A new study from the Climate Council indicates that the Victorian bushfire threat is significantly increasing as a result of climate change.
The report, written by Professor Lesley Hughes, points out that although the state of Victoria only covers 3% of the total landmass of Australia, it has been accounted for over 50% of economic damage due to rampant bushfires.
These economic damages in 2014 alone have cost the country a total of $172 million.
Bushfire threat study five key findings
- Climate change is radically affecting the Victorian state and will increase the bushfire threat as well as increase the length of fire-prone seasons in the area.
- Of all the different states of Australia, it is Victoria that continues to be the most likely to be affected as it has been in the past.
- Evidence points out that the past severe fires in Victoria have resulted from extremely dry, fire-prone conditions.
- Economic costs of bushfires to the state of Victoria are rapidly increasing.
- Victoria is expected to see an increase in the number of days where bushfires are more likely to occur. It is crucial for emergency services, community services, and health services in Victoria to promptly prepare for the expected disasters.
Bushfires expected to increase as climate change worsens
As pointed in the fifth bullet, it is likely that the number of bushfires in Victoria is going to increase over the next few years. By 2030, it is estimated that the state of Victoria will need to double the number of firefighters currently in service just to keep up with the pace.
The Climate Council’s report also indicates that the four main proponents that affect the likelihood of fires (in regards to weather) are temperature, wind, precipitation, and humidity.
Unfortunately for Victoria, climate change has altered it to the point where the conditions are primed for bushfires to start. The average temperature in the state has seen a steady rise in the past thirty years, giving evidence that the state is one of the most affected areas of climate change with the highest bushfire threat.
Victoria most at-risk state in Australia for bushfires
Victoria is no stranger to the bushfire threat dangers either. From a period of 1900-2008 it was noted that the majority of all bushfire fatalities in Australia occurred in Victoria – a total of 296 by 2008. As a matter of fact, the numbers accumulate to over 50% of all the country’s fire-related fatalities.
Climate change is playing a large role in the rising bushfire threat. Due to climate change, rainfall has become less common in Victoria, creating a drier and more humid environment more prone to ignition. Climate change also affects the likelihood of lightning occurrences during thunderstorms.
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The long-term effects of the greenhouse effect brought on by climate change are the biggest culprit at play. As the average climate begins to go up; the likelihood of a fire starting increases as well. Unfortunately, the area of Victoria is the most affected amongst Australian states.
The Climate Council requests the citizens of Victoria to prepare for rising bushfire threat and has also placed a request for the local government to take these findings into consideration in regards to city preparation.