The Australian fires bring back sad reminders of the California experience. As with American wildfires, an ounce of prevention could have gone a long way to decrease the destruction.
As explained by Kat Dwyer of PERC, in a recent article in The Hill, an Australian law is making matters worse.
Controlled burns, once routinely used by farmers to reduce fuel around their properties, can now result in fines exceeding $500 per tree removed. Indeed, Liam Sheahan, a resident of Strath Creek in central Victoria, was fined $50,000 for clearing trees and shrubs around the perimeter of his home. He spent an additional $50,000 on legal fees defending his decision. After the Black Saturday bushfires devastated his community, Sheahan’s decision was vindicated as his home was the only one to remain standing.