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Community australia s wildfires  learn from aboriginals | Upload Society

Australia's Wildfires: Learn From Aboriginals

by: Jans Jansen
australia s wildfires  learn from aboriginals | Upload

Australia is being ravaged by the worst wildfires seen in decades, with large swathes of the country devastated since the fire season began late July 2019.

woman, mask, australia is on fire

Aboriginal fire management worked brilliantly due to a high frequency of small fires. There were no firefighters, no 4WD tankers, no waterbombers, no ­dozers. But Aboriginal fire ‘management’ worked brilliantly. Because of the high frequency of small fires, fire intensity was low, and fires could be lit safely even in summer. Australia’s nature is sick. Also, if there are fire agencies and land management, often they're not burning in the right way for that country.

Recommended: Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Arctic, Siberia

Traditional, planned burning, man, trees
Traditional planned burning

There are a lot of inappropriate fire regimes. Now we see what happens when you don't burn the right way. You end up with a lot of fuel in the landscape, and when you have extreme conditions as we have now, it leads to massive fires. They're bigger than that country would typically see.

What is the biggest bushfire in Australia?
Overview of the most severe impacts of bushfires in Australia since 1939. The Black Friday Fire (VIC) in 1939, which burnt almost 20,000 km2, destroyed more than 700 homes and resulted in 71 fatalities.

 

Australia's Bushfires: The State Of Affairs, Causalities

A total of 24 people have died nationwide until now. Unfortunately,ly some people are still not accounted for, so the death toll will probably rise. In the state of New South Wales alone, more than 1,300 houses have been destroyed. State and federal authorities are struggling to contain the massive blazes, even with firefighting assistance from other countries, including the United States. All this has been exacerbated by persistent heat and drought, and many points to climate change as a factor making natural disasters go from bad to worse.

woman, Canberra building
A woman who lost her home to bushfires has thrown a massive 'f..k you' at Scott Morrison by dumping the burnt remains of her house in front of Parliament.

Australia's Bushfires: Where Are The Fires?

There have been fires in every Australian state, but New South Wales has been the hardest hit. Blazes have torn through bushland, wooded areas, and national parks like the Blue Mountains. Some of Australia's largest cities have also been affected, including Melbourne and Sydney, where fires have damaged homes in the outer suburbs, and thick plumes of smoke have blanketed the urban center. Earlier in December 2019, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured 11 times the ‘hazardous level.’

Map Australia fires

The fires range in area from small blazes, isolated buildings or part of a neighborhood,  to massive infernos that occupy entire hectares of land. Some start and are contained in a matter of days, but the biggest blazes have been burning for months.

Recommended: Bushfires Australia Generate Their Weather

Australia's Bushfires: What Is Causing The Fires?

Each year there is a fire season during the Australian summer, with hot, dry weather making it easy for blazes to start and spread. The most common causes of bushfires in Australia include lighting strikes, trees falling on powerlines, arsonists, unintentional kindling of surrounding foliage during agricultural land clearing, dropped matches, cigarettes, sparks caused by power tools, farm machinery and controlled backburning escaping.

Eucalypt trees are synonymous with the Australian bushland and are what most Australians identify with when they hear the words ‘bushfire’. The eucalyptus leaves contain highly flammable oils that can burn rapidly and exceptionally well in a fire.

Where was the biggest fire in the world?
Largest Brush and Forest Fires In Recorded History
  • 2003 Siberian Taiga Fires - 47 Million Acres, Russia
  • 2014 Northwest Territories Fires - 8.4 Million Acres, Canada
  • The 1989 Manitoba Wildfires - 8.1 Million Acres, Canada
  • 1939 Black Friday Bushfire - 5 Million Acres, Australia
  • The Great Fire of 1919 - 5 Million Acres, Canada

Eucalyptus trees

Australia's Bushfires: Why Are The Fires So Bad?

Fire season in Australia is always dangerous! The 2009 Black Saturday fires killed 173 people in Victoria, making it the deadliest bushfire disaster on record. But conditions have been unusually severe this year, fanning the flames and making firefighting conditions particularly tricky.


                                                              Australia bushfires - a national catastrophe
                                                Australia's Bushfires: What Can We Learn From Aboriginals

Australia is experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, the country's Bureau of Meteorology said in December 2019 that last spring was the driest on record. Meanwhile, a heatwave in December 2019 broke the record for the highest nationwide average temperature, with some places sweltering under temperatures well above 40 degrees Celsius.
Strong winds have also made the fires, and smoke spread more rapidly, and have led to fatalities. A 28-year-old volunteer firefighter died in NSW in December 2019 after his truck rolled over in high winds.

truck, road, smoke cloud

Experts say climate change has worsened the scope and impact of natural disasters like fires and floods, weather conditions are growing more extreme, and for years, the fires have been starting earlier in the season and spreading with higher intensity. Yet the periodic weakening of land clearing laws in many parts of Australia has accelerated the problem. The negative impacts on industry, society, and wildlife are numerous and well established. They should not be ignored.

Australia's Bushfires: The Damage So Far?

Entire towns have been engulfed in flames, and residents across several states have lost their homes. The most massive structural damage occurred in NSW, the country's most populated state, where close to 1,300 homes have been destroyed and over 440 damaged.
In total, more than 5.9 million hectares (14.7 million acres) have been burned across Australia's six states and growing. It is an area larger than the countries of Belgium and Haiti combined. The worst-affected state is NSW, with 3.6 million hectares (8.9 million acres) burned.

To put that into perspective, the 2019 Amazon rainforest fires burned more than 7 million hectares (about 17.5 million acres), according to Brazilian officials. In California, which is known for its deadly wildfires, just over 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) burned in 2019, and about 404,680 hectares (1 million acres) in 2018. A total of 24 people across Australia have died this fire season, including several volunteer firefighters.

Recommended: Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury

man, orange suit, koala, forest
There has also been extensive damage to wildlife and the environment. Almost a third of koalas in NSW may have been killed in the fires, and a third of their habitat has been destroyed.

Australia's Bushfires: What Is Being Done?

State and federal authorities have been working to combat the fire crisis for months. NSW declared a state of emergency in December, which grants ‘extraordinary powers’ to the NSWRFS commissioner, including the authority to allocate government resources and direct government agencies in taking action. The state of Queensland also briefly declared a state of emergency in November 2019.

Two thousand three hundred firefighters are working on the ground in NSW alone, and more support is on the way, the US, Canada, and New Zealand have sent additional firefighters to help. The federal government has also sent in military assistance like army personnel, air force aircraft, and navy cruisers for firefighting, search and rescue, and clean-up efforts.

Premier Morisson, 2 man, burned area
Prime minister Scott Morrison tours a scorched farm in Victoria. 

Morrison said his administration was allocating at least 23 million Australian dollars ($16.2 million) in disaster recovery payments to affected families and businesses, and up to 6,000 Australian dollars ($4,200) each for volunteer firefighters called out to fight fires for more than ten days.

Australia's Bushfires: When Will The Fires End?

Unfortunately, Australia is only just entering its summer season. Usually, temperatures peak in January and February, meaning the country could be months away from finding relief. The fires are unlikely to end entirely since they are an annually occurring event and may even get worse in recent years are a guide.

 

Australia's Bushfires: How To Prevent Fire Yourself

Preparing your home for a bushfire

Bushfires are a natural part of the Australian environment and occur regularly, but many Australians fail to prepare for them. While there are elements of a bushfire that you can't control - like the weather - planning and making your home for a bushfire can dramatically increase the chances of your family and your home surviving.

If you live in a bushfire prone area, it is your responsibility to reduce the risk to your family and your home and take action to survive a bushfire.

Australia's Bushfires: Fire and Rescue Recommendations

Red tiles, 2 hand, gloves, arms, leaves
Clean leaves from gutters, roofs, and downpipes regularly and fit quality metal leaf guards.

  • Mow your grass regularly, both in the front and back yards.
  • Install fine steel wire mesh screens on all windows, doors, vents, and weep holes.
  • Fit metal NOT plastic fly screens on windows and doors.
  • Enclose open areas under your decks and floors.
  • Seal all gaps in external roof and wall cladding.
  • When installing LPG cylinders around your home, make sure that pressure relief valves face outwards so that flame is not directed towards the house.
  • Keep your backyard tidy, free from any buildup of flammable material.
  • Relocate any flammable items away from your home, including woodpiles, paper, boxes, crates, hanging baskets, and garden furniture.
  • Remove excess ground fuels and other combustible materials.
  • Do not deposit tree lopping’s, grass clippings, and other materials that could aid a fire on your property or council reserves or bushland.
  • Ensure your garden hoses are long enough to reach the perimeter boundary of your property.
  • Plant trees and shrubs that are less likely to ignite due to their lower oil content.
  • Trim low lying branches two meters from the ground surrounding your home.
  • If you have a swimming pool, have a Static Water Supply sign placed on your front fence. Contact your local fire station for information.
  • Consider purchasing a portable pump to use from your swimming pool or water tank.
  • On Total Fire Ban days obey regulations regarding barbecues and open fires.
  • Ensure ALL members of the family know where the community evacuation area is.
  • If there is a Community Fire Unit nearby, consider becoming a member.

Fire Hydrant, red, plant
Make sure that if there is a fire hydrant outside your home, it is easily located and not obstructed.

Australia's Bushfires: In The Event Of A Bushfire

Preparation is not just about cleaning up around the house and having a plan. It is also about making sure you consider your physical, mental, and emotional preparedness. A bushfire can be a terrifying situation. Strong gusty winds, along with intense heat and flames, will make you tired quickly. Thick, dense smoke will make it difficult to see and breathe. The roaring sound of the fire approaching will deafen you. Power and water may be cut off. You may be isolated. It will be dark, noisy, and physically and mentally demanding.

Recommendation: Fog Catchers: Making Water Out Of Air In Africa, Peru, Chile

If you have any doubts about your ability to cope, you should plan to leave early. In the event of bushfire threatening your home:

  • Stay calm.
  • Don't enter the bush if smoke or fire is in the area. Report all fires.
  • Check if elderly neighbors need assistance.
  • Patrol the outside of your home, putting out any embers and spot fires that may start.
  • Close all windows, doors, and shutters.
  • If possible, block your downpipes (a sock full of sand/soil will help) and fill roof gutters with water.
  • If possible, block gaps beneath doors with wet blankets or towels.
  • Collect water in buckets/bath.
  • Consider keeping valuables items and documents in a fire-resistant safe or metal cabinet, or have them packed and ready to go.
  • Comply with police if ordered to evacuate.
  • Bring your garden hose inside so that it won't melt in the fire and can still be used.
  • Wet down timber decks and gardens close to the house if the fire is approaching.
  • Do not stand on your roof with your hose. In bushfires, often more people are injured by falling from roofs than suffering burns.
  • Keep ladders, shovels and metal buckets at hand to help put out spot fires.
  • Keep a torch and a portable battery-operated radio in the home in case the electricity supply fails.
  • Drink plenty of water so you do not dehydrate.
  • Move any firefighting equipment to a place that it will not get burnt.

2 men, fire, fence

How long do wildfires last on average?
These rolling flames travel up to 14 miles an hour, which converts to about a four-minute mile pace, and can overtake the average human in minutes.

 

Australia's Bushfires: Advice For Farmers

Erosion

Take the following steps to reduce erosion damage to burnt areas with:

  • Minimize soil disturbance. Keep stock and vehicle traffic on burnt areas to a minimum
  • Use temporary windbreaks to stop soil building up around troughs or gateways
  • Use temporary electric fences to protect burnt areas
  • Allow plants to grow, so they provide surface cover

Recommended: Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3)

Water erosion

The burnt ground is at risk of water erosion. Rain runs off the burnt soil rather than soak in. Be aware of potential flooding and erosion that can happen if it rains after a fire.

gully, erosion

Wind erosion

Rip soil using a tyned implement in areas susceptible to wind sweep. A rabbit ripper or pipeline laying ripper will be suitable. This will bring clods of earth to the surface to act as a wind barrier.

Dams and watercourses

Protect dams and watercourses from runoff after a fire. Runoff can carry debris into dams and foul the water. Use sediment traps in rivers to filter runoff. Small hay bales pegged down or chicken wire anchored across watercourses can be effective runoff filters.

Re-fencing

Consider the following when re-fencing after a fire:

  • Beware of dead trees and limbs falling along fence lines
  • Fences in creeks may have debris washed into them
  • Replacing fences is an opportunity to change paddock layouts. Fence types can be changed, and they can be put in different places
  • Tanks, pipes, and troughs needing replacement can be put in a different location
  • Use www.naturemaps.sa.gov.au to see aerial photos of a property for planning a new layout or checking what the arrangement was before a fire.

Livestock Feeding

The options for managing livestock after a fire are:

  • sell
  • agist
  • confinement feed
  • Beware weed seeds in hay or grain from unknown sources. Feedstock is a small area so weed distribution is limited.

Growing feed on burnt land

Consider the following when growing feed on burnt land:

  • Plants that bury their seed or have growing points below the surface are best able to survive a fire
  • Established phalaris, lucerne, and native grasses are suited to regenerate after a fire
  • Beware Salvation Jane and Geranium that can grow quickly after a fire
  • Soak an area to simulate rainfall and see what develops. This will tell you what is likely to grow in a paddock.

Feral pest control

Rabbit warrens and foxholes will be exposed during a fire. Take the opportunity to clean them up after a fire.

Australia's Bushfires: Aboriginal Fire Management Part Of The Solution 

There are only a handful of detailed observational studies of the ecology of Aboriginal fire usage and all from northern Australia, so there is a dispute whether their findings can be extrapolated in the south. These studies demonstrate skillful use of fire that created fine-grained burn patterns, designed to promote food resources.

Who are aboriginal peoples of Australia?
Aboriginal Australians are split into two groups: Aboriginal peoples, who are related to those who already inhabited Australia when Britain began colonizing the island in 1788, and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who descend from residents of the Torres Strait Islands, a group of islands that is part of modern-day

For instance, a prime motive for burning savannas is attracting kangaroos to nutrient-rich grass that sprouts after the fire. In the desert, Aboriginal patch burning increases the habitat for sand goannas. In sum, there is mounting evidence that sustained Aboriginal fire use shaped many Australian landscapes by sharpening vegetation boundaries, maintaining open vegetation, and creating habitat for game species. Such skilled burning reduced the extent and intensity of fires, allowing fire-sensitive plant communities - such as those in the Tasmanian wilderness - to persist in flammable landscapes.

Aboriginal Burn-Offs

The disruption of Aboriginal fire management has, for example, resulted in the loss of the native cypress pine (Callitris intratropica) from savanna landscapes across northern Australia.

branch cypress, green

Restoring Aboriginal fire management to sustain wildlife and plants is sometimes a goal in conservation reserves. But this is challenging because beyond some broad generalizations, the specific details of how Aboriginal people burned particular vegetation types are typically unknown.

Where did Aborigines come from?
The first genome analysis of an Aborigine reveals that these early Australians took part in the first human migration out of Africa. They were the first to arrive in Asia some 70,000 years ago, roaming the area at least 24,000 years before the ancestors of present-day Europeans and Asians.

Additionally, in many cases, land clearing and introduction of non-native plants and animals have profoundly changed ecosystems, so it is not practical, or even desirable, to return to pre-settlement fire management.

Planned burning, to reduce fuel loads and decrease the severity and spread of wildfires, is a well-accepted fire management practice. A fundamental justification for planned burning programs is that it emulates the burning practices undertaken by Aboriginal people.  

However, there are key differences. Aboriginal people burn the country by traveling on foot, meaning that they had much greater situational awareness of likely fire behavior and impacts. Also, given they were present in the landscape 24/7, they could choose the timing and carefully influence the possible spread and ecological effects of fire.

By contrast, most planned burning programs have much less flexibility. They are typically constrained to the working week, specific seasons and weather conditions, and often rely on starting fires from the air to get sufficient landscape coverage in remote areas.

This style of fire management is a poor facsimile of Aboriginal fire. Fire agencies can only drop incendiaries under specific weather conditions in the middle of the day when flying is safe. This results in more significant fires and, consequently, much coarser burn mosaics than was achieved by Aboriginal people burning their estates on foot.

In principle, well-trained field crews traversing the landscape can carefully use fire to create very localized fuel reduction, using specific weather windows (such as foggy conditions) and times of day (such as the evening) to maximize the likelihood that that fires remain under control and do not damage fire-sensitive habitats.

Rekindling An Ancient Craft

There is an opportunity to involve Aboriginal communities in fire management across Australia. This could sustain and rekindle an ancient tradition that was disrupted by European settlement.
Aboriginals, chained,
Horrific treatment by the British of the Aboriginal community

Returning to and managing, the country has been shown to have measurable health benefits, an important consideration given the unacceptably poor state of Aboriginal health. Climate change is compounding the bushfire problem. Even if we wanted to, returning to Aboriginal fire management in a rapidly warming world is no longer an option.

How many Aborigines were killed by the British?
After European settlers arrived in 1788, thousands of aborigines died from diseases; colonists systematically killed many others. At first contact, there were over 250,000 aborigines in Australia. The massacres ended in the 1920 leaving no more than 60,000.

But adopting the principles of Aboriginal patch burning is a significant potential strategy to improve fire management and biodiversity outcomes across Australia, be it restoring mosaics of small habitats in rural landscapes, or managing remote areas like the Western Tasmanian Wilderness, and large areas of outback Australia.

Tasmanian devil, fern
Tasmania: Tasmanian Devil

Well- trained people walking across the country and burning it is a fundamental approach in stemming destructive bushfires. There needs to be more investment in this ancient and effective pyro technology.

How did Aboriginal people survive?
Those Aboriginal tribes who lived inland in the bush and the desert lived by hunting and gathering, burning the undergrowth to encourage the growth of plants favoured by the game they hunted. They were experts in seeking out water.

Australia's Bushfires: Will Native Wildlife Recover?

At least 25,000 koalas are believed to have died in a horrific wildfire in South Australia that may have devastating consequences for the survival of the species. Wildlife experts estimate that half a billion mammals, birds, and reptiles have been killed in the fires in recent weeks. There are fears that endangered species in sanctuaries like Kangaroo Island, which was also home to 50,000 kangaroos before the fire, have been lost forever.

Recommended: Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected

Volenteer firefighter, yellow suit, koala 

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park co-owner Sam Mitchell told local media the park was expecting to treat hundreds of starving and injured koalas in the coming weeks and is building extra enclosures in preparation.  

About £10,600,000 worth of bluegum and pine trees on plantations were also lost. In New South Wales, temperatures are forecast to pass 40 degrees C again on Friday, and in Victoria, three blazes remain at the emergency level despite the cooler weather and subsiding winds.

Australia's Bushfires: Disaster Recovery, ‘The Past’

There is a long road ahead for survivors of the current bushfire crisis. However, there are vital lessons to be learned. At the time of the 2011 Queensland crisis, the Australian Defence Force arrived to help. The community spirit was high. Australia and the world donated very generously. But after the first few weeks, initial assistance gave way too often intractable difficulties with housing, insurance claims, job losses, and chronic physical and mental health conditions. Blanket media coverage of the crisis soon dwindled. And for many people, there simply was no return to 'normal' life.

man, cows, fence
Flooded dairy

Five years on

Five years after the event, many still struggled. The journey was far longer and more difficult for people who:

  • Lost family members during or after the disaster
  • Were traumatized by a near-death experience
  • Could no longer work in their old job
  • Had significant health problems
  • Had insurance claims that were slow, difficult or rejected

Those people who were most able to recover were people who:

  • Lost possessions but who were not traumatized by the disaster
  • Remained healthy and had insurance with companies that promptly paid their claims
  • Were able to resume work
  • We were able to repair or replace their homes and return to a relatively healthy life within a few months to a year.

After five years, some people realized they would never recover. Some said they would have preferred to die than endure the five years post-flood. Several survivors spoke of the ‘near miss’ they had with death. For some, it was an incentive to live every day with renewed enthusiasm. For others, the near-miss reinforced the fragility of life and left them feeling more vulnerable.

Recommended: Agriculture, Using Wastewater As Natural Fertilizer: Mexico

woman, fence, flood, house

Death and near-death experiences

Thirty-three of the rescuers and survivors in the disaster experienced a near-death experience. Five years on, some of them had still not attended any counseling and reported memories of near-death experiences playing out in their minds in an endless video-loop. Some became hermits, afraid to leave home. One of the rescuers told me it took five years even to acknowledge he had risked his life.

One mother whose children were at risk said: "Life, as you know, it changed on that day. You know that one second your life is normal and then how quickly things can change. I scan all the time. I scan rooms for the exit. I scan terrain in case something happens, which is the quickest way to escape?"

Lasting psychological impacts

Two-thirds of the people interviewed still had ongoing traumatic memories five years after the disaster – including seeing or hearing the sounds of the disaster, smelling the fetid aromas associated with floods, or feeling anxious at the sound of helicopters. For some, the trauma triggers occurred only in the flood zone, while for others, it could be anywhere, which meant moving away offered no respite.

In the small town of Grantham, where 13 people died, witnesses told an inquiry into the disaster that counselors changed from week to week (meaning survivors had to retell their stories again to a new counselor). The service then stopped because the townspeople didn’t want to see them.

flooded town Grantham

Return or move away?

Many people no longer felt safe at home. People who had to rebuild as property values fell and insurance premiums skyrocketed – some up to A$34,000/year – could not afford to insure their house. They feared a total loss of their homes next time.

  • Some people who never returned to affected towns fared better psychologically than those who did go back.
  • Some people returned initially, rebuilt, but then sold up and left again. Some told me they would not be alive unless they got out when they did
  • Whole communities all but disappeared as almost the entire population left town.

Natural disasters are financial disasters.

After a natural disaster, mortgages still need to be paid, even in uninhabitable houses. Accommodation costs mount. The risk of homelessness and bankruptcy increases and relationships can be put under enormous stress. Property values in the towns and districts affected by the 2011 floods fell dramatically and immediately, meaning some people couldn’t sell and move away.

Several survivors were unable to return to their old jobs because their workplace had been destroyed or because it was too traumatic. One who stayed to rebuild his business experienced another disaster two years later and lost his service station a second time. He rebuilt again only to have his company destroyed a third time the following year.

People who are injured at work in Queensland are eligible to claim on WorkCover, a government-funded program that assists workers in recovering and return to work. People injured in disasters, however, do not qualify for the same type of assistance. Many people relied on charities for food, clothes, and shelter for months to years after the flood. Some refused or resisted charitable help or government help. Some older people reported becoming dependent on their adult children for the first time.

What is needed

The research suggests several possible ways to help natural disaster survivors, including, but not limited to:

  • Better access to publicly funded psychological care beyond the current ten visits allowable under the current Medicare system, especially for people who have lost family or their home or business
  • Free and well-coordinated government-funded counseling in disaster zones
  • Income support and emergency housing for people who have lost homes
  • Government-funded funerals for those who die in a natural disaster
  • Provision of short-term retraining for those who cannot return to their old jobs
  • The creation of a ‘Disaster Cover’ system to support volunteer rescuers or firefighters with access to counseling, income support, and job security – in the same way that WorkCover might support professional firefighters. A legislated scheme would mean survivors are not at the whim of ad hoc emergency government funding or relying on public appeals
  • Such a project could cover emergency medical, rehabilitation and wage costs and then claim them back, where possible, from the claimant’s private medical and income protection insurance
  • Improved land planning around where it is safe to build.

All of this sounds expensive. But the cost of not learning these lessons may be higher in the long run.

Australia's Bushfires: What Is Australia’s Future?

Smoke lingers over suburban Sydney, while bushfires continue to burn. It’s tragic. It’s predictable. And it’s preventable. Australia has always been dry. But for millions of years, natural processes managed the landscape. Water was plentiful, and temperatures were stable. This made devastating fires rare.

Sydney Opera House, yellow boeat white sailing boeat, water

How did nature do it? And can we fireproof the continent again? To answer the first question, we need to look at the relationship between plants, water, soil, and heat.
Anyone knows from personal experience that sweating cools you down. The reason for this is that when liquid sweat evaporates from your skin, some energy – in the form of heat – is needed to transform the liquid into gas. This heat, known as latent heat, is taken away from your body and absorbed by the water vapor. The heat is then rereleased when that vapor turns back into the liquid.

Recommended: India’s CO2, Pollution, Artificial Rain: How To Survive?

This same process is going on all the time in plants. But when plants “sweat,” we call it transpiration. And when you have vast forests and grasslands transpiring, large amounts of water vapor travels into the sky. This has two effects. First, the evaporated water draws a massive amount of heat up into the atmosphere. This cools the environment on the ground. And second, the evaporated water turns into clouds and eventually rain.
This natural process of water movement and heat transfer leads to cooler temperatures and more rain. Two factors are sure to reduce bushfire severity.

The next element to discuss is the soil. Healthy soils capture rain. This reduces erosion and keeps vast amounts of water in the landscape. This water is then available for plants to keep growing long after the rains have stopped. Soil moisture also has a direct impact on how the landscape deals with fire. Dry, degraded soil allows the fire to fly straight over it. Whereas, when there is more water in the ground, the heat is sucked from a fire, stopping it in its path.

hands, hair, soli, plants, pen, notebook
One of the essential tools to combat climate change is right under our feet; soil.

It’s foolish to look at any one of the above processes in isolation. Nature is complex. But if we want to fix the mistakes of two centuries of mismanagement, we must comprehend this complexity.  
And indeed, innovative researchers and land managers have been building a knowledge base under the umbrella term of regenerative agriculture. This is a toolkit of solutions that show the way to build soil, increase plant growth, and hold water in the landscape. Regenerative farmers around the country are working with natural water and ecosystem processes, rather than against them. But we need more people to become informed and join in.

Recommended: Agrivoltaics Mutually Beneficial: Food, Water And Energy

This land has been fireproof before, and it can be fireproof again. We need to let natural water processes work, so plants grow and soils improve. We don’t have to wait for governments to tax carbon or close coal plants. These grassroots solutions will allow us to rehydrate the landscape quickly. And they’re solutions that everyone can work on now. 

Recommended: Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On

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Australia's Wildfires: Learn From Aboriginals

Australia is being ravaged by the worst wildfires seen in decades, with large swathes of the country devastated since the fire season began late July 2019. The State Of Affairs How To Prevent Fire Yourself Bushfires: Advice For Farmers Aboriginal Fire Management Part Of The Solution Disaster Recovery What Is Australia’s Future? Aboriginal fire management worked brilliantly due to a high frequency of small fires. There were no firefighters, no 4WD tankers, no waterbombers, no ­dozers. But Aboriginal fire ‘management’ worked brilliantly. Because of the high frequency of small fires, fire intensity was low, and fires could be lit safely even in summer. Australia’s nature is sick. Also, if there are fire agencies and land management, often they're not burning in the right way for that country. Recommended:  Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Arctic, Siberia Traditional planned burning There are a lot of inappropriate fire regimes. Now we see what happens when you don't burn the right way. You end up with a lot of fuel in the landscape, and when you have extreme conditions as we have now, it leads to massive fires. They're bigger than that country would typically see. What is the biggest bushfire in Australia? Overview of the most severe impacts of bushfires in Australia since 1939. The Black Friday Fire (VIC) in 1939, which burnt almost 20,000 km2, destroyed more than 700 homes and resulted in 71 fatalities.   Australia's Bushfires: The State Of Affairs, Causalities A total of 24 people   have died nationwide until now. Unfortunately,ly some people are still not accounted for, so the death toll will probably rise. In the state of New South Wales alone, more than 1,300 houses have been destroyed. State and federal authorities are struggling to contain the massive blazes, even with firefighting assistance from other countries, including the United States. All this has been exacerbated by persistent heat and drought, and many points to climate change as a factor making natural disasters go from bad to worse. A woman who lost her home to bushfires has thrown a massive 'f..k you' at Scott Morrison by dumping the burnt remains of her house in front of Parliament. Australia's Bushfires: Where Are The Fires? There have been fires in every Australian state, but New South Wales has been the hardest hit. Blazes have torn through bushland, wooded areas, and national parks like the Blue Mountains. Some of Australia's largest cities have also been affected, including Melbourne and Sydney, where fires have damaged homes in the outer suburbs, and thick plumes of smoke have blanketed the urban center. Earlier in December 2019, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured 11 times the ‘hazardous level.’ The fires range in area from small blazes, isolated buildings or part of a neighborhood,  to massive infernos that occupy entire hectares of land. Some start and are contained in a matter of days, but the biggest blazes have been burning for months. Recommended:  Bushfires Australia Generate Their Weather Australia's Bushfires: What Is Causing The Fires? Each year there is a fire season during the Australian summer, with hot, dry weather making it easy for blazes to start and spread. The most common causes of bushfires in Australia include lighting strikes, trees falling on powerlines, arsonists, unintentional kindling of surrounding foliage during agricultural land clearing, dropped matches, cigarettes, sparks caused by power tools, farm machinery and controlled backburning escaping. Eucalypt trees are synonymous with the Australian bushland and are what most Australians identify with when they hear the words ‘bushfire’. The eucalyptus leaves contain highly flammable oils that can burn rapidly and exceptionally well in a fire. Where was the biggest fire in the world? Largest Brush and Forest Fires In Recorded History 2003 Siberian Taiga Fires - 47 Million Acres, Russia 2014 Northwest Territories Fires - 8.4 Million Acres, Canada The 1989 Manitoba Wildfires - 8.1 Million Acres, Canada 1939 Black Friday Bushfire - 5 Million Acres, Australia The Great Fire of 1919 - 5 Million Acres, Canada Australia's Bushfires: Why Are The Fires So Bad? Fire season in Australia is always dangerous! The 2009 Black Saturday fires killed 173 people in Victoria, making it the deadliest bushfire disaster on record. But conditions have been unusually severe this year, fanning the flames and making firefighting conditions particularly tricky. {youtube}                                                               Australia bushfires - a national catastrophe                                                 Australia's Bushfires: What Can We Learn From Aboriginals Australia is experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, the country's Bureau of Meteorology said in December 2019 that last spring was the driest on record. Meanwhile, a heatwave in December 2019 broke the record for the highest nationwide average temperature, with some places sweltering under temperatures well above 40 degrees Celsius. Strong winds have also made the fires, and smoke spread more rapidly, and have led to fatalities. A 28-year-old volunteer firefighter died in NSW in December 2019 after his truck rolled over in high winds. Experts say climate change has worsened the scope and impact of natural disasters like fires and floods, weather conditions are growing more extreme, and for years, the fires have been starting earlier in the season and spreading with higher intensity. Yet the periodic weakening of land clearing laws in many parts of Australia has accelerated the problem. The negative impacts on industry, society, and wildlife are numerous and well established. They should not be ignored. Australia's Bushfires: The Damage So Far? Entire towns have been engulfed in flames, and residents across several states have lost their homes. The most massive structural damage occurred in NSW, the country's most populated state, where close to 1,300 homes have been destroyed and over 440 damaged. In total, more than 5.9 million hectares (14.7 million acres) have been burned across Australia's six states and growing. It is an area larger than the countries of Belgium and Haiti combined. The worst-affected state is NSW, with 3.6 million hectares (8.9 million acres) burned. To put that into perspective, the 2019 Amazon rainforest fires burned more than 7 million hectares (about 17.5 million acres), according to Brazilian officials. In California, which is known for its deadly wildfires, just over 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) burned in 2019, and about 404,680 hectares (1 million acres) in 2018. A total of 24 people across Australia have died this fire season, including several volunteer firefighters. Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury There has also been extensive damage to wildlife and the environment. Almost a third of koalas in NSW may have been killed in the fires, and a third of their habitat has been destroyed. Australia's Bushfires: What Is Being Done? State and federal authorities have been working to combat the fire crisis for months. NSW declared a state of emergency in December, which grants ‘extraordinary powers’ to the NSWRFS commissioner, including the authority to allocate government resources and direct government agencies in taking action. The state of Queensland also briefly declared a state of emergency in November 2019. Two thousand three hundred firefighters are working on the ground in NSW alone, and more support is on the way, the US, Canada, and New Zealand have sent additional firefighters to help. The federal government has also sent in military assistance like army personnel, air force aircraft, and navy cruisers for firefighting, search and rescue, and clean-up efforts. Prime minister Scott Morrison tours a scorched farm in Victoria.  Morrison said his administration was allocating at least 23 million Australian dollars ($16.2 million) in disaster recovery payments to affected families and businesses, and up to 6,000 Australian dollars ($4,200) each for volunteer firefighters called out to fight fires for more than ten days. Australia's Bushfires: When Will The Fires End? Unfortunately, Australia is only just entering its summer season. Usually, temperatures peak in January and February, meaning the country could be months away from finding relief. The fires are unlikely to end entirely since they are an annually occurring event and may even get worse in recent years are a guide.   Australia's Bushfires: How To Prevent Fire Yourself Preparing your home for a bushfire Bushfires are a natural part of the Australian environment and occur regularly, but many Australians fail to prepare for them. While there are elements of a bushfire that you can't control - like the weather - planning and making your home for a bushfire can dramatically increase the chances of your family and your home surviving. If you live in a bushfire prone area, it is your responsibility to reduce the risk to your family and your home and take action to survive a bushfire. Australia's Bushfires: Fire and Rescue Recommendations Clean leaves from gutters, roofs, and downpipes regularly and fit quality metal leaf guards. Mow your grass regularly, both in the front and back yards. Install fine steel wire mesh screens on all windows, doors, vents, and weep holes. Fit metal NOT plastic fly screens on windows and doors. Enclose open areas under your decks and floors. Seal all gaps in external roof and wall cladding. When installing LPG cylinders around your home, make sure that pressure relief valves face outwards so that flame is not directed towards the house. Keep your backyard tidy, free from any buildup of flammable material. Relocate any flammable items away from your home, including woodpiles, paper, boxes, crates, hanging baskets, and garden furniture. Remove excess ground fuels and other combustible materials. Do not deposit tree lopping’s, grass clippings, and other materials that could aid a fire on your property or council reserves or bushland. Ensure your garden hoses are long enough to reach the perimeter boundary of your property. Plant trees and shrubs that are less likely to ignite due to their lower oil content. Trim low lying branches two meters from the ground surrounding your home. If you have a swimming pool, have a Static Water Supply sign placed on your front fence. Contact your local fire station for information. Consider purchasing a portable pump to use from your swimming pool or water tank. On Total Fire Ban days obey regulations regarding barbecues and open fires. Ensure ALL members of the family know where the community evacuation area is. If there is a Community Fire Unit nearby, consider becoming a member. Make sure that if there is a fire hydrant outside your home, it is easily located and not obstructed. Australia's Bushfires: In The Event Of A Bushfire Preparation is not just about cleaning up around the house and having a plan. It is also about making sure you consider your physical, mental, and emotional preparedness. A bushfire can be a terrifying situation. Strong gusty winds, along with intense heat and flames, will make you tired quickly. Thick, dense smoke will make it difficult to see and breathe. The roaring sound of the fire approaching will deafen you. Power and water may be cut off. You may be isolated. It will be dark, noisy, and physically and mentally demanding. Recommendation:  Fog Catchers: Making Water Out Of Air In Africa, Peru, Chile If you have any doubts about your ability to cope, you should plan to leave early. In the event of bushfire threatening your home: Stay calm. Don't enter the bush if smoke or fire is in the area. Report all fires. Check if elderly neighbors need assistance. Patrol the outside of your home, putting out any embers and spot fires that may start. Close all windows, doors, and shutters. If possible, block your downpipes (a sock full of sand/soil will help) and fill roof gutters with water. If possible, block gaps beneath doors with wet blankets or towels. Collect water in buckets/bath. Consider keeping valuables items and documents in a fire-resistant safe or metal cabinet, or have them packed and ready to go. Comply with police if ordered to evacuate. Bring your garden hose inside so that it won't melt in the fire and can still be used. Wet down timber decks and gardens close to the house if the fire is approaching. Do not stand on your roof with your hose. In bushfires, often more people are injured by falling from roofs than suffering burns. Keep ladders, shovels and metal buckets at hand to help put out spot fires. Keep a torch and a portable battery-operated radio in the home in case the electricity supply fails. Drink plenty of water so you do not dehydrate. Move any firefighting equipment to a place that it will not get burnt. How long do wildfires last on average? These rolling flames travel up to 14 miles an hour, which converts to about a four-minute mile pace, and can overtake the average human in minutes.   Australia's Bushfires: Advice For Farmers Erosion Take the following steps to reduce erosion damage to burnt areas with: Minimize soil disturbance. Keep stock and vehicle traffic on burnt areas to a minimum Use temporary windbreaks to stop soil building up around troughs or gateways Use temporary electric fences to protect burnt areas Allow plants to grow, so they provide surface cover Recommended:  Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3) Water erosion The burnt ground is at risk of water erosion. Rain runs off the burnt soil rather than soak in. Be aware of potential flooding and erosion that can happen if it rains after a fire. Wind erosion Rip soil using a tyned implement in areas susceptible to wind sweep. A rabbit ripper or pipeline laying ripper will be suitable. This will bring clods of earth to the surface to act as a wind barrier. Dams and watercourses Protect dams and watercourses from runoff after a fire. Runoff can carry debris into dams and foul the water. Use sediment traps in rivers to filter runoff. Small hay bales pegged down or chicken wire anchored across watercourses can be effective runoff filters. Re-fencing Consider the following when re-fencing after a fire: Beware of dead trees and limbs falling along fence lines Fences in creeks may have debris washed into them Replacing fences is an opportunity to change paddock layouts. Fence types can be changed, and they can be put in different places Tanks, pipes, and troughs needing replacement can be put in a different location Use  www.naturemaps.sa.gov.au  to see aerial photos of a property for planning a new layout or checking what the arrangement was before a fire. Livestock Feeding The options for managing livestock after a fire are: sell agist confinement feed Beware weed seeds in hay or grain from unknown sources. Feedstock is a small area so weed distribution is limited. Growing feed on burnt land Consider the following when growing feed on burnt land: Plants that bury their seed or have growing points below the surface are best able to survive a fire Established phalaris, lucerne, and native grasses are suited to regenerate after a fire Beware Salvation Jane and Geranium that can grow quickly after a fire Soak an area to simulate rainfall and see what develops. This will tell you what is likely to grow in a paddock. Feral pest control Rabbit warrens and foxholes will be exposed during a fire. Take the opportunity to clean them up after a fire. Australia's Bushfires: Aboriginal Fire Management Part Of The Solution  There are only a handful of detailed observational studies of the ecology of Aboriginal fire usage and all from northern Australia, so there is a dispute whether their findings can be extrapolated in the south. These studies demonstrate skillful use of fire that created fine-grained burn patterns, designed to promote food resources. Who are aboriginal peoples of Australia? Aboriginal Australians are split into two groups: Aboriginal peoples, who are related to those who already inhabited Australia when Britain began colonizing the island in 1788, and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who descend from residents of the Torres Strait Islands, a group of islands that is part of modern-day For instance, a prime motive for burning savannas is attracting kangaroos to nutrient-rich grass that sprouts after the fire. In the desert, Aboriginal patch burning increases the habitat for sand goannas. In sum, there is mounting evidence that sustained Aboriginal fire use shaped many Australian landscapes by sharpening vegetation boundaries, maintaining open vegetation, and creating habitat for game species. Such skilled burning reduced the extent and intensity of fires, allowing fire-sensitive plant communities - such as those in the Tasmanian wilderness - to persist in flammable landscapes. Aboriginal Burn-Offs The disruption of Aboriginal fire management has, for example, resulted in the loss of the native cypress pine (Callitris intratropica) from savanna landscapes across northern Australia. Restoring Aboriginal fire management to sustain wildlife and plants is sometimes a goal in conservation reserves. But this is challenging because beyond some broad generalizations, the specific details of how Aboriginal people burned particular vegetation types are typically unknown. Where did Aborigines come from? The first genome analysis of an Aborigine reveals that these early Australians took part in the first human migration out of Africa. They were the first to arrive in Asia some 70,000 years ago, roaming the area at least 24,000 years before the ancestors of present-day Europeans and Asians. Additionally, in many cases, land clearing and introduction of non-native plants and animals have profoundly changed ecosystems, so it is not practical, or even desirable, to return to pre-settlement fire management. Planned burning, to reduce fuel loads and decrease the severity and spread of wildfires, is a well-accepted fire management practice. A fundamental justification for planned burning programs is that it emulates the burning practices undertaken by Aboriginal people.   However, there are key differences. Aboriginal people burn the country by traveling on foot, meaning that they had much greater situational awareness of likely fire behavior and impacts. Also, given they were present in the landscape 24/7, they could choose the timing and carefully influence the possible spread and ecological effects of fire. By contrast, most planned burning programs have much less flexibility. They are typically constrained to the working week, specific seasons and weather conditions, and often rely on starting fires from the air to get sufficient landscape coverage in remote areas. This style of fire management is a poor facsimile of Aboriginal fire. Fire agencies can only drop incendiaries under specific weather conditions in the middle of the day when flying is safe. This results in more significant fires and, consequently, much coarser burn mosaics than was achieved by Aboriginal people burning their estates on foot. In principle, well-trained field crews traversing the landscape can carefully use fire to create very localized fuel reduction, using specific weather windows (such as foggy conditions) and times of day (such as the evening) to maximize the likelihood that that fires remain under control and do not damage fire-sensitive habitats. Rekindling An Ancient Craft There is an opportunity to involve Aboriginal communities in fire management across Australia. This could sustain and rekindle an ancient tradition that was disrupted by European settlement. Horrific treatment by the British of the Aboriginal community Returning to and managing, the country has been shown to have measurable health benefits, an important consideration given the unacceptably poor state of Aboriginal health. Climate change is compounding the bushfire problem. Even if we wanted to, returning to Aboriginal fire management in a rapidly warming world is no longer an option. How many Aborigines were killed by the British? After European settlers arrived in 1788, thousands of aborigines died from diseases; colonists systematically killed many others. At first contact, there were over 250,000 aborigines in Australia. The massacres ended in the 1920 leaving no more than 60,000. But adopting the principles of Aboriginal patch burning is a significant potential strategy to improve fire management and biodiversity outcomes across Australia, be it restoring mosaics of small habitats in rural landscapes, or managing remote areas like the Western Tasmanian Wilderness, and large areas of outback Australia. Tasmania: Tasmanian Devil Well- trained people walking across the country and burning it is a fundamental approach in stemming destructive bushfires. There needs to be more investment in this ancient and effective pyro technology. How did Aboriginal people survive? Those Aboriginal tribes who lived inland in the bush and the desert lived by hunting and gathering, burning the undergrowth to encourage the growth of plants favoured by the game they hunted. They were experts in seeking out water. Australia's Bushfires: Will Native Wildlife Recover? At least 25,000 koalas are believed to have died in a horrific wildfire in South Australia that may have devastating consequences for the survival of the species. Wildlife experts estimate that half a billion mammals, birds, and reptiles have been killed in the fires in recent weeks. There are fears that endangered species in sanctuaries like Kangaroo Island, which was also home to 50,000 kangaroos before the fire, have been lost forever. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected   Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park co-owner Sam Mitchell told local media the park was expecting to treat hundreds of starving and injured koalas in the coming weeks and is building extra enclosures in preparation.   About £10,600,000 worth of bluegum and pine trees on plantations were also lost. In New South Wales, temperatures are forecast to pass 40 degrees C again on Friday, and in Victoria, three blazes remain at the emergency level despite the cooler weather and subsiding winds. Australia's Bushfires: Disaster Recovery, ‘The Past’ There is a long road ahead for survivors of the current bushfire crisis. However, there are vital lessons to be learned. At the time of the 2011 Queensland crisis, the Australian Defence Force arrived to help. The community spirit was high. Australia and the world donated very generously. But after the first few weeks, initial assistance gave way too often intractable difficulties with housing, insurance claims, job losses, and chronic physical and mental health conditions. Blanket media coverage of the crisis soon dwindled. And for many people, there simply was no return to 'normal' life. Flooded dairy Five years on Five years after the event, many still struggled. The journey was far longer and more difficult for people who: Lost family members during or after the disaster Were traumatized by a near-death experience Could no longer work in their old job Had significant health problems Had insurance claims that were slow, difficult or rejected Those people who were most able to recover were people who: Lost possessions but who were not traumatized by the disaster Remained healthy and had insurance with companies that promptly paid their claims Were able to resume work We were able to repair or replace their homes and return to a relatively healthy life within a few months to a year. After five years, some people realized they would never recover. Some said they would have preferred to die than endure the five years post-flood. Several survivors spoke of the ‘near miss’ they had with death. For some, it was an incentive to live every day with renewed enthusiasm. For others, the near-miss reinforced the fragility of life and left them feeling more vulnerable. Recommended:  Agriculture, Using Wastewater As Natural Fertilizer: Mexico Death and near-death experiences Thirty-three of the rescuers and survivors in the disaster experienced a near-death experience. Five years on, some of them had still not attended any counseling and reported memories of near-death experiences playing out in their minds in an endless video-loop. Some became hermits, afraid to leave home. One of the rescuers told me it took five years even to acknowledge he had risked his life. One mother whose children were at risk said: "Life, as you know, it changed on that day. You know that one second your life is normal and then how quickly things can change. I scan all the time. I scan rooms for the exit. I scan terrain in case something happens, which is the quickest way to escape?" Lasting psychological impacts Two-thirds of the people interviewed still had ongoing traumatic memories five years after the disaster – including seeing or hearing the sounds of the disaster, smelling the fetid aromas associated with floods, or feeling anxious at the sound of helicopters. For some, the trauma triggers occurred only in the flood zone, while for others, it could be anywhere, which meant moving away offered no respite. In the small town of Grantham, where 13 people died, witnesses told an inquiry into the disaster that counselors changed from week to week (meaning survivors had to retell their stories again to a new counselor). The service then stopped because the townspeople didn’t want to see them. Return or move away? Many people no longer felt safe at home. People who had to rebuild as property values fell and insurance premiums skyrocketed – some up to A$34,000/year – could not afford to insure their house. They feared a total loss of their homes next time. Some people who never returned to affected towns fared better psychologically than those who did go back. Some people returned initially, rebuilt, but then sold up and left again. Some told me they would not be alive unless they got out when they did Whole communities all but disappeared as almost the entire population left town. Natural disasters are financial disasters. After a natural disaster, mortgages still need to be paid, even in uninhabitable houses. Accommodation costs mount. The risk of homelessness and bankruptcy increases and relationships can be put under enormous stress. Property values in the towns and districts affected by the 2011 floods fell dramatically and immediately, meaning some people couldn’t sell and move away. Several survivors were unable to return to their old jobs because their workplace had been destroyed or because it was too traumatic. One who stayed to rebuild his business experienced another disaster two years later and lost his service station a second time. He rebuilt again only to have his company destroyed a third time the following year. People who are injured at work in Queensland are eligible to claim on WorkCover, a government-funded program that assists workers in recovering and return to work. People injured in disasters, however, do not qualify for the same type of assistance. Many people relied on charities for food, clothes, and shelter for months to years after the flood. Some refused or resisted charitable help or government help. Some older people reported becoming dependent on their adult children for the first time. What is needed The research suggests several possible ways to help natural disaster survivors, including, but not limited to: Better access to publicly funded psychological care beyond the current ten visits allowable under the current Medicare system, especially for people who have lost family or their home or business Free and well-coordinated government-funded counseling in disaster zones Income support and emergency housing for people who have lost homes Government-funded funerals for those who die in a natural disaster Provision of short-term retraining for those who cannot return to their old jobs The creation of a ‘Disaster Cover’ system to support volunteer rescuers or firefighters with access to counseling, income support, and job security – in the same way that WorkCover might support professional firefighters. A legislated scheme would mean survivors are not at the whim of ad hoc emergency government funding or relying on public appeals Such a project could cover emergency medical, rehabilitation and wage costs and then claim them back, where possible, from the claimant’s private medical and income protection insurance Improved land planning around where it is safe to build. All of this sounds expensive. But the cost of not learning these lessons may be higher in the long run. Australia's Bushfires: What Is Australia’s Future? Smoke lingers over suburban Sydney, while bushfires continue to burn. It’s tragic. It’s predictable. And it’s preventable. Australia has always been dry. But for millions of years, natural processes managed the landscape. Water was plentiful, and temperatures were stable. This made devastating fires rare. How did nature do it? And can we fireproof the continent again? To answer the first question, we need to look at the relationship between plants, water, soil, and heat. Anyone knows from personal experience that sweating cools you down. The reason for this is that when liquid sweat evaporates from your skin, some energy – in the form of heat – is needed to transform the liquid into gas. This heat, known as latent heat, is taken away from your body and absorbed by the water vapor. The heat is then rereleased when that vapor turns back into the liquid. Recommended:  India’s CO2, Pollution, Artificial Rain: How To Survive? This same process is going on all the time in plants. But when plants “sweat,” we call it transpiration. And when you have vast forests and grasslands transpiring, large amounts of water vapor travels into the sky. This has two effects. First, the evaporated water draws a massive amount of heat up into the atmosphere. This cools the environment on the ground. And second, the evaporated water turns into clouds and eventually rain. This natural process of water movement and heat transfer leads to cooler temperatures and more rain. Two factors are sure to reduce bushfire severity. The next element to discuss is the soil. Healthy soils capture rain. This reduces erosion and keeps vast amounts of water in the landscape. This water is then available for plants to keep growing long after the rains have stopped. Soil moisture also has a direct impact on how the landscape deals with fire. Dry, degraded soil allows the fire to fly straight over it. Whereas, when there is more water in the ground, the heat is sucked from a fire, stopping it in its path. One of the essential tools to combat climate change is right under our feet; soil. It’s foolish to look at any one of the above processes in isolation. Nature is complex. But if we want to fix the mistakes of two centuries of mismanagement, we must comprehend this complexity.   And indeed, innovative researchers and land managers have been building a knowledge base under the umbrella term of regenerative agriculture. This is a toolkit of solutions that show the way to build soil, increase plant growth, and hold water in the landscape. Regenerative farmers around the country are working with natural water and ecosystem processes, rather than against them. But we need more people to become informed and join in. Recommended:  Agrivoltaics Mutually Beneficial: Food, Water And Energy This land has been fireproof before, and it can be fireproof again. We need to let natural water processes work, so plants grow and soils improve. We don’t have to wait for governments to tax carbon or close coal plants. These grassroots solutions will allow us to rehydrate the landscape quickly. And they’re solutions that everyone can work on now.  Recommended:  Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about bush fires or climate change? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage.'
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