A firefighter who has received one of the country’s highest honours for bravery has hit out at misinformation circulating on social media surrounding the current bushfires crisis.
By: Shannon Molloy
Andrew Strunk took to his Facebook page yesterday and, in a post that’s since gone viral, busted some widely spread myths about the fires, their causes and apparent barriers to mitigation.
“First of all, does being a firey give me all the insight to this complex issue? Not even close and I need to make that clear,” Mr Strunk began.
“However I’ve felt a strong need to say something here because I just can’t stomach some of the false science and outright lies being peddled on social media as news or facts.
“No, the Greens haven’t been stopping hazard reduction burns from taking place. We still do them and yes we should absolutely do more of them.”
That’s a sentiment echoed this morning by New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who shot down the common misconception that “green tape” is making hazard reduction harder.
“Our biggest challenge with hazard reduction is the weather and the windows available to do it safely and effectively,” Mr Fitzsimmons said in an interview on Sunrise.
“Sure, there’s environmental and other checks to go through but we streamline those. There’s special legislation to give us clearance and to cut through what would otherwise be a very complex environment.”
Mr Fitzsimmons said longer and hotter summers — contributed to by climate change — mean the window for hazard reduction burning is shorter each year.
That’s widely accepted among firefighters, including Mr Strunk, who said weather extremes and drought made the jobs of fireys hard.
The official 2018/19 NSWRFS cause of fire figures are reproduced below.
First published at The New Zealand Herald – Wednesday 8 January. See; https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12298981
Similar stories to this can be found herehttps://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-08/fires-misinformation-being-spread-through-social-media/11846434
And here; https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/08/police-contradict-claims-spread-online-exaggerating-arsons-role-in-australian-bushfires and; https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/08/australia-where-lies-and-conspiracy-theories-spread-like-bushfire
One last late addition with many hyperlinks; https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-truth-behind-miranda-devines-attack-on-the-greens,13470
From Friday 10 January comes this; https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2020/01/10/news-corp-employee-lashes-bushfire-reporting/