Australia — THE nation’s bushfire research body should be replaced with a new one because it’s set to run out of government funding, Greens MP Adam Bandt says.
The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (BCRC) examines the social, environmental and economic impacts of bushfires.
It’s funded on a project-by-project basis by the commonwealth until June 30, 2013, at which point its fate remains uncertain.
Mr Bandt says the body should be replaced with a new national fire institute which will ensure it’s work continues.
“It’s time to transfer to a national body … to oversee Australia’s preparedness to deal with major fires, with the growing risk of climate change meaning more frequent fires of greater severity,” Mr Bandt told AAP on Wednesday.
The risk of losing the body would be not having an accurate national response to major fire emergencies, he said.
“We are potentially going to face a Black Saturday every year or two, and that’s a terrifying prospect,” Mr Bandt said.
The body’s CEO Gary Morgan welcomed the idea, saying its work was far from finished and there was still a lot more needed to understand a range of issues, including how to manage volunteers, smoke management, creating models to prevent fire risk and better biodiversity management. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.