When I see, yet again following Four Corners, calls for more and more prescribed burning of forests, I am reminded of the American strategy in Vietnam (and now Iraq) of ‘destroying a village in order to save it’. Burning all the bush deliberately in order to (perhaps) prevent some of it being burnt accidentally, seems an equally bizarre prescription. No matter what the proponents of prescribed burning will tell you, fire damages forests, and frequent fires permanently damage forests. Or, to paraphrase the anti-smoking ads ‘Every fire is doing it harm, every fire’.
14 March 2007