Be Prepared: Climate Change and the Queensland Bushfire Threat

Climate change is increasing the risk of bushfires in Queensland, our new report has found.

While damaging bushfires are less common in Queensland than other states in Australia, climate change is driving an increase in extreme heat in Queensland, leading to higher bushfire risk.

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KEY FINDINGS

1) Climate change is increasing the risk of bushfires in Queensland.

  • Australia is a fire prone country. While damaging bushfires are less common in Queensland than other states in Australia, climate change is now increasing the incidence of extreme heat and making heatwaves longer and more frequent, leading to a higher risk.
  • Record breaking heat and hotter weather over the long term in Queensland will worsen fire weather and the impacts of bushfires.

2) Queensland is experiencing an increase in hot days and therefore an increasing number of days with high fire danger. Communities, emergency services and health services across Queensland need to keep preparing for this risk.

  • Conditions conducive to bushfires are expected to increase in coming decades in Queensland.
  • Increasing severity, intensity and frequency of fires throughout Australia will strain Queensland’s existing resources and capacity for fighting and managing fires.

3) Stronger climate change action is needed to reduce bushfire risk.

  • Australia’s emissions reduction target of 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030 is not sufficient to protect Australians from worsening bushfires and extreme weather events.
  • Australia must reduce its emissions rapidly and deeply to join global efforts to stabilise the world’s climate and to reduce the risk of exposure to extreme events, including bushfires.

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