The following letter to the editor was published in The West Australian newspaper today:
Listen to the experts
It is somewhat ironic that on the same page that Graeme Fuller has wishful thoughts “of governments taking sensible advice from suitably qualified persons and acting on it” (Letters, 29/5) Carole Peters attacks the government policy on prescribed burns.
It is worth reminding ourselves that, in his report of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire (which virtually destroyed Yarloop), Euan Ferguson took into account 165 written submissions, 71 hearings and five telephone hearings, some of which expressed the opinions that Dr Peters puts forward.
A significant conclusion was: “The Department of Parks and Wildlife (as the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions then was) need to continually focus on maintaining hazard reduction and fire management as the highest priority. Should hazard reduction targets not be met into the future, there will be more out-of-scale bushfires. This will have adverse impacts on biodiversity, forest health as well as community impacts.”
Without wishing to minimise the distress and loss of those involved in the current fires, the government and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions should not be dissuaded from “taking sensible advice from suitably qualified persons and acting on it” .
[Name withheld] Gooseberry Hill