Recent research by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, shows that climate change has driven a ‘significant increase’ in Australia’s forest fire activity over the last three decades.
A lengthening of the fire season towards Autumn and Winter were also identified, along with an increase in fire activity in cooler and warmer regions including alpine forests in Tasmania and tropical rainforests in Queensland.
This is not really ‘new’ news. The impacts of climate change in terms of length of fire season and intensity of fire is well documented (for instance, the head of the firefighting agency for Victoria’s public lands, Chris Hardman, notes that there has been a 170% increase in bushfire ignitions over the last 50 years, a 20% reduction in spring rainfall, and a 40% increase in very high and severe fire risk days.
What is especially interesting is that this research, which was published in Nature Communications is the first of its kind in that it combines analysis of previous forest fire sites with eight ‘drivers’ of fire activity including climate, fuel accumulation, ignition and management (prescribed burning).
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