Australian bushfires are getting worse and it’s being driven by climate change, according to a massive analysis of 90 years’ worth of fire data. Not only has the number of megafires in Australia spiked since 2000, but a greater expanse of land is being burnt, and they’re happening more and more in autumn and winter. … Continue reading More megafires loom in Australia’s future
This article on Fire Shield and bushfire prediction first appeared in Cosmos Weekly on 24 September 2021. For more stories like this, subscribe to Cosmos Weekly. The incredibly ambitious Apollo Moon shot program only succeeded because it had the backing of the American public. It was a time of crisis. The Cold War was on the … Continue reading Why Australia’s climate shock needs a ‘Moon shot’ | Cosmos Weekly Taster
As the northern hemisphere swelters through summer, the Canadian province of British Columbia is fighting nearly 200 wildfires. The fires are the result of a heatwave that broke records across northwestern USA and southwestern Canada last week. Extreme heatwaves like this are going to become more frequent, and more intense, as human-induced climate change progresses. … Continue reading What can we learn from North America’s increasing fires and heatwaves?
Happy NAIDOC Week! This article was first published on 22 January, 2021. Australia is faced with multiple environmental crises. Catastrophic bushfires are becoming more frequent and intense, we have the fastest rate of biodiversity loss on Earth, and the Great Barrier Reef is being critically threatened by marine heatwaves – to name a few. To … Continue reading Cosmos Q&A: Caring for Country
A new report claims that past logging and wildfire disturbance had little effect on the severity of the Black Summer bushfires, prompting strong reactions from other Australian fire ecologists. The immense scale and severity of the 2019-20 fires were devastating; they were literally record-breaking and changed understanding of how extreme fires behave. They also sparked … Continue reading Bushfire experts clash over logging impacts
Ruined homes and other structures are among the most obvious signs of bushfires, and because there are insurance and rebuilding costs attached to them they’re often front of mind when it comes to the hard-dollar estimates of a fire’s cost. Not as obvious are the accumulated health costs created by a bushfire’s visible signature: smoke. … Continue reading Burning up the health budget
By Chief Scientist Alan Finkel and CSIRO’s Erin Roger Following the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20, many people throughout Australia, and across the world, wanted to know how they could help in response to the environmental disaster. Hundreds contacted the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA), Australia’s peak citizen science body, for guidance on how to … Continue reading Citizen science vital in bushfire recovery
The Australian Academy of Science this week called for greater attention to be paid to the significant damage bushfires cause to the soil, releasing an Expert Brief outlining the threats to agricultural productivity and the risk that some native vegetation may not recover. Cosmos spoke to the authors, Professor Alexander McBratney, from the University of … Continue reading Cosmos Q&A: Threat to our soils
Last summer’s huge and widespread Australian bushfires were monumental on just about every scale. By the time most were out or contained in early March, more than 180,000 square kilometres had been burnt, more than 2700 homes destroyed and at least 34 lives lost. It’s thought that up to a billion wild animals may have … Continue reading Rise and rotate
Acknowledgement of Country: We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands and seas across Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to Country. We acknowledge their continued custodianship of the continent, including the role of Indigenous knowledge and practices in land management and Indigenous fire burning. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and … Continue reading No resilient Australia without emission cuts
Forget Instagram – citizen scientists are being urged to use their mobile phones for a good cause: to monitor the recovery of bushfire-affected plants and animals. The images will be used by the Environment Recovery Project which will inform future research. Anyone in fire-affected areas of Australia can participate, no matter their scientific knowledge or camera … Continue reading Want to help with bushfire recovery?
For 40 years I have studied bushfires in Australia. It has been my life’s work to try to better understand Australian landscapes and the interaction of humans and landscape fire. As we contemplate a future where catastrophes like the one currently engulfing Australia become increasingly frequent, there’s an idea to which I keep returning: maybe … Continue reading Let’s rethink the typical Aussie summer holiday