New climate research by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) shows the number of high-risk bushfire days could triple in some parts of Victoria by the end of the century.

Key points:

  • Modelling indicates a 10-20 per cent increase in extreme fire risk days
  • The largest increase in extreme-risk bushfire days is set to impact north-west Victoria
  • Central and eastern Victoria could see a doubling or tripling of very high-risk days

The research looked at how fire danger may increase in Victoria under different climate change scenarios.

CFA manager of research and development Sarah Harris said the research gave regionally specific information on how fire danger would change in the future.

While the outlook was bleak, Dr Harris said she was “not surprised” by the findings, as it corresponded with other research. 

A woman in a CFA yellow uniform shown before behind as she watches a giant cloud of bushfire smoke.

Dr Harris says the scenarios used in the research show human-induced climate change is the main driver of increased fire danger.(

Facebook: Jacob Carracher, CFA

)

The projections will allow the CFA to look at how it can adapt to increased fire dangers in the future.    

Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released an alarming report projecting the Earth’s temperature could rise 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030 based on our current trajectory.

Beyond a warming of 1.5C, serious and frequent fires, droughts, floods, and cyclones are expected to wreak havoc on humanity.

The CFA’s modelling indicates the greatest increase in “extreme” fire risk days per year will occur in north-west Victoria, where much of the state’s grain is produced.

The greatest change in “very high” fire danger days per year will occur in central and eastern Victoria.

A man stands on a pier looking at the camera.

Scott Anderson says a fire which encroached on Bronzewing in 2014 was a wake-up call for many farmers.(

Supplied: Phil Down

)

Farmer and Mallee Fire Advisory Committee member Scott Anderson, who lives in region, said the increased fire danger could make it more difficult to harvest grain crops. 

“In the last year or so we’re certainly seeing most growers around us, [on] those nasty days, people just pull up [their equipment],” Mr Anderson said.

Mr Anderson said many people in the region were already preparing their properties to combat bushfires and becoming more self-sufficient.

“When we get those really nasty [fire] days, quite a lot of other spots in the state often get elevated fire risks,” he said.

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High-risk bushfire days in Victoria could triple by end of the century, CFA finds
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