Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fire fails to devastate headland

CTV reported "Fire devastates headland", "a large fire", "an area said to be the same size as 14 football pitches".

I expected devastation all the way from La Pulente to Petit Port down to the bunker on the headland point, by the sound of it. A scorched headland blighting the view from both directions.

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I was puzzled why they only reported with quite tight shots, not really showing the area affected in any clear way. No wide angle shots from a distance to put it into context and really show us the size of the 'devastation'. I assumed it was lazy reporting - hardly the first time. I mean, what - drive around to Corbiere and show us the view from there?!

So I took a look for myself...

Nothing to see from La Pulente, it's all green/brown here. No devastation visible, unless that's a hint of some bare gorse branches on the very ridge - but it seems to be on the wrong side of the tree compared to the shots from the other side...

.. so I took the trouble to head to the other side. Coming around from Corbiere to Petit Port, there's a small blackened patch to the right of the footpath...

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.. I'd bet it was "carelessly discarded smoking materials" from a right-handed idiot walking towards La Pulente.

From by the railway walk up near the old Corbiere station.

While there are flat-ish areas up top, where the path is routed it goes up to a ridge, and then quite soon drops down again to La Pulente. So if little damage is visible from the other direction, this must be about it.

The "14 football pitches" estimate puzzles me. In this picture from Google maps, I've superimposed Springfield pitch at the same scale near the area. The only bits I've seen burnt or untouched would struggle to cover 2 or 3 pitches!

The BBC also reported ( Crew commander Chris Powell saying "about 2296ft by 656ft (700 by 200 metres)".

OK, according to standard football pitches are between 90-120m long, and the widths can double from 45-90m! "105m (115yd) by 68m (74yd), or 7140 m², is the preferred size for many professional teams' stadiums".

So if Mr Powell's "700 by 200 metres" size is correct, then it is indeed in line with 14 pitches. Just doesn't seem like it, somehow, does it? Overall I'm left with an impression of sloppy journalism. What a surprise!


Anonymous said...

Good job keeping them honest. If anyone questions whether bloggers are journalists or members of the press, point then to this post.

This isn't limited to CTV, either. I read a JEP story recently that cited a research study. The story looked wrong, so I read the study online. The JEP's story WAS wrong, the study contradicted it. When I emailed the reporter, they blamed a story from another UK paper that did a similar report. It was very obvious that neither 'reporter' had read the study. Facts that directly contradicted their conclusions were in the summary, and it only took 3-4 minutes for me to look this up. When I emailed back with the facts quoted from the study, I never got a reply. Shame, really.

Anonymous said...

That's why I never buy the JEP or watch Channel news.. I get the news from blogs that I trust.

Nick Palmer said...

I am very familiar with the La Pulente headland having flown over it in my hang glider for several decades.

I was expecting our take off area and everything else to have been wiped out but, on visiting it, I was amazed at how small the damaged area was.

Sheer genius to superimpose Springfield on the pic! The actual burnt area is at most the size of one football pitch (probably a fair bit less). Maybe they meant 1.4? Surprising to see the fire chap exaggerate like that!

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks Nick, yes I visited the area at the weekend, so there will be a follow-up posting later... stay tuned :)