It was annoying to see in a recent letter to the Sentinel [the] spreading [of] the conspiracy theorist claim that “greenies” restricted back burning and are to blame for the devastating fires.
This claim collapses when faced with the facts. No “greenies” are in a position to legislate against back burning, which actually increased in area in NSW this season.
Between January and August 2019, rainfall was the lowest on record in some areas, including the northern tablelands of NSW and Queensland’s southern downs.
Parts of both states experienced record low soil moisture. As temperatures and wind speeds increased, while humidity remained low, conditions were primed for small fires to become major conflagrations.
The director of the fire centre at the University of Tasmania, David Bowman, says the unprecedented nature of the fires this spring can be seen through their intensity and geographical spread across the country. Bowman says the rise in higher temperatures, extreme dryness, worsening fire seasons, extreme bursts of fire weather and behaviour and the spread of fire across the country all align with scenarios painted by climate change projections.
ACT Rural Fire Service chief officer Joe Murphy said there was no doubt climate change was affecting the Australian landscape and making it more susceptible to devastating bushfires.
“What holds us back {from prescribed burns} is the weather,” he said. “The opportunities where conditions were safe to conduct a prescribed burn were becoming fewer as the landscape and climate changes.”
“We are having to adapt and innovate the way we do fuel management to meet a changing climate” he said.
It’s time we all pulled together to make sure the Rural Fire Service and all firefighting crews are fully funded and supported in the scary years to come.
Jessica Harrison, Wonthaggi.