Australia needs to do more on climate crisis: expert

STORY: As Australians struggle with spring season bushfires, authorities are warning them to brace for worse as their summer approaches.

The National Council for Fire and Emergency Services said in its bushfire outlook on Thursday, hotter and drier conditions are set to hit large parts of the country under the effect of the El Nino weather pattern.

And more capital cities face an increased risk of fire, according to Australia’s emergency management minister.

Many experts have said climate change is fueling a worsening bushfire crisis.

Simon Bradshaw, director of research at the nonprofit Climate Council, says Australians can, and must, do more to curb the risks.

[Simon Bradshaw/Director of research, Climate Council]

“We’ve already faced severe fire seasons and extreme heat waves and we’re now seeing a lot of that super charged against this backdrop of climate change. Good news is there is still so much we can do to limit future harms, but it means really driving down our emissions this decade and learning how to look after each other in the face of these challenges.”

"We need to be taking every opportunity at this moment to be part of the solution, because every decision we make now, every ton of carbon left in the ground, that’s a little investment in a safer, more secure future for us here in Australia and communities around the world."

Some experts have warned, this fire season could be the worst since the so-called Black Summer fires of 2019-2020 that killed 33 people and destroyed an area the size of Turkey.

Despite the record rain in November sweeping parts of eastern Australia, Thursday’s bushfire report said this year’s record dry conditions and above-average temperatures will likely continue well into 2024.

Officials urged residents to update their fire safety plans, and pack emergency and evacuation kits.