Sometimes it truly is an ass:
(Seven) years after the Sheahans bulldozed trees to make a fire break — an act that got them dragged before a magistrate and penalised — they feel vindicated. Their house is one of the few in Reedy Creek, Victoria, still standing.
Although Liam Sheahan’s 2002 decision to disregard planning laws and bulldoze 250 trees on his hilltop property hurt his family financially and emotionally, he believes it helped save them and their home on the weekend…
“The house is safe because we did all that,” he said as he pointed out his kitchen window to the clear ground where tall gum trees once cast a shadow on his house.
“We have got proof right here. We are the only house standing in a two-kilometre area.”
At least seven houses and several sheds on neighbouring properties along Thompson-Spur road in Reedy Creek were destroyed by Saturday night’s blaze.
I was surprised to learn that Victoria’s “green laws” prevented farmers from building firebreaks around their residence. California is about as green as US states get, politically – and the state actively encourages clearing during fire season.