An inquiry into the recent massive bushfire disaster in Australia has found the country should expect “worse” in the years to come.
The review – which looked at New South Wales (NSW), the worst-hit state – made sweeping proposals aimed at better preparing for future fire seasons.
The blazes began last August and burned for months, killing 33 people nationally and scorching vast areas.
The NSW state government said it would adopt the inquiry’s 76 recommendations.
the NSW Bushfire Inquiry report.
“It showed us bushfires through forested regions on a scale that we have not seen in Australia in recorded history, and fire behaviour that took even experienced firefighters by surprise.”
The main causes were a drought which had made the land extremely dry and ready to burn, hot and windy weather, and climate change.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday: “The next fire season is already upon us.”
What did the report recommend?
It made far-reaching proposals, including:
- ordering residents in at-risk areas to conduct compulsory land-clearing
- better aerial firefighting strategies, including more water-bombing at night
- drawing on more Aboriginal land management techniques, such cultural burning
- allowing firefighters to enter private properties to start controlled burns on materials which fuel fires
- improving alert systems for bushfire smoke, and research into its health impacts
- making government agencies more efficient and auditing their progress.
Ms Berejiklian said: “We have to accept also that our climate is changing and those who wrote the report acknowledge that.”
Overall, most bushfires were caused by lightning strikes and embers from other blazes.
It added that this year’s season was unlikely to be as severe.