Last week was so hot....most people would've heard about the dreadful bush fires in Queensland. Queensland doesn't have wild fires like that normally - totally unprecedented! We have wet summers so don't tend to get the wild fires like the South does. They have wet winters, so when summer comes everything is very dry, and then fires start. This recent episodes were sparked (pardon the pun) by the drought and the incredible heat. Fires in those conditions are so dangerous - you just hop out of the road!
Don't get me wrong, we do have fires, but they are usually manageable. I used to be totally against any sort of burning but recently Kim read "The Greatest Estate" by Bill Gamage (I think that's the name of the book). I knew that the Aborigines did burn, but I wasn't aware to the actual extent that they managed the landscape with fire. We need to start doing that again and that will go a long way to prevent future bush fires. The burning regime undertaken by the Aborigines was to prevent these crazy wildfires and to protect the land - it was part of their farming style, and there lives depended on it.
The reason I decided to write this blog was because in this awful heat, I realised how important trees are - well they are very important for many reasons, but this is just one that I was reminded of. They keep everything cool - the land, the grass and the animals. I had to go to another paddock to get my milkers in, as I'd "bushed" them last weekend so they don't overgraze their house paddock. It was hot and then I drove into the anabranch paddock and it was cool - I thought it was just because I was driving along the actual annabranch with running water, but then I rode up on to the flat above and it was still cool. This area has trees, not a lot, but enough to keep the temperature down. The grass was green still too, especially right under the trees.
Where as, one of the paddocks near the house that has very few trees has really browned off. Our grass in the paddocks close to the house is quite short and because we've had good rain recently has been starting to grow and was quite green until a week of 40+ degrees heat.
So the moral in this story is, we need more trees! Trees have so many functions in our environment and this is only one. In saying that, too many trees can be a problem and that's another thing the Aboriginal burning did, it kept the tree thickening down, but that's probably another story for another time.