Talk:Bushfires in Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Wildfire (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon Bushfires in Australia is part of WikiProject Wildfire, which collaborates on wildfire-related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, you can edit the article attached to this page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and/or contribute to the discussion.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Australia (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon Bushfires in Australia is within the scope of WikiProject Australia, which aims to improve Wikipedia's coverage of Australia and Australia-related topics. If you would like to participate, visit the project page.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Note icon
Need help improving this article? Ask a LibrarianWhat's this? at the National Library of Australia.
Note icon
The Wikimedia Australia chapter can be contacted via email to for other than editorial assistance.

This article has been mentioned by a media organization:
  • Oliver Milman (7 October 2014). "Greg Hunt told of climate change link to weather before he quoted Wikipedia". The Guardian. Hunt told the BBC on 22 October: “Australia has since European settlement and obviously well before that, had a history of recurrent bushfire. I looked up what Wikipedia says for example, just to see what the rest of the world thought, and it opens up with the fact that bushfires in Australia are frequently occurring events during the hotter months of the year."  (details)

Merge proposal[edit]

There is no reason to maintain a separate Bushfires in Victoria article - it creates unnecessary duplication. Bushfires in Victoria are just the same as bushfires everywhere else in the southern part of the continent. No reason for its own article. Relevant information should be merged to this article, with individual bushfires forked to List of Australian bushfires, or if that becomes too large (it wouldn't be at this stage, but would be if the list were expanded to include more historical fires), further fork to List of Victorian bushfires, etc. Please discuss below. --Yeti Hunter (talk) 10:54, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree with merge proposal as detailed above. No need for a separate article.--Dmol (talk) 12:02, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose Firefighting in Victoria is the responsibility of two Victorian state authorites the Country Fire Authority and the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment. Bushfire policy and plannning and emergency management are responsibilities of the Victorian state government, major disasters are investigated by Victorian state royal commissions, statistics are compliled by Victorian state authorities and departments. The subject is independently notable, and has a large reservoir of state-based current and historical sources to draw upon for expansion.--Melburnian (talk) 12:47, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
  • What you just mentioned is about all the information you'd need in a subheading "Victoria" in a national article. It's the same in South Australia. The CFS deals with rural firefighting, the MFS deals with urban firefighting, National Parks and Wildlife deals with park maintenance and backburning, all are centrally co-ordinated during incidents from FireSA on Gouger Street.... this can all be very neatly dealt with by having a national article which links to each state-based department and "list of" statistics page for greater detail. --Yeti Hunter (talk) 21:32, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
  • A comprehensive article is preferable to a subheading, links and lists.Melburnian (talk)
I would consider that a point in favour of an Australia-wide article. Much of what is in the Victorian article is equally applicable to the rest of Australia, and that which isn't could be much better dealt with in its own articles, a la Country Fire Service.--Yeti Hunter (talk) 07:08, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Or for that matter, Country Fire Authority, which the current article inexplicably doesn't even link to.--Yeti Hunter (talk) 07:12, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
It's simplistic to suggest linking to the state volunteer fire department to cover the topic of bushfires in a state when the topic is much broader than supression, covering land management, planning and legislation for the major part determined at state level as well as the extensive historical information.--Melburnian (talk) 13:52, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
This article currently deals with: Description of bushfires (2 paragraphs), description of Victorian terrain (1 paragraph), causes of bushfires (2 paragraphs), fire warnings (1 paragraphs), list of Victorian bushfires (28 paragraphs, with a separate "most deadly" section with 23 dot points), and a bit of original research re: death tolls (3 paragraphs). Bushfire suppression agencies? Zero paragraphs. Bushfire prevention strategies? Zero paragraphs. Bushfire related legislation? Zero paragraphs. In short, it contains nothing that would even give it an argument for remaining a standalone article.--Yeti Hunter (talk) 21:50, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
What you are describing is the quality of the article as at October 2010. The question here is the notability of the topic "Bushfires in Victoria", which is clearly notable as a stand-alone subject. [1] [2] Melburnian (talk) 23:35, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
A google search and a vic library page on historical Vic bushfires don't in any way demonstrate that bushfires in Victoria are any different to bushfires in the rest of Australia. If you can fix the article so that it does demonstrate the notability and uniqueness of Vic bushfires, I'll gladly support it as a standalone. That's hypothetical. It currently does not warrant its own article. --Yeti Hunter (talk) 00:15, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually the State Library of Victoria site comprises 14 pages and in addition to covering resources related to historical fires in Victoria it also covers resources on current information from state authorities and media, reports and state legislation.Melburnian (talk) 02:34, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Changes look really good; Victorian article actually looks like it could and should survive on its own now, since you've made it about bushfire policies / management in Victoria rather than any supposed uniqueness of Vic. bushfires as the article previously seemed to assert. I withdraw the merge proposal. Possibly use the article as a loose template for the creation of other state bushfire management pages? --Yeti Hunter (talk) 05:49, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think the same approach can be taken for other states; it frees this article from having to give six or more different versions for each facet of management, legislation and planning related to bushfires.Melburnian (talk) 06:46, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Agree. The Vic article is looking good and opens the door for similar treatment in sister articles for the other states. –Moondyne 12:46, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Lead sentence[edit]

I find the uncited lead sentence asserting that Aussie bushfires are the most frequent in the world quite suspect, especially in light of data like this. I'm looking for a nice citation that sums up the unique characteristics of bushfire in Australia as opposed to elsewhere in the world, perhaps something like "characterised by their intensity and relatively short duration". This page from the CSIRO gets close, and can certainly be used, but it doesn't quite do it for the lead sentence. Any suggestions?--Yeti Hunter (talk) 06:25, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Removed and replaced. –Moondyne 12:46, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Missing information[edit]

Any information on fires around 8th-14th Feb 2014 and 22nd-26th Feb 2014? (talk) 12:39, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

A major victorian fire has been missed here - South Gippsland (Mount Best) Six children died all from the one family, the Lonsdale family. The most ever from the one immediate family in the history of Australian bushfires. Four other people also died. Ten in total to the small community — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:43, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Is there a good source that we could reference to justify adding this material? HiLo48 (talk) 11:43, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

By LesM Sources as follows: Memorial located at Mt Best South Gippsland

Reference newspaper - The Advertiser, SA - Tuesday 30 January 1906 (lonsdale gippsland) date:[1900 TO 1925]&searchLimits=l-australian=y — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:58, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

New section: climate change[edit]

I've gone ahead and created a new section with some basic background info. I thought it was relevant, esp considering the recent media coverage of Greg Hunt citing Wikipedia.[1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Charbono (talkcontribs) 11:23, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

The citation for AR5 leads to n opinion piece, the AR5 itself is not able to be cited yet (Big bold letters at the bottom of every page). SWOldfield (talk) 08:58, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Removed uncited assertion from introduction.

Edited false reference to CRC report to reflect actual content (and spirit) of report. Distinguished the statements made by CRC and CSIRO. SWOldfield (talk) 09:45, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Moved superseding citation from introduction (2007 report) to section on climate change (outdated 2005 report) SWOldfield (talk) 10:05, 25 October 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ Esther Han, Judith Ireland, "Greg Hunt uses Wikipedia research to dismiss links between climate change and bushfires", Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October 2013

from Planet Oz[edit]

....A study last year in the International Journal of Climatology looked at the FFDI data from 38 sites around Australia from 1973 to 2010. None of the sites showed a reduction in fire danger and 16 of them showed that fire weather had increased significantly. While the study was not set up to find a link between human-emissions and bushfires, the study said the trends were "consistent with projected impacts of climate change on FFDI".

The study, carried out by scientists from the NSW government, the CSIRO and the Bureau of meteorology, also found that the most distinct increases in fire risk were in spring and autumn, meaning the fire season was getting longer.

In 2007, a study by scientists at the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology and a government-backed bushfire research centre also found that Australia was experiencing more dangerous fire-prone days. The study found:

Increases of 10-40% between 1980-2000 and 2001-2007 are evident at most sites. The strongest rises are seen in the interior portions of NSW, and they are associated with a jump in the number of very high and extreme fire danger days.

The study also pointed out there was a strong correlation between increased risk of fire and periods of drought. Times of higher bushfire risk also tended to happen during periods of El Nino, which in Australia is associated with hotter temperatures and less rain.

Professor Roger Jones, a co-ordinating lead author for a chapter in the next major IPCC report looking at climate impacts, has written about his own study into fire danger trends in the state of Victoria, which has already had a flush of damaging bushfires. He found that " fire danger in Victoria increased by over a third after 1996, compared to 1972-1996."

Professor Jones, of Victoria University, also points out that recently observed changes in fire risk are already at the "worst case" level predicted for the year 2050 by a previous study. He writes:

We can't consider severe fires as one-offs that happen every few decades. If they're becoming a systemic part of our environment we have to consider this really seriously. There will be a financial cost and a human cost, and we will see it repeated, if we don't plan ahead.

BoogaLouie (talk) 14:44, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

BoogaLouie (talk · contribs) your comment lacks article-improvement ideas and appears to be WP:SOAP and WP:FORUM contrary to WP:TALK. It's also a long quote from a blog, which are not RS. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:03, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Climate Change in the Introduction article[edit]

Everything removed about climate change from the introduction is captured in the new section on climate change. SWOldfield (talk) 15:57, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

First read WP:LEAD then please explain why. Also, note that everything broadly related to climate change is subject to WP:AC/DS per WP:ARBCC, so let's be sure to use the "discuss" part of WP:BRD. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:06, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Everything in the climate change section is as fair as this author can be with the sources given. The introduction had a source which said the same thing as the climate change section with a more recent citation. This makes the entire page concise and to the point, without repeating itself. This is an article about bushfires, not about climate change.
SWOldfield (talk) 16:18, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
I think you are saying that if the article's body says "X" then it is redundant to mention "X" in the WP:LEAD. By that reasoning, we would have no leads whatsoever. However, WP:LEAD says the lead is supposed to "define the topic and summarize the body of the article with appropriate weight." I'm open to changing the way we mention climate change in the lead, but I am committed to following RSs and not editor POV. A great meany RSs are talking about climate change in relation to the bushfires. Therefore, our task is to report on that coverage in the body of the article, and to say something brief about that aspect of the issue in the lead. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:29, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
The lead says precisely what the body says. That's not a weighted summary, that's an introduction to a page about the effects of CC on bushfires. The lead did have a (brief) statement indicating that climate change was an issue which is now gone. The summary is as long as the section. Removed redundant section from lead, included brief summary at end of lead.
SWOldfield (talk) 16:46, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Works for me, mostly.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:09, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

The section stating that bushfires are increasing due to climate change have no place in an encyclopaedia. There is no evidence that this is happening. Even the IPCC cannot find a direct link between climate change and bushfires. There is not even ANY evidence that bushfires are increasing at all. The article supplied is not evidence, a Tim Flannery report cannot be used as evidence in an encyclopaedia as it is CLEARY biased. The work that paper references does not show any evidence that this is happening, only models that show it could happen and may be happening.

Seriously, someone needs to get a grip with this because it goes against everything that Wikipedia stands for. An article must not be used to make political and religious statements by bending the truth. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:14, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

To get rid of the entire passage seems to me you need to shoot down the existing citations with some logically cohesive and wikipedia policy-based argument policy argument (such as a claim that they are not what Wikipedia defines as a reliable source). How is The Guardian not a reliable source? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:55, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
The suggested link to climate change has been widely reported and verified, but then so have numerous other explanations - sometimes claiming CC is not a significant factor, sometimes claiming it is one amongst many. I don't think anyone has claimed that CC is the only factor of human influence. The problem is that presenting the CC argument on its own gives it undue weight. May I suggest the issue be rephrased as "Human influences" or similar, which can include everything from climate change to vegetation changes to burnoff practices to power lines to housing density (all of which have received substantial press in the past few weeks regarding their influence on bushfire severity).--Yeti Hunter (talk) 04:33, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
If you have the RSs by all means add discussion of these other factors to supplement discussion of the climate change factor. If that happens, I agree we may wish to fiddle with section headings. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 08:30, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Here are a few to get the ball rolling:
  • [3] - Retired Monash professor David Packham arguing that fuel load management is the dominant influence, with climate change a negligible or at most very gradual influence.
  • [4] Another ref for Packham, but explains his bushfire-specific research interests as well.
  • [5] - About the recent controversy. Includes arguments about CC, but also about fuel load, the changing importance of weather conditions as they become more severe (particularly wind), and a discussion of how fires may be becoming more damaging due to denser development, despite not being any more severe per se.
  • [6] Bjorn Lomborg argues that climate change is one factor among many, and that for Australia's climate, it may actually result in less fire due to drought reducing fuel loads.
  • [7] Geoscience Australia ref for main causes of fire (not about changes over time, but an excellent ref for the article anyway, and human influence on fire)
The list is a little NewsLimited-heavy, but it's a start.--Yeti Hunter (talk) 00:09, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Sane observers among even the most rabid anti-anthropomorphic global warming proponents now acknoweldge that global warming is happening. It's the cause they argue about, and this isn't about the cause. HiLo48 (talk) 07:35, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
It is about the cause of bushfires though, and mentioning global warming as the supposedly only human influence on the frequency and severity of fire is indeed an incomplete or even misleading proposition. The edit warriors are probably just upset at the one-sided presentation of the issue. Sorry I haven't had a go at incorporating the above refs into the article yet, I might do so in the next few days.--Yeti Hunter (talk) 08:00, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
The argued about text does not say that global warming is caused by humans. (Didn't I just say that?) HiLo48 (talk) 08:48, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
True, but neither does that negate the points above. The fact is that there are human, and natural, influences on fire. Climate change probably fits into both categories. --Yeti Hunter (talk) 10:11, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it does negate what you said. YOU mentioned human influence, and the words under discussion don't. It's possible to mention climate change or global warming without mentioning humans. Climate change is virtually unarguable. Don't read more into the words than they say. HiLo48 (talk) 10:38, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
My point is that the article is lacking a discussion of both human and natural influences. The fact that the article presently does not explicitly mention human influences supports, not negates, that point. --Yeti Hunter (talk) 11:08, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
By the way, I like the mental image of anthropomorphic global warming... something like this? :) --Yeti Hunter (talk) 11:10, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This section, which started by dwelling on mentioning climate change in the lead, shows a misunderstanding of what is supposed to be in the WP:LEAD. The better target for complaint is the section in the main body of the text that talks about global warming and bushfires. I would be happy to see a section heading for "trends" added, and beneath the "trends" heading, some additional subsections, for example "Land Use", "Population", etc. The solution to an article being incomplete is not to delete well-cited text but instead, add what is missing NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:56, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

We seem to be in furious agreement!--Yeti Hunter (talk) 12:05, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
It's easy to agree on big abstractions. Anything that is added needs to pass muster with weight and be a reliable source. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:18, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't intend to start referencing Andrew Bolt if that's what you mean! Any comment on the five I linked above? --Yeti Hunter (talk) 12:20, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't know AU's Telegraph but Britain's is frequently challenged for reliability. I think you need a scientific reference that quantifies how fuel load has changed. Fact that Pechkam is going around saying "fuel load" is in the news, but to be compelling his opinion needs to be based on something. How has the fuel load changed? Why did it change? Do other scientists say those chagnes are due to global warming? Moreoever, mere fact of fuel load is just one thing. Add even hotter/even drier weather - like global warming is making worse - and its a big problem. So why is Pekham running about saying its all just the left foot and none of the right foot, when the creature is walking on at least two feet? A possible third foot is population and development increase. It's just what happens in the Ponderosa Pine hills of the western US. None of the contemporary mountain-dwellers want fires because the views of meadows and pines are so nice. Except the meadows exist because there used to be creeping ground fires every few years before Smokey Bear started putting them all. That made an artificial fuel load, now being exacerbated by the mountain pine beetle killing standing timber (which has become an epidemic because global warming keeps the winters warmer than usual and that means winter doesn't kill off the beetles like it used to). So the fires are no longer creeping ground fires due to fuel load, and we are especially likely to see these inflated fires as horrible tragedies because they are likely to burn down the McMansions. I don't know Aussieland, but I assume the full story is a similar mixture of things. The trick is finding the neutral and reliable material to tell the real interwoven story. For credibility, citing Lomborg is laughable. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:12, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
(more) For background at least until the final report is released, see also Australia vulnerable in a warming planet, leaked IPCC report finds which says in part
"Climate change will increase the likelihood of deaths from heat stress and bushfires, and potentially place more than a quarter of a million Australian homes at risk from rising sea levels, according to a United Nations-backed draft document"
NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:16, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
Resurrecting this thread. Currently reading Bill Gammage on this topic (The Biggest Estate on Earth - How the Aborigines Made Australia). Very interesting and relevant; if you don't have a copy you should find one! Watch this space.--Yeti Hunter (talk) 08:43, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Threshold for "major bushfires"[edit]

The list of "major bushfires in Australia" is getting out of hand - 57 incidents are listed as of today. Most are mere WP:NEWS and there seems to be no rhyme nor reason for inclusion. Some are completely unreferenced, some are flat-out wrong (eg 2014 South Australian bushfires ref does not indicate any deaths occurred, but the list claims 10) others are fairly questionable as far as "major" goes, some of the statements in the section lead are editorialising, and the whole thing has a strong whiff of WP:RECENTISM. Yet it's difficult to think of a blanket criterion for inclusion in such a list. A certain number of deaths/injuries? Minimum area burnt? Structures burnt? Notability in its own right (ie, has own article)? None of these are ideal, but the current situation is pretty sub-optimal. All in all the list clearly needs an audit, and some kind of discrimination. I would welcome any discussion of this. --Yeti Hunter (talk) 04:54, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Edits to Categories Section[edit]

So the entire categories section was plagiarized from Marion Henkel's book. I have edited the section and rephrased the information and cited Henkel's article as a source using footnotes. I have also linked bushfires to an external site about bushfire preparedness so individuals reading the article have a better understanding of the nature of bushfires and how they themselves can act in order to prevent causal harm. Yetinubu (talk) 18:39, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

New Section Impact[edit]

I have added a section on the economic impact because of its relevancy to understanding the nature of bushfires and their social and regional impact in Australia. Link from methodological to empiricism to provide individuals with a way to delve deeper into the thought process that garners the the list of items that are expected to be impacted. Yetinubu (talk) 18:44, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

I think this is a topic that needs further exploration on this page as it provides another level of information to the reader that can be be vital to their research on this topic (Bushfires in Australia). Yetinubu (talk) 18:48, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Bushfires in Australia. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 09:36, 26 January 2016 (UTC)