How should we manage bushfires into the future?

Two radio interviews from Dec 2019 are posted here.

How should we manage bushfires into the future?

Listen here.

With bushfires burning across Australia since early spring, the current fire season is re-defining the way Australians think about wildfire.

As forests and landscapes burn where they’ve never burnt in European memory, the role of climate change has been hotly debated.

The Prime Minister says everything will be on the table when he next meets the state Premiers in March.

So with firefighters exhausted, resources stretched and climate change shrinking the limits for safe hazard reduction burning, what are the new approaches for managing bushfires into the future?


David Bowman, Professor of Pyrogeography and Fire Science, University of Tasmania;

Phil Zylstra, Adjunct Associate Professor, Curtin University;

Lesley Hughs, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biological Science, Macquarie University

Broadcast in RN Breakfast with Cathy Van Extel on 26.12.2019.


Fire expert encourages vigilance over festive season

As Australia grapples with the scale of the bushfire emergency, an international fire expert is warning people can no longer expect crews to save their property.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service has made it clear they can’t send a fire truck to everyone who calls for one.

David Bowman is Professor of Pyrogeography and Fire Science and is the Director of the Fire Centre at the University of Tasmania.

He tells PM our entire approach to the fire season needs to change.

Broadcast in ABC PM on 6.12.2019.


1 thought on “How should we manage bushfires into the future?

  1. G’day, I heard Phil talking on Sydney radio a few weeks ago, about alternative strategies to hazard reduction by prescribed burning. He presented the idea of not burning at all, allowing litter to repress regrowth of understory species to limit total fuel availability. Many years ago I trialled this approach in dry schlerophyl forest in Kurrajong NSW, isolating about 40 Ha with two of my neighbours for 28 years. It was the case that the forest was becoming more open, but when a fire came it burned just as hot and it crowned, as it would have if the more usual methods were invoked. I made a more detailed submission to the 2003 Senate Enquiry, along with many others and I commend to you the course of reading the various submissions from a wide range of interested parties. During the 28 years of my experiment, I occupied the position of Deputy Fire Captain with our local RFS group and believed, quite evidently incorrectly that leaving the bush alone would see a reduction in fire ferocity. After the 28 years, the fuel load was well and truly at an equilibrium level, but it still enabled a crowning fire. I was dead wrong.
    Thanks, Warwick Nichols

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