Australia’s 'Black Summer' fires over 2019 and 2020 were unprecedented in scale and levels of destruction.
While unprecedented, this tragedy was not unforeseen, nor unexpected. For decades climate scientists have warned of an increase in climate-related disasters, including longer and more dangerous bushfire seasons, which have become directly observable over the last 20 years. Extremely hot, dry conditions, underpinned by years of reduced rainfall and a severe drought, set the scene for the Black Summer crisis.
Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA), a group of 33 former Australian fire and emergency service leaders, from every state and territory, warned of the unfolding conditions back in April 2019. They predicted a catastrophic fire season, urged stronger action on climate change, an increase in emergency response capabilities, and more work to reduce bushfire risks. Sadly, those warnings fell on deaf ears and, as the world watched on in horror, those same warnings became a harsh reality.
This Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan report provides a broad plan and practical ideas for governments, fire and land management agencies and communities to help us mitigate and adapt to worsening fire conditions. The 165 recommendations include many measures that can be implemented right now, to ensure communities are better protected.