are we living in a smoke haze?

It’s early in the day. Around 100 kilometres south of Bribie Island, you can see and smell the smoke from fires that have been burning for a few days now. Coming off a night of gusty winds on Moreton Bay, it’s very still. The smoke sticks to the air as the humidity rises on another day of a heat wave affecting the entire continent of Australia.

Bribie Island fires 9 Jan 2013 Photo: Glenn Barnes - Courier Mail

Bribie Island fires 9 Jan 2013
Photo: Glenn Barnes – Courier Mail

There have been, are, and will be more severe fires across the country as these conditions continue.  Bushfires are part of the Australian landscape. The written history of this country documents the worst of them.  Lives lost. Fauna and livestock killed. Properties and possessions destroyed.

What feels different over recent years is the frequency and intensity of the fire events. We are seeing fire storms that the best trained fire fighters can never control.  The question as each summer approaches now is “where will the big fires be this year?” not “will there be big fires this season?”. After the devastating 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria, the descriptor ‘catastrophic’ was added to the lexicon in the Fire Danger Ratings across all states.  Something’s changing and it’s beyond time to wrap our combined national and international actions around that fact.  That means embracing the work of the vast majority of scientists and their findings on climate change and its impacts on all of us.  Quickly.

For an overview of the current over the top temperatures being experienced across Australia by James West from The Climate Desk head over here.

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