Jan 20, 2016

Climate change fuels bushfire risk as Australia heats up

South Australia
Western Australia
Glenda Kwek
Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

US government scientists are widely expected to announce Wednesday that 2015 was the planet's hottest year in modern times.

Climate experts warn that with rising temperatures, as well as decreasing rainfall in the south, parts of Australia are so dry the risk of  is rising.

Since November huge swathes of the country have been scorched by ferocious blazes, leaving a total of nine dead and hundreds of homes destroyed. In South Australia, locals told of an "Armageddon-like" inferno sweeping through some areas, while in Western Australia bushfires raged out of control in a situation residents described as "like hell"...

"From my experience, fires appear to be getting more intense, harder to fight, harder to plan for... and this is having an impact on firefighting strategies," Darin Sullivan, a 25-year veteran New South Wales state firefighter, told AFP...

A November report by the independent Climate Council pointed to longer bushfire seasons across the globe.

"What climate change is doing is loading the dice towards having the sort of conditions that are conducive to fires spreading and being very hot and more uncontrollable," said lead author Lesley Hughes, a Macquarie University biologist and ecologist.