Bushfires and Climate Change

by Roger Underwood AM, Chairman of the Bushfire Front1

In a recent article in The West Australian newspaper, Murdoch University academic Dr Jatin Kala made the unequivocal statement that: “global warming caused by CO2 will cause extreme … bushfires.” A similar assertion was made by Queensland Premier Palaszczhuk in the wake of recent destructive fires in Queensland.

However, temperature is only one of the factors that influences bushfire behaviour, and its influence is negligible compared to that of wind strength and fuel dryness and quantity.

No firefighter fears a bushfire on a hot day. Even on a day of 40 degrees, a bushfire burning under light winds in light fuels (for example, bushland subject to fuel reduction burning less than 2-3 years ago) is relatively easy to control. On the other hand, even on a day of relatively mild temperature, a bushfire burning in heavy fuels under gale-force winds will be almost impossible to control. Continue reading “Bushfires and Climate Change”