Our correspondent down-under brings us up-to-date on the recent catastrophic fires in the state of Victoria. Pat Naughtin wrote on 5 March:
“The fires in my home state of Victoria are now (after almost a month) just about under control. There are only three fires still burning out of the 300 that were burning on February 7, and the remaining three are not threatening any towns andÂ are surrounded by fire breaks.
210 lives were lost,
2029 properties were destroyed,
78 townships were affected, and
400 000 + hectares were burned.
All reporting of all fires was done using metric units. If you were given any other figures (say by news media in the USA) then these were dumbed down by the news media reporters. In a sense, you are being treated like children who need to be protected from the big bad metric world! Hhhrrrmmmph! In all Australian fire services, metric units are mandatory. It is far too dangerous to try to use multiple measuring methods when your life is immediately threatened by fire. Multiple measures can mean death! In the Fire Service of the state of New South Wales (NSW),Â the use an old pre-metric measure in training or at a fire has been regarded as a ‘reportable offence’ since the early 1970s.
Here is a report from ‘The Age’ newspaper (http://www.theage.com.au/national/heavens-open-and-a-hellish-season-ends-20090304-8oif.html ) that shows some of the NSW fire fighters on their way home last night giving the ‘thumbs-up’ sign of success. These are a small part of the 1000 fire fighters who came from other states to help us here in Victoria. There are also many fire fighters from New Zealand, Canada, and the USA (usually from the states of California and Washington) who will also begin to go home soon.
The management of the remaining fires will be done by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) of Victoria. The CFA is one of the world’s largest volunteer fire fighting organisations. It services more than 150 000 square kilometres and about 3 million people. The CFA has approximately 58 000 active volunteers with almost 1200 career fire fighters and support staff.
Note that we use hectares to measure the size of fires here. This means that a small fire 100 metres by 100 metres is a one hectare fire and all other fires are given in simple whole numbers of hectares. There are no fractions (no vulgar or common fractions and no decimal fractions) when you are measuring bush fires in Australia.”
Note about the author.
Pat Naughtin, metric system consultant, writer, and speaker, has helped thousands of people and hundreds of companies upgrade to the modern metric system smoothly, quickly, and economically, so that they now save thousands each year when buying, processing, or selling for their businesses. Pat provides services and resources for many different trades, crafts, and professions for commercial, industrial and government metrication leaders in Asia, Europe, and in the USA. Pat’s clients include the Australian Government, Google, NASA, NIST, and the metric associations of Canada, the UK, and the USA. See http://www.metricationmatters.com for more metrication information, contact Pat at email@example.com or to get the free ‘Metrication matters’ newsletter go to: http://www.metricationmatters.com/newsletter to subscribe.