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The fire season is well underway in southern Australia. AAP Image/Carolyn Sainty

How to prepare your home for a bushfire – and when to leave

Australians are still underprepared for bushfires. And with fire seasons getting longer thanks to climate change we need to look at why people are still dying in fires, and what you can do to get prepared.
Reading about the beauty and destruction of the bushfire may help us live alongside it. Jason Verwey

Bushfires are burning bright in Australian letters and life

Historically, bushfires have played an important role in Australian literature, adding a touch of exoticism in fiction written for readers back in Europe, while also offering insights into the dangers…
Arson has evolved from a wrongful individual act into an effective means of collective violence. Murtada al Mousawy

Burn after reading: a short history of arson

We’ve been burning things for hundreds of thousands of years. Australian Aboriginals practised fire-stick farming to regenerate the soil and drive out animals for hunting. Yet manmade fires not only enable…
Canary grass is an invasive plant, but new varieties are still being developed for pasture. Stuart Hay

Feed or weed? New pastures are sowing problems for the future

Weeds cost Australian farmers around A$4 billion every year — and they are likely to do a similar amount of damage to the environment. In a new global survey published this week in Proceedings of the National…
Five years on, the bush and people are recovering well from the Black Saturday fires. AAP Image/Joe Castro

Five years on from Black Saturday, most survivors are doing OK

Five years on from the devastating Black Saturday fires that swept through central Victoria in February 2009, research shows that people and communities are largely recovering well. In the first major…
Coalmining poses risks that can’t be managed away. AAP Image/Incident Control Centre Hazelwood

The real disaster, at Hazelwood and elsewhere, is brown coal itself

Fittingly for a report on a huge fire, the findings of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry act as a smokescreen for the bigger issues behind the disaster. Partly because of its narrow terms of reference, the…
The blaze was eventually extinguished 45 days after it was sparked by a grassfire. Country Fire Authority/AAP

The Hazelwood mine disaster could easily have been avoided

The Hazelwood coalmine fire, which burned for 45 days earlier this year, was a catastrophe for the town of Morwell in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. Homes were blanketed in smoke and ash, many residents were…
Firefighters say they have the Hazelwood mine fire under control, but it’s still expected to burn for some time. AAP Image/Incident Control Centre hazelwood

Stronger laws needed to prevent another Hazelwood coal mine fire

The Hazelwood coal mine fire shows that Victoria’s current mining laws are not strong enough to prevent a similar disaster in the future. While the mine’s owner GDF SUEZ has vehemently rejected claims…
For millennia, humans have had the tools to change the atmosphere: when will we develop a sense of caution? AK Rockefeller/Flickr

Human global domination began with fire, not factories or farms

The era in which humans have had the power to alter the conditions for all life on Earth is widely thought to have begun with the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago. This era has been dubbed the “Anthropocene…
Firefighters battling the blaze at an open-cut coal mine in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, with Hazelwood power station in the background. AAP Image/Incident Control Centre Hazelwood

Victoria’s coal fire poses a rare challenge for firefighting

Victoria’s Hazelwood coal mine is still burning, nearly three weeks after it started from a grassfire during severe fire conditions. Police are currently investigating the original fire for arson. Meanwhile…
Too few Australian bushfire preparedness plans consider people with disabilities. Giant Gingko/Flickr

Bushfire planning leaves behind people with disabilities

When bushfires start, no one should be more worried than people with disabilities. Recent research shows people with disabilities are twice as likely to die or be injured than the general population during…
Fire zone: bushland ablaze in the Perth Hills. AAP

Bushfires: rural residents are the solution, not the problem

The return of heatwaves and bushfires to the news pages has brought fresh warnings that Australians who live in fire-prone zones still don’t fully understand the risk they are running. Deadly fires in…

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