Prime Mover Magazine

CSIRO to support Australia’s bushfire rebuild

Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, has welcomed its role in delivering practical resilience measures in relation to bushfires and climate changes.

Announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 29 January, CSIRO, in collaboration with other agencies and partners, will bring plans and recommendations to Australian Governments on ways CSIRO can manage and protect homes, environment, industries and infrastructure.

"Bushfires and drought have always been a challenging, natural part of Australian life, but we are starting to see the impacts of climate change in hotter, drier seasons, which cause more fire danger days," said CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall.

"This is the time to act, before the effects become larger. Despite our mitigation strategy, climate change will be with us for decades to come, so adaptation is the key immediate action to preserve lives, our economy, and protect our environment.

"CSIRO will provide recommendations on how we can better prepare for and manage bushfires when they occur, including new tools driven by science and technology.

"We will draw on our almost 70-year history of bushfire research across multiple fields of science including land management, building and materials design, fire protection and testing, and biodiversity management.

"But we won't do this alone.

"We can bring every branch of science and technology to bear on this challenge through our partnerships with every Australian university and every government department or agency.

"We will bring solutions from science for an Australia that will face, head on, a different climate than before, in the same way we have solved some of Australia's greatest challenges for over 100 years," he said.

The CSIRO will be supported by an expert panel, chaired by the Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel.

CSIRO is an Australian authority on fire management, behaviour and prediction.

It has led research to understand and predict the behaviour and spread of bushfires for almost 70 years.

CSIRO's research is used nationally for determining fire danger warnings, and trains and assists all state agencies in fire behaviour and prediction.

As a multidisciplinary science agency, CSIRO draws on a wide range of disciplines across the organisation for bushfire research including: fire prediction, fire behaviour, fire monitoring, fire suppression, fire testing, bushfire modelling tools, understanding the link between bushfires and greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, fire impacts and recovery planning, post fire-season review and field work that informs building codes, disaster management, Indigenous fire knowledge, community resilience, environmental rehabilitation and climate research.

CSIRO will provide a report to the Prime Minister on practical options for Australian governments to support and improve Australia’s climate and disaster resilience. By early March 2020, CSIRO aims to release a preliminary report, for consideration at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) March meeting, with: explanation of the key scientific issues for Australia’s climate and disaster resilience; detail on strengths and gaps in Australia’s preparedness and comparison with international counterparts; options to be considered in advance of the 2020-21 bushfire season; and identification of practical resilience measures that warrant further investigation.

A final report with implementable recommendations on building Australia’s climate and disaster resilience in the immediate and long-term is expected on 30 June 2020.

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