Reports | 5th May, 2020

2020 Fire Season: Submission into the Victorian Investigation

Over the devastating 2019-2020 fire season more than 1.2 million hectares of forest was burnt, five people tragically died and over 300 homes were destroyed in Victoria.

Victoria is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Communities and our natural environment are struggling with longer and harsher droughts and changing rainfall patterns. Heatwaves are becoming more deadly. In Victoria extreme weather has led to an increase in fires over the last 30 years. The fire season is starting earlier and lasting longer, making it harder for emergency services, health services and communities to prepare and respond to catastrophic bushfires.

This submission recommends:

  1. The Victorian Government commit to effective climate change mitigation strategies and targets in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement (to keep warming well below two degrees and pursue efforts to keep warming to 1.5 degrees), to minimise the impacts of climate change on bushfire weather.
  2. The Victorian Government adopt Emissions Reduction Targets of at least 45-50% by 2025 and 65-80% by 2030. This would put the state in line with requirements of the Paris Agreement and set an example to other jurisdictions to act accordingly.
  3. Build into the fundamentals of managing the risks of bushfires that climate change is a major driver of increased bushfire danger and is likely to increase the length and severity of the fire season, restrict the window of opportunity for safe and effective hazard reduction burning and change the relative risk associated with bushfire events across Victoria.

Download the submission here or read the document below.