Bushfire adaptation measures ‘need local and national focus’

The need for improved local and national adaptation measures to limit the growing fire risk in south-eastern Australia has been reiterated in another scientific study.

Published in Communications Earth and Environment, the study also says adaptation measures need to be accompanied by ambitious global climate change mitigation effects to limit further increases in fire risk.

Lead author and ANU climate scientist Professor Nerilie Abrams said: “There is a range of ways that climate change is acting in south-east Australia to increase fire risk and that is something that will continue in the years ahead”.

Stating that bushfires are something Australians will have to “learn to live with”, Professor Abrams said steps could be taken to improve community resilience, including the adoption of recommendations from the Bushfires Royal Commission, which handed down its final report in October 2020.

“[We should be doing] the type of things that we saw coming out of the royal commission into how we make our communities more resilient in the future,” she said.

Examples of the adaptation strategies that can be, or have been, employed to reduce fire risk include improved community information and fire preparedness (reduced vulnerability), improved development planning, building standards and management of the forest-urban boundary (reduced exposure), and land management that reduces the fire switches required for large fires to develop or firefighting to extinguish fires once they start (reduced-hazard).