Bushfires Royal Commission takes up CDU academic’s ideas 

Dan Baschiera's recommendations to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission have made it into the interim report.

The Victoria Bushfires Royal Commission interim report includes two recommendations made by a Charles Darwin University academic.

In March 2009, CDU Lecturer in Social Work and Humanitarian Studies, Dan Baschiera contributed to the national discussion after the bushfires. In his submission to the Royal Commission, Mr Baschiera called for Australia to continually research known fire detection and water bombing capacity to improve the country’s ability to prevent and mitigate future super firestorms that would be generated by global warming.

Mr Baschiera said it appeared his submission to the Royal Commission had carried some weight given the executive summary of the Commonwealth role and recommendations 11.1 and 11.2.

“This is a significant demonstration of a CDU initiative in humanitarianism – alerting and enabling the positioning of a Federal governance focus to proactively use its defence resources and technologies to save Australian lives,” he said.

Mr Baschiera’s submission said that firestorms of the magnitude of the Black Saturday fires were well beyond the capacity of any normal fire management regime currently in place. The interim report reflected this concern.

“What the super firestorm represents is a totally abnormal event in known Australian history. While we had a first glimpse of this terrible potential with the Canberra fires, little was done about it,” he said.

“It (the firestorm) is nature’s reaction to the higher temperatures and its striking consequences are unprecedented.

“Its impact in Victoria demonstrated that within the Australian legislature we have no real response for some of the unprecedented challenges that will occur with global warming. The interim report is calling for discussion and exploration toward a proactive use of Commonwealth resources including Defence and Defence remote imagery. It is a move that is forward-thinking and will save lives.”

Mr Baschiera said there was only one tactical control to the super firestorm which was it being extinguished before it became one.