12 June 2020, The Conversation. It’s 12 months since the last bushfire season began, but don’t expect the same this year. Last season’s bushfires directly killed 34 people and devastated more than 8 million hectares of land along the south-eastern fringe of Australia. A further 445 people are estimated to have died from smoke-induced respiratory problems. The burned landscape may take decades to recover, if it recovers at all.
While it’s become known colloquially as the Black Summer, last year’s fire season actually began in winter in parts of Queensland. The first fires were in June. So will the 2020 fire season kick off this month? And is last summer’s inferno what we should expect as a normal fire season? The answer to both questions is no. Let’s look at why. Last fire season First, let’s recap what led to last year’s early start to the fire season, and why the bushfires became so intense and extensive….
Last bushfire season should be a turning point for land management in Australia. Five inquiries into the last bushfire season are under way, including a royal commission, a Senate inquiry and inquiries in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. These inquiries must lead to change. We have a short window of opportunity to start managing fires in the landscape more sustainably. If we don’t, in a decade’s time we may see the Black Summer repeat itself. Read more here