Focusing purely on hazard reduction burning is a recipe for future disaster

National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has expressed deep concern over the devastating impacts of the recent bushfires. The protection of life, property and a healthy environment are priorities shared by our members.

The troubling evidence is that fire management is becoming even more challenging under the influence of long-term drying and increased temperatures.  

NPA President, Anne Dickson stated “Our members live across the State, many have experienced firsthand the terrible effects of wildfire on their local communities, wildlife and landscape.

“The all-too-familiar claims after each fire disaster that the root cause of fire is a lack of prescribed burning in national parks is not only unhelpful, it’s dangerous and takes away from the importance of developing new ways to deal with the increased threat fire is having on our communities.

 “We need to stop looking for magic bullet solutions to fire management and simplistic blame shifting.

“National parks and other conservation reserves make up less than 15% of NSW’s total fire prone lands, yet they contribute more than 75% of the areas subject to prescribed burning each year. 

“There’s no question that additional resources would enable more prescribed burning across all land tenures.  But we can’t kid ourselves that prescribed burning is the complete solution, especially given the increasingly narrow windows of opportunity in which burns can be safely conducted.  

“With the threat of catastrophic fires set to increase in the future, we must listen to the wisdom of the former fire chiefs and acknowledge the world is facing a new level of fire threat.  We must contribute to global action on climate change. We must increase our capacity for response, including properly resourced fire agencies and guaranteed access to specialist aviation resources.  Our planning and building standards must respond to the emerging climatic conditions. And yes, we must dedicate more resources for all forms of hazard reduction across all tenures.

“The increasing intensity and frequency of fire is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and natural landscapes.  It may be politically expedient to pretend that conservationists exercise some mythical power over fire legislation and Bush Fire Management Committees, but it is not so. Such wild and simplistic claims avoid the very real and complex challenges of protecting our communities and the healthy environments that support our quality of life.  

“Focusing purely on hazard reduction, and in one tenure at that, is a recipe for future disaster. Fire has always been a challenge, and it is one that will spiral out of control unless we apply all of the tools at our disposal”. Ms Dickson concluded.

ENDS

Media inquiries: Gary Dunnett, NPA Executive Officer 9299 0000

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