A firefighter in Australia blasted the falsehoods he sees being prompted in the media about the bushfires ravaging his country.
In a viral Facebook post Tuesday, Drew Strnk admitted that just because he fights the fires, doesn’t mean he’s an all-knowing expert on the issue. But he said he couldn’t keep quiet any longer about the “lies” he saw being passed off as science and news.
“I’ve felt a strong need to say something here because I just can’t stomach some of the false science and outright lies being peddled on social media as news or facts,” he said.
Since September, the bushfires in Australia have killed at least 25 people. Almost 2,000 homes have been destroyed, and millions of animals have died. The fires have so far scorched some 16 million acres of land and are expected to keep burning for months.
Strnk, a veteran firefighter in Western Australia, went on to fact-check some of the hysterical claims being made by activists and politicians.
He rejected simplistic demands for more hazard-reduction burning, which involves setting fire to vegetation during cool months to reduce fuel for bushfires during the summer. While he agreed “we should do more of them,” he pointed out that the process is difficult and expensive.
“Indiscriminate burning of national parks will literally wipe species off the face of the earth as they often have nowhere else to go,” he said.
On the other hand, Strnk dismissed claims that an environmental lobby is preventing governments and landholders from undertaking protective measures.
Drew Strnk explains Australia bushfires and climate change
Addressing those nostalgic for a time when “indigenous people used the manage the land through burning,” Strnk granted that natives “have an important contribution here.”
“However,” he added, “Australia is a different landscape now, home to 24 million people and so [hazard reduction burns] need to be managed differently.”
Strnk also agreed that “climate change is contributing to a longer fire season” and to the ongoing bushfire crisis. But he differed with critics like Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who have effectively accused Australia of setting itself ablaze with bad environmental policies.
“Yes, we should have acted on climate change long ago,” he said, but he noted the problem is bigger than any one country. “All of us. The whole world. Everyone.”
And Strnk shot down the kind of climate hysteria being pushed by some environmentalists and liberal celebrities.
“No climate change is not starting fires,” he said. “[Lightning] strikes, people, negligence etc.. is starting fires.”
“‘No, no one knows exactly how much climate change has contributed to exacerbating the conditions for this year’s catastrophic fire season,” he added.
Australians must combat bushfires every year. But this season is said to be one of the worst in the country’s history as a natural weather phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipole has contributed to record temperatures, drought and strong winds. Some experts have also pointed to a record of poor forest management by the state.
Meanwhile, climate scientists had predicted global warming could hit Australia as hard as any developed country, with bushfires becoming more frequent and intense as temperatures rise.
Facts don’t care about your feelings
Strnk went on to remind his followers that their biases were being reinforced by “politicized” newspapers and social media.
“No, a video on FB of a guy in the bush screaming at the [Australia’s liberal] greens is not facts about what caused these fires,” he said. “No, a video of someone shouting at [Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison] for not funding the [New South Wales] Rural Fire Service (state gov funded) is not facts about what caused these fires.”
Strnk said he was “left leaning,” and had his own biases. But he proposed a “royal commission” of experts to analyze the situation and recommend fixes.
In the meantime, Strnk advised, people should do less talking, and, “F—ing donate!!”
He also recommended capitalism.
“On top of this, once the smoke clears, grab your mates or family, jump in the car and visit these towns, spend money in their shops, stay the night, help get their local economy’s back on track,” he said. “They will need our support.”
Strnk ended his rant — which has been shared thousands of times and gotten local media coverage — with a helmet-tip to the thousands of firefighters battling the blazes across Australia.
“Finally, to all of my firefighting brethren back home in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the whole east coast, both career and volunteer, I know you’ve worked harder in the last 6 weeks than you’ve ever worked in your entire life and I’m so immensely proud of you all,” he said. “Stay safe.”