Tony Abbott in denial on bushfire climate change link

In a radio interview with Neil Mitchell, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the Head of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, is "talking through her hat" for connecting the NSW bushfires with climate change and that "these fires are certainly not a function of climate change, they are just a function of life in Australia." It seems Mr Abbott is in denial on all the wildfire research done on the increase in fireweather and increase in frequency and intensity in bushfires both in Australia and globally.

Related: Raging Bushfires surround Sydney with early start to Fire season | Mega bushfire feared as State of Emergency declared in NSW | Guardian Australia: Australian prime minister denies 25 years of research linking climate change to bushfires.


Rapid and intense Bushfires destroy 200 Sydney homes while Federal Government continues dismantling climate change policies

Widespread October bushfires in NSW are unusual, but have happened before, such as in 1991. This year there was an Early start to Australian bushfires, record temperatures in early September.

It is now the 7th time this bushfire season a total fire ban has been declared in Sydney. Very Unusual. If the fire weather is this bad so early in the season, it can get worse over the coming months as Summer heats up, especially if we have extreme summer heatwaves similar to 2013.

Update: Sunday 20 October: Premier Barrie O'Farrell has declared A State of Emergency across NSW for 30 days as weather conditions are now forecast to be worse than anticipated. Indefinite Total fire bans, and increased powers for emergency personnel. The State Mine fire in the Blue Mountains has burnt 38,000 hectares and is burning on a broad front from Lithgow to west of Bilpin.


Total Fire Ban exemption for Santos CSG plant riles Pilliga residents

While firefighters were battling over 137 fires across NSW, over 40 uncontrolled, and with a total fire ban in place on Tuesday and Wednesday in record temperatures, Santos Gas at it's Pillaga CSG processing plant were able to vent and burn gas as usual in the middle of a tinder dry forest. Local residents have complained about this exemption saying it poses an unacceptable fire risk for the local community and for the Pilliga forest.

Background: The Global Mail - Pillaging the Pilliga (October 2012)


Julia Gillard links intensity of bushfires with climate change as NSW survives catastrophic fire conditions

On Monday the Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard visited the bushfire devastated town of Dunalley in Tasmania and expressed her support for the residents of the town, many of whom lost everything, and outlined emergency assistance measures being taken by both the Federal and Tasmanian Government.

She also said, very briefly, that bushfires were part of Australian life in a hot and dry country. But then she went a step further. She acknowledged that climate change contributes to the frequency and intensity of bushfires through more extreme weather events like the current extreme Heatwave.


Tasmanian bushfires catastrophic but no confirmed loss of life

After the first day of Tasmania's devestating bushfires which destroyed over 100 homes and businesses on the Tasman peninsula, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced an emergency assistance package to Tasmanian Bushfire victims. The Insurance Council of Australia has also formally declared the Forcett and Dunalley zone of south-east Tasmania a catastrophe. This means that insurers will establish a taskforce to escalate the industry's response.


Bushfires strike with extreme heatwave blanketing most of Australia

Jan 8: Climate Change: Records tumble in extreme heatwave as temperature scale adjusted upwards

Jan 8: Julia Gillard links intensity of bushfires with climate change as NSW survives catastrophic fire conditions

Jan 5: Tasmanian Bushfires catastrophic but no confirmed loss of life

Jan 4: Hobart recorded it's highest recorded minimum temperature Thursday night and highest recorded daytime temperature on Friday. Bushfires are currently raging in Tasmania destroying houses and forcing evacuations (see below).

Jan 3: Elevated temperatures in an extreme heatwave are occuring across a brought sweep of Australia, with the heatwave expected to last at least a week. It is very unusual that a heat wave covers such a large area of the continent at one time, according to Karl Braganza, manager of climate monitoring at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Australia's weather has switched to hot and dry after one of the wettest two year periods in Australia's history influenced by an extremely strong La Nina event.

Related: Scientists outline health limits of heat stress with Climate Change (May 2010) | Flooding rains now burning plains - Bushfire risk and climate change (Oct 2011) | Logging of Victorian mountain ash forests increases bushfire risk (Oct 2011) | Intact native Forests mitigate bushfire in a warming climate (Nov 2011) | CSIRO - Climate change impacts on fire weather


Logging of Victorian mountain ash forests increases bushfire risk

New scientific research published in September 2011 highlights that logging in Victoria’s mountain ash forests is increasing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. The cycling of logging and wildfire is creating a landscape trap where the wet forest ecosystem is being permanently converted to a new landscape replaced by other species, particularly wattle, increasing the frequency and intensity of bushfire risk.

"These changes will significantly impair ecological functions like carbon storage, water production and biodiversity conservation," said Professor Lindenmayer. "This is historically unprecedented and is beginning to dominate the mountain ash landscapes we see today."


Flooding rains now burning plains - Bushfire risk and climate change

Grass fires and bushfires are starting already, and it is only early October - with bushfire season officially still nearly a month away. The extremely wet season Australia had at the end of 2010 and start of 2011, brought on by one of the strongest La Niña on record, has stimulated vegetation growth and is set to cause great concern as it dries and cures in the summer heat with the onset of the summer bushfire season.


Impacts of climate change on the NSW south coast and Illawarra regions

A new report by the Climate Commission says the Illawarra region and South Coast of NSW highlights the increasing risks of the impacts of climate change. These impacts include an increase in the likelihood of large and intense fires as temperatures increase, rising sea levels causing coastal flooding of buildings and infrastructure, changing rainfall patterns and more intense storms increasing the dangers of severe flooding, and impacts to the regional biodiversity.

Privitization to blame for worst Black Saturday fire?

Did Privitization kill 121 people on Black Saturday? The power line implicated in the deadliest blaze of the day was faulty. It was checked by a linesman working for the contractors UAM, who worked for the Singaporean private power wholesaler SP Austnet. The fragmentation of knowledge, skills and responsibility under privitization, combined with the drive for cost reduction may have helped kill people on Black Saturday.