‘This is Ridiculous – We can and Must do Better’

It’s 2021, and with the current situation the way it is, it’s damned ridiculous for it to continue. Out of Control Bushfires that is. In 1953 Watson and Crick discovered the double helix of DNA and massive improvements in science. In 1961 JFK said let’s put a man on the moon before the end of the decade and in 1969 they did. In 2012 the sensationally named ‘God particle’ was confirmed in a Large Hadron Collider on the French/Swiss border and quantum physics leapt forward.

As great as all those discoveries were and are, where are we with fire? I’m not talking about preparing for fire, no the consequences of fire, or the content and direction of smoke, or the impact on communities. These are all important but are contingent on the physics, chemistry and quantum mechanics of fire. So, let start with fire itself, let’s admit how little we know and show some leadership, politically, scientifically, economically, for the communities we all serve. As Einstein said, let’s ‘change our way of thinking’. This paper will present a radical way in how we deal with fire, worldwide and in Australia. It will propose a big, audacious goal to solve the problem, radical new ways of thinking about our response to fire, new and innovative tools, tactics and strategies. It is ridiculous, dangerous and unnecessary that with the science and technology available we do not solve this issue. We can and we must do better.


Mr Graeme Thom AFSM Director, GT & Associates, Australia

Graeme Douglas Thom AFSM is a retired fire commander having served in the Queensland Fire & Emergency Service department for over 40 years. During his time in the service, he had acted in various positions and been appointed to many others, these include Assistant Commissioner – Northern Region, Assistant Commissioner – Community Safety & Risk Management, Director of Operational Performance Improvement, Area Director – Qld Fire & Rescue Public Safety, Executive Manager – State Community Safety and Brisbane City Fire (Zone) Commander. He has chaired National Fire Safety Committees for over 10 years, represented fire services both nationally and internationally and received various awards and citations including in the Australian honours with the awarding of the AFSM (Australian Fire Service Medal) for Leadership, and the Australian Centenary Medal for services to the Australian community. Graeme has fought or commanded forces to fight many types of fires and other emergency incidents including significant bushfires both in Queensland and interstate. His qualifications cover many in-house and external qualifications including the Bachelor of Government and International Relations (Griffith University).