Localised fire knowledge is vital to our survival on this continent

By Tom Griffiths
Updated January 26 2020 - 8:25am, first published January 10 2020 - 1:00pm

As fires engulf us in this terrifying summer, some politicians and commentators continue to duck and weave around the link between extreme weather events and climate change. One of the arguments they deploy to dismiss the effects of global warming is that we've always had bushfires in Australia. It's true, we have. Bushfire is integral to our ecology, culture and identity; it is scripted into the deep biological and human history of the fire continent. But bushfire is various and it, too, has a history - and a frightening future. The long, gruelling fire season of 2019-20 has declared something new in modern Australian experience, something we can indeed call unprecedented, and a product of climate change.