Is climate change to blame?
The devastating start to the fire season confirmed what scientists have been predicting: that Australia’s bush fires will become more frequent and more intense as climate change worsens.
Few if any other developed countries are as vulnerable to changing climate as Australia, according to scientific reports.
Australia is normally hot and dry in the summer, but climate change, which brings longer and more frequent periods of extreme heat, worsens these conditions and makes vegetation drier and more likely to burn.
The catastrophic fire conditions have put an intense focus on the Australian government’s failure to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, which traps heat when released into the atmosphere.