Climate change stoking Australian bushfires

Bushfire

Climate change is causing longer, more aggressive bushfire seasons and must be factored into the state’s firefighting plans, Victoria’s Emergency Services Commissioner said yesterday.

“We are seeing unprecedented fire behaviour,” Commissioner Bruce Esplin said.

“Conditions are far worse and we need to be able todeal with a far more aggressive, long-lasting and dangerous fireseason.”

Mr Esplin said drought, below average rainfall and bushfires had become the norm. “If we happen to have a wet year, that’s an exception”.

He called for a new attitude to fire management and said climate change was the “missing link” in criticism and debate.

“Too many people are trying to live out the history of the past,” he told The Age.

Mr Esplin’s comments came as Sydney’s Climate Institute warned that Victoria would experience far more frequent bushfires due to global warming.

An institute report predicted that very high or extreme bushfire danger days in Melbourne, Bendigo and Sale would jump by up to 23per cent by 2020 if temperatures rose by 0.9 degrees.