Australia braces for unprecedented grassfires next summer
A new report warns that fuel loads that grew as a result of heavy rain are now drying out, creating 'powder keg' conditions for future fires in Australia.
Australia should brace itself for grassfires on a never-before-seen scale, further exacerbated by global heating leading to a broad fire risk in the spring and summer of 2023-24.
The report revealed that there is also an increased possibility of additional grassfires breaking out in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia during the current fire season up to April.
This summer, firefighters battled various grassfires, including those in remote Queensland and New South Wales.
Fire officials stated that back-to-back, La Niñas in eastern Australia have resulted in abundant vegetation growth.
Furthermore, the Climate Council's report showed that fuel loads in some inland areas were normally between 0.5 and 1.5 tonnes per hectare but were currently between 4.5 and 6 tonnes per hectare due to excessive rainfall.
The Climate Council and Emergency Leaders for Climate Action also made many recommendations, including increased financing for disaster response organizations and emergency services.
Heatwaves and dry conditions were turning such areas yellow and brown, creating "powder keg" conditions for future fires, as per the report.
The Bureau of Meteorology's models showed that three years of above-average rainfall may give way to a hot and dry El Niño period this year.
While grassfires are typically less severe than forest fires, they can be just as destructive, not to mention that they can move up to three times faster than a blaze.
The report recalled that Australia’s most widespread grassfires followed a long La Niña respectively in 1974 and 1975.
Since then, the climate crisis has deteriorated and amplified extreme weather, raising concerns that if large grassfires erupted now, they could be more destructive and deadly.
Read more: World must brace for 30% more wildfires by 2050: UN