The Climate Council is an independent, crowd-funded organisation providing quality information on climate change to the Australian public. CLIMATECOUNCIL.ORG.AU BE PREPARED: CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE SOUTH AUSTRALIA BUSHFIRE THREAT
Authorship: Professor Lesley Hughes Published by the Climate Council of Australia Limited ISBN: 978-0-9941866-1-4 (print) 978-0-9941866-0-7 (web) © Climate Council of Australia Ltd 2014 This work is copyright the Climate Council of Australia Ltd. All material contained in this work is copyright the Climate Council of Australia Ltd except where a third party source is indicated. Climate Council of Australia Ltd copyright material is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License. To view a copy of this license visit You are free to copy, communicate and adapt the Climate Council of Australia Ltd copyright material so long as you attribute the Climate Council of Australia Ltd and the authors in the following manner: Be Prepared: climate change and the South Australia bushfire threat by Professor Lesley Hughes (Climate Council of Australia). © Climate Council of Australia Limited 2014. Permission to use third party copyright content in this publication can be sought from the relevant third party copyright owner/s. This report is printed on 100% recycled paper. Professor Lesley Hughes Climate Councillor
Page 1 CLIMATECOUNCIL.ORG.AU Introduction Residents of South Australia have experienced the serious consequences of bushfires. In 2005 the Black Tuesday bushfires on the Eyre Peninsula resulted in the tragic loss of nine lives and estimated damages of $41 million (2011$). At the beginning of 2014 several bushfires raged across the state, burning tens of thousands of hectares of land, destroying properties and injuring firefighters and residents. Australians have always lived with fire and its consequences, but climate change is increasing fire danger weather and thus the risk of fires. It is time to think very seriously about the risks that future fires will pose. We first describe the background context of fire and its history in South Australia. We then outline the link between bushfires and climate change, before considering how bushfire danger weather is increasing in South Australia and what this means for the immediate future. We explore the impacts of fire on people, property, water supply and biodiversity, before considering the future influence of climate change on bushfires, and the implications for South Australian fire managers, planners and emergency services.
Page 2 BE PREPARED: CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE SOUTH AUSTRALIA BUSHFIRE THREAT CLIMATECOUNCIL.ORG.AU Key Findings 1. Climate change is already increasing the risk of bushfires in South Australia.
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