Be Prepared: Climate Change and the SA Bushfire Threat

03.11.14 By

Residents of South Australia have experienced the serious consequences of bushfires. In 2005 the Black Tuesday bushfires on the Eyre Peninsula resulted in the tragic loss of nine lives and estimated damages of $41 million (2011$). At the beginning of 2014 several bushfires raged across the state, burning tens of thousands of hectares of land, destroying properties and injuring firefighters and residents.

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 SA.

 

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

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

4. The total economic costs of South Australian 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, South Australia is very likely to experience an increased number of days with extreme fire danger. Communities, emergency services and health services across South Australia must prepare.

 

6. This is the critical decade.

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