For the first time, 23 former Australian Fire and Emergency Leaders with more than 600 years of combined experience have banded together to call for stronger action on climate change, warning that worsening extreme weather is threatening Australian lives.
Their concern comes from experience of increasing fire and flood events and the following facts
· Bushfire seasons are lasting longer and longer. ›
· The number of days of Very High to Catastrophic bushfire danger each year are increasing across much of Australia, and are projected to get even worse. ›
· Opportunities to carry out hazard reduction burns are decreasing because warmer, drier winters mean prescribed fires can often be too hard to control – so fuel loads will increase. ›
· Higher temperatures mean that forests and grasslands are drier, ignite more easily and burn more readily, meaning fires are harder to control. › ‘
· Dry’ lightning storms are increasing in frequency, sparking many remote bushfires that are difficult to reach and control. ›
· Fire seasons across Australia and in the northern hemisphere used to be staggered – allowing exchange of vital equipment such as aerial water bombers, trucks and firefighters. The increasing overlap of fire seasons between states and territories and with the USA and Canada will limit our ability to help each other during major emergencies. ›
· A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, increasing the risk of heavier downpours and flooding events – like that which recently affected Townsville. ›
· Current Federal Government climate policy has resulted in greenhouse gas pollution increasing over the last four years, putting Australian lives at risk. Communities, emergency services and health services across Australia need to be adequately resourced to cope with increasing natural disaster risk.
To find out more about the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, visit the website