Bushfire is a major problem in various nations such as Australia. The recent encounter was in 2019, which led to more than 6.3 million hectares of land burning. The calamity took a lot of lives of animals and affected the environment too. It can lead to huge loss of lives and impact the health of the species in the present and future. Therefore, bushfire management is a vital concern in such areas. But, what is the right way to have bushfire management that doesn’t falsify at the end of the hour?
Bushfire management in Australia:
When it comes to the list of the nations that are most prone to bushfires. Australia is among the top numbers on the list. In Australian territory, the incident of bushfire occurs very often. Bushfires are most common from December to February, when the weather is the hottest and driest. Such weather catalyzes the impact of bushfires and loss can be on the higher side.
One of the major contributing reasons for this is lightning. However, 10% are caused by human activities like campfires & cigarettes. Hence it is important that apart from the authorities, even the citizens specialize in bushfire management.
The Australian government took steps for Bushfire management:
- Establishing a special team:
To reduce the risk of bushfires, the Australian government has put on certain policies & programs like the national fire danger rating system, the bushfire cooperative research Centre, & the national bushfire mitigation program. The objective of establishing these authorities & institutes is to ensure proper bushfire management & take the right actions as required.
- Allocating the funds:
When problems like bushfires emerge, the government needs to be proactive. Apart from the availability of the right resources, you need an adequate amount of funds to run the activity. The Australian government provides financial assistance in bushfire management to combat such issues. This includes the bushfire recovery fund, which offers a grant of up to disaster Recovery Payment – $1000 per adult & $400 per child for people severely affected by bushfires.
Types of ways of bushfire management activities:
There are two broad categories or two ways how bushfires can be prevented & they come under bushfire management. They are-
- Firefighting: In this emergency actions are taken to assist with the damage cost to the life or property during the bushfire.
- Fire prevention: These are preventive actions taken reduce the risk of gravity or the severity of fire before it occurs.
Are there any national laws applicable to firefighting activities?
In case of emergency bushfires, suppression, & contaminant activities, protecting life and property is always the primary concern over other things.
The national environment law in Australia does not restrict the response to managing bushfire emergencies nor does it regulate the measures taken to fight fires.
How does national environment law apply to bushfire prevention activities?
Two times when the Bush fire had majorly impacted Australia were in 2015 – 2016, which led to a major loss in Western Australia, & the 2019 – 2020 calamities that hit NSW & Victoria. This had drawn a sharp focus of the authority and the government to go towards bushfire management.
The state and territory authorities have the primary responsibility to manage and take care of the environment. The national environmental law, as mentioned above, does not regulate fire prevention measures taken by the state or the government of the territory in the case of a bushfire. Fire prevention activities only need federal environmental approval if they have a significant impact on the nationally protected matter.
Importance of having an effective bushfire management system:
The summer season can be vulnerable to bushfires, & we can encounter more cases of bushfires during this part of the season. While many a time, the reason for this is natural calamities like lightning or thundering. Sometimes, a lackadaisical approach of the citizen in case of a campfire can also lead to bushfire.
Having an effective bush management system can help in reducing the impact or seriousness of bushfires. It requires a rapid response from well-trained & well-equipped firefighters, flawless collaboration, & communication between the various land management & fire management teams. Train teams to command firefighting operations. In addition, rural & semi-rural communities must be trained such that they know how to withstand incoming bushfires & recover from them.
Wrapping it up!
This was a brief overview of the bushfire management which the Australian government has adopted and can improvise to reduce the impact of such cases.