TapeCutter writes "After the devastating firestorm in Australia, there has been a lot of speculation in the press about the role of climate change. For the 'pro' argument the BBC article points to research by the CSIRO. For the 'con' argument they quote David Packham of Monash university, who is not alone in thinking '...excluding prescribed burning and fuel management has led to the highest fuel concentrations we have ever had...' However, the DSE's 2008 annual report states; '[The DSE] achieved a planned burning program of more than 156,000 hectares, the best result for more than a decade. The planned burning of forest undergrowth is by far the most powerful management tool available...' I drove through Kilmore on the evening of the firestorm, and in my 50 years of living with fire I have never seen a smoke plume anything like it. It was reported to be 15 km high and creating its own lightning. There were also reports of car windscreens and engine blocks melting. So what was it that made such an unusual firestorm possible, and will it happen again?"