Australia — Australia’s peak fire management and research organizations are calling for ongoing support for scientific research to deal with the bushfire threat to our communities on the anniversary of the 1939 Black Friday bushfires.
The Bushfire Co-operative Research centre said the 70th anniversary was a timely reminder of Australia’s capacity to deal with fire. Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre chief executive officer Gary Morgan said scientific research into bushfires must continue in order to improve our understanding of the multiple impacts of bushfires.
He said climate change and drought were altering the nature, ferocity and duration of bushfires and an ageing and declining volunteer population were challenging the way fire agencies were going to be able to manage these events.
These issues are being further compounded by the expanding rural-urban fringe and the desire for people to retire to these semi-rural or rural areas, Mr Morgan said.
These demographic changes mean there will be increasing numbers of people living in these higher risk zones that are less capable of dealing with the fire risk. Mr Morgan said the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), the Bushfire CRC and Australian fire agencies, were working to establish a new Cooperative Research Centre for fire in Australia. The Bushfire CRC was funded for a seven year term by the Australian Government, which ends in 2010. Mr Morgan said research had provided Australians with ways to improve community safety.However, just as the Bushfire CRC has helped fire agencies today, new research is vital to provide innovative ways to tackle bushfires in the future, Mr Morgan said.