The Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in the media suggesting hazard reduction is as important as emissions reduction.

Hotter temperatures and drier conditions … are the root cause of these fires. It is a dangerous distraction to suggest otherwise,” said former Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins. 

Image credit CSIRO

A new Climate Council publication explains how the window of opportunity for conducting safe burns has become much shorter.

We need to be clear. Hazard reduction is an important tool but it’s not enough to protect us from catastrophic bushfires driven by extreme weather. We need to take action on the root cause, worsening climate change,” said Mr. Mullins.

The conditions this year have been so bad that I’ve seen flames a metre high over mown grass. I’ve seen fires go through areas of leaf litter that had already been burnt just weeks before, and fires burning intensely in areas that had been burnt just a year ago,” he said.

This year’s bushfire season, is by far the worst on record for NSW and Queensland. To argue that these unprecedented fires have been caused by a lack of hazard reduction is simplistic and just wrong,” he said.

The fire season in NSW now starts in winter and runs until autumn. We no longer have the same window to safely carry out hazard reduction burns,” said Mr. Mullins.

Even though prescribed burning is becoming more difficult to do safely, the rate of burning in NSW has increased.

Despite this we have still seen catastrophic fires, and this is because these fires were a weather-driven event, not fuel-driven,” he said.

Background

The Climate Council has a new publication on hazard reduction to combat misinformation about what is driving Australia’s catastrophic bushfires.

The Council has previously published 12 peer-reviewed reports on bushfires and climate change written by world leading authorities.