The news made it’s way around the world but there is a different side to the Australian bush fires. Believe it or not bush fires are quite common in Australia pretty much every year and it’s part of nature. Bush fires have been around in Australia since before humans were present and it will go on long after.
So why do fires burn in Australia far more than any other place? Most of the trees in fire prone areas actually need fires to spread their seeds. Like the Eucalyptus tree that Koalas (not a bear) live in, also called gum trees, has various flammable components. The Bark peals off, the dried leaves burn very well, and the oil produced by the tree is very flammable. The Gum tree seeds also open up and thrive in ash and burned areas of the forest floor to reproduce.
There is of course a sad side to the story, not all animals make it out. But believe it or not, we humans are the most affected. Nature grows back and regenerates but houses, cars and property does not. How did people decide to build their homes in fire prone areas in the first place? That’s why real estate is cheap in “Tornado Valley”! There a reason for it.
So did the Australian flora evolve this way or did it adapt to Bush fires. Well after doing some research and asking people who know more about it than I do, as well as my knowledge of evolution. It seems that the the trees and plants actually want the fire and they start it believe it or not. It’s also a cleansing process. Australia as a landmass has a mind of it’s own just like how the Australian government is run like a business all on it’s own. The fires clean away non native intruders like hares, fire ants, foxes and other not native plants and animals that have not evolved with fires.
One way we do it is partial deforestation because that’s what humans do, the other way is controlled fires. The fire rangers and departments in their area know exactly when a fire risk is at hand and section off areas for a controlled burning. This does not harm nature as it is part of it. As Barnaby Joyce from the National Party of Australia once said: “It’s not burning because they burnt off – it’s burning because they didn’t burn off.”. Pretty much every year I’m driving down the highway with my windows down and I can see clouds of smoke and can smell burnt wood. I know it’s just a controlled fire as they don’t even bother to put it on the news. It’s just part of life.
So it’s how we as people it handle it that’s more important that the fires themselves. There’s obvious signs from evolution (if you believe in that kind of thing 🙂 ) that these trees and plants have been evolving with fires for millions of years and are still here. But how Australian politicians handle all this is a different story. Publicity, media, marketing stunts. See more here from out good friend Gerald at “The Point TV”:
Back in Eastern Europe, after a fire I would see the scorched trees lie there for years until they rot away. It’s different in Australia, after a couple of years they come back to life in dramatic and beautiful fashion. Green grass grows from the ash, a new layer of dead leaves is produced, the burnt tree bark falls away revealing a healthy tree and the cycle starts all over again.