Fire future

Bushfires like those which raged across the East Coast, the Hills and KI over summer serve as a stark reminder of the perils of a changing climate.
The impact of global warming on sea levels is a danger long forecast by climate scientists, while its solution has been long debated by politicians.
But while the almost unnoticeable annual sea level rises won’t effect the majority of Australians – at least in the near future – it is becoming clearer that climate change will inevitably leave it’s distinguishable mark on many other parts of the continent.
In Australia it is regions like the Hills – with high populations dispersed among large swathes of natural Australian bush – that are most likely to be affected.
Leading fire fighters across the nation are already warning of evolving fire behavior which is only expected to worsen as Australian summers become longer, drier and hotter.
December’s Cudlee Creek fire and KI’s devastating Ravine fire were the worst SA had seen in more than 30 years, resulting in a devastating loss of property, bushland and life.
With insurance companies warning that increasing fire danger will threaten the viability of the industry, it is a grim reality that some insurers will simply walk away from high risk areas, leaving once protected homeowners exposed.
The natural Australian environment offers some of the nation’s most beautiful living areas and not surprisingly home buyers flock to these locations.
But for too long we have been on the back foot when it comes to fire safety.
Summer’s fires drove home the escalating risk through the devastation felt by thousands of home owners who, in a matter of hours and sometimes minutes, found themselves without a roof over their heads.
In some cases they were also without means of rebuilding because they had no insurance or were under-insured.
The writing is on the wall and Australia must take a proactive position if we are to adapt to this new reality.
All levels of government must put plans in place to reduce the impact of this growing risk before it’s too late.
Here is yet another example of how Australia and the world needs to treat the issue of climate change seriously.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.