Large parts of Australia will face a particularly dangerous wildfire season this year, as the effects of climate change mean fires will be even more ‘unpredictable’.
Experts from the Bureau of Meteorology warned Stephen Dawson, Western Australia’s emergency minister, that the bushfire season would begin earlier this year.
The state fire department will be on high alert this month after warnings that the season, which usually starts in December, could hit the West Coast even earlier.
Dawson requested a second air tanker for Pearce Air Base in Bullsbrook, northeast of Perth, alongside a C130 Hercules aircraft from the US.
Large parts of Australia will face a particularly dangerous bushfire season this year due to climate change (pictured, firefighters in Upper Swan)
Bureau of Meteorology experts have warned bushfire season will begin earlier this year (photo, firefighters in Bunbury, Western Australia)
The plane, which was originally designed for cargo transport, will be stationed in Busselton every bushfire season for the next four years, at a cost to the state. government $11 million, the Western Australian reported.
Up to 21,000 full-time and part-time firefighters and 38 other aircraft will also be on hand to ensure the safety of residents in the coming months.
Government officials were warned that this season could be “devastating.”
“For the first time, Western Australia is funding a large air tanker, which will be stationed in Western Australia and funded by Western Australia,” Dawson said.
“Last year was unprecedented. And there’s a good chance it will be the same, if not worse, this year.’
Up to 21,000 full-time and part-time firefighters and 38 other aircraft will also be on hand to ensure the safety of residents over the coming months (photo, Upper Swan fires)
Firefighters fought four category three fires in WA last year, extinguishing major fires in Bridgetown, Corrigin, Denmark and Narrogin.
The devastating fires destroyed hundreds of homes and cost the government $100 million in damage.
Dawson urged residents to have a wildfire plan in place as the effects of climate change have increased the frequency and intensity of fires.
He explained that, unlike previous years, two fire seasons would overlap and cause chaos for emergency services.
Firefighters fought four category three fires in WA last year, with major fires being identified in Bridgetown, Corrigin, Denmark and Narrogin (photo, fires in the Kimberley area)
“Climate change is here. It’s real,” Mr Dawson said.
“We see that our two burning seasons overlap. Previously, there was a northern fire season and a southern one.
‘Both drag themselves on. They overlap, which makes it more complex for us.’
Between December last year and February, up to 1,751 wildfires burned, burning more than 1.2 million acres of land across the state.
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