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27.1.05

Fire Experience

I don't have time for much of a comment on this, but I thought these remarks by fire ecologist Phil Cheney on the importance of tacit environmental knowledge were worth quoting:

I haven't talked in any detail to the guys that investigated the Eyre Peninsula [site of a recent deadly fire], but what I understand from them is that most of the situations were ones that shouldn't have happened, if people had applied what we already know.

Here we have, you know, continual turnover of people coming increasingly from the cities and going out into the bush, and really not understanding the environment that they're going out into and not preparing themselves adequately for that.

... [Education] would have a terrific impact if they went about it the right way. But one of the problems with teaching people about fire is the practical exposure to demonstrate what you're teaching, and I found this when I was lecturing in fire control at university. People could come up with all the right answers, but they didn't understand the relativities of the problem and what really mattered.

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