Be Prepared: Climate Change and the NSW Bushfire Threat

10.11.14 By

Residents of NSW have experienced the serious consequences of bushfires. In 2013, bushfires in January and October burnt 768,000 hectares of land and destroyed 279 homes. Tragically, 2 people lost their lives and damages were in excess of an estimated $180 million.

Australians have always lived with fire and its consequences, but climate change is increasing fire danger weather and thus the risk of fires. It is time to think very seriously about the risks that future fires will pose.

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SIX KEY FINDINGS

1. Climate change is already increasing the risk of bushfires in NSW

2. In NSW the fire season is starting earlier and lasting longer. Fire weather has been extending into Spring and Autumn.

3. Recent severe fires in NSW have been influenced by record hot, dry conditions.

4. The total economic costs of NSW bushfires in 2014 are projected to be $43 million. By around the middle of the century these costs will almost triple.

5. In the future, NSW is very likely to experience an increased number of days with extreme fire danger. Communities, emergency services and health services across NSW must prepare.

6. This is the critical decade.