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Bushfires

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Large bushfires occur in the mallee shrublands and woodlands of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Lauren Brown

Percentage targets for planned burning are blunt tools that don’t work

Controlling bushfire risk by burning a set percentage of land every year sounds sensible - but a more sophisticated approach is needed to truly safeguard both humans and wildlife in rural areas.
Is this image of destruction after Cyclone Pam a sign of things to come? Sgt Neil Bryden RAF, British Ministry of Defence/AAP

Explainer: are natural disasters on the rise?

Natural disasters are becoming more frequent, with more people with less money exposed to a greater number of hazards.
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…
Carbon dioxide levels are rising at their fastest rate since the dinosaurs' time. iurii/Shutterstock.com

What will a hotter Australia be like? The past gives us some clues

The latest climate projections released last week by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO predict that Australia could potentially warm by between 2.8C and 5.1C by 2090. Meanwhile, the 2014 State of the…
Whether leaving early or staying to defend, a reliable and adaptable bushfire survival plan is a must. AAP Image/David Mariuz

Bushfires kill, but knowing exactly how might make them less deadly

The latest round of bushfires, which claimed 27 homes in the Adelaide Hills, has once again highlighted the importance of planning for the worst. Mercifully, no human lives were lost, and it will be important…
The South Australian bushfires have destroyed many homes including this one in Greenwith in the outer suburbs of Adelaide. AAP Image/David Mariuz

We can build homes to survive bushfires, so why don’t we?

Dozens of homes and outbuildings have been destroyed in bushfires that have ravaged parts of South Australia reminding us again how poorly adapted we are to bushfire prone landscapes. With 15 years experience…
Wind and humidity affect how easy it is to cool off in a heatwave. Big swimming pools help, too. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Bad luck, Brisbane: muggy cities will feel future heat even more

Several Australian cities, such as Adelaide and Perth, have greeted 2015 with scorching weather as summer hits its stride – the kind of conditions that leave us crying out for an air conditioner, rather…
Who gets to survive when fire ravages the food and cover of native animals? Flickr/Alastair Smith

Predators get the advantage when bushfires destroy vegetation

Bushfires are a part of life in Australia, and when they have run their course we pick up where we left off and carry on. But if you happen to be a small animal, surviving the bushfire is only the start…
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…
Starting earlier, lasting longer: the challenge of managing the New South Wales bushfire season is getting harder. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Bushfire season in New South Wales grows longer and stronger

In New South Wales in 2013, bushfires in January and October collectively burned 768,000 hectares of bushland and destroyed 279 homes. Tragically, two people lost their lives and the damage was estimated…
Annual show: each spring, thousands of people make the road trip north from Perth to see the wildflowers. Supplied

Drought and fire threaten WA’s famous spring wildflowers

Spring has sprung. This time of year is peak wildflower season in the area around Perth, and the display is a major tourism draw card. People flock to places like Lesueur National Park and the Eneabba…
Forests logged in the past two decades burned more severely the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. AAP Image/Andrew Brownbill

Victoria’s logged landscapes are at increased risk of bushfire

Victoria’s forest management policies need to be urgently reviewed in response to the discovery that logging can contribute to the severity of bushfires in wet forests, like the devastating fires on Black…
Back burning against a bushfire in New South Wales, January 2013. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Explainer: back burning and fuel reduction

The recent surge of bushfire disasters has introduced fire-fighting tactics to everyday language. Two important approaches that use fire to fight fire are “back burning” and “fuel-reduction burning”. Unfortunately…

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