Fact Checking: NSW Bushfires
This month, more than 1 million hectares of Australia’s east coast has been ravaged by bushfires. Four people have been confirmed dead, and more than 250 homes have been destroyed. During terrible tragedies like this, there is bound to be misinformation spread online, so Emily Wind is here to separate the ‘speculation’ from the ‘truth’.
The Amazon rainforest fires burnt 125,000 hectares, whereas the Australian bushfires burnt over 900,000 hectares.
An estimated 906,000 hectares of the Amazon rainforest has been lost to fires in 2019. The fires were caused by illegal forest clearing to create land for farming.
The November Australian bushfires have burnt over 1 million hectares and continue to burn. They are the result of emergency weather conditions including intense heat and strong winds.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has claimed that any concern about climate change and its role in the bushfires is simply the ravings of “inner-city lunatics”.
24 former fire chiefs have come forward and said that climate change is making bushfires deadlier and the bushfire season last longer, as reported by The Guardian. The former heads of the NSW, QLD, VIC and TAS fire services claim that the government “fundamentally doesn’t like talking about climate change”, and that they are ignoring their advice because of politics.
They have been trying to organise a meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison since April, because they knew a bushfire crisis was coming, but they weren’t invited into any discussions and were told they weren’t allowed to mention climate change.
Jim Tait, an environmental scientist who once kept cattle and horses on his northern NSW property, responded to McCormack’s comments and said that he finds it “incredible that someone who represents the rural industry can say this. The farmers and all primary producers know the weather is changing. I don’t think he is doing his own constituents any help in saying this.”
Images via. Queensland Greens
The Greens don’t support backburning and therefore have some responsibility for the fires.
The Greens state on their website that they “support hazard reduction burns and backburning to reduce the impact of wildfire when guided by the best scientific, ecological and emergency service expertise.” They say their policy is clear and “hasn’t changed recently”.
Not to mention the fact that the Greens have never held a majority government, meaning if they did oppose backburning, they wouldn’t be able to pass it through state or federal government anyway.
In 2018 and 2019, more than 139,000 hectares of land underwent backburning according to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
Feature Image: Adam Stevenson