks over recent months.
UPDATE, Friday 22 September, 12.55pm: A prompt phone call to 000 and effective action by the fire brigade looks to have saved this tree.
Alice Springs is facing massive losses of its River Red gums from fire. "What would our town be without its River Red gums?" asks Dr FIONA WALSH. There are things residents can do – to protect the trees in the first place and to help extinguish fires, including new smothering techniques for fires in hollow tree trunks.
The big country we live in turns into a monster when it burns, thumbing its nose at our feeble efforts to regain the upper hand.
It's the more agonising when the cause is human stupidity, carelessness or malice, as appears to have been the case a few days ago when part of the West MacDonnell National park, our greatest tourism asset, was turned into cinder.
An area of about 40 square kilometers was burned.
One blaze was started by the roadside near Redbank Gorge.
Another, ignited in dozens of spots for some 30 kilometers on the Glen Helen to Alice Springs road, was lit by sparks from a car driven on its rims.ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
ABOVE: The Finke River (foreground) stopped the bushfire just short of a popular bush camp, and the Glen Helen Resort. Mount Sonder is in the background, charred bushland in the middle ground. LEFT: A curry wattle re-grows after a bushfire in the MacDonnell Ranges, near Ormiston.