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Flashback 1939: Aussie government report on fires finds man-made fires, drought & heat & lack of controlled burning

After the 1939 fires in Australia, there was a commission set up to study what happened and what could have been done differently.

  1. The fires were man-made
  2. There was a long drought followed by extreme heat
  3. Almost the entire state of Victoria appeared to be on fire on January 13
  4. It was dark as night at midday
  5. The amount of controlled burning was “ridiculously inadequate” 


Report of the Royal Commission to inquire into the causes of and measures taken to prevent the bush fires of January, 1939 and to protect life and property and the measures to be taken to prevent bush fires in Victoria and to protect life and property in the event of future bush fires.

Two days earlier was the hottest day on record in Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide.

11 Jan 1939 – HOTTEST DAY ON RECORD IN THREE CAPITALS Seven Deaths: Many People Collapse – Trove

All the same mistakes were made again, with the same results.


As reported by Anthony Watts, Financial Times prefers dictatorship to controlled burns.

FT: “Democracies are ill-suited to deal with climate change” | Watts Up With That?

If we did that, we could have a safe climate like China, the world’s #1 producer of CO2 emissions.

25 May 1987 – CHINA Massive flooding as forest fire rages – Trove

Climate Goals Pledged by China and the U.S. – The New York Times