The events of 18 years ago when lightning struck a dead tree near McIntyre’s Hut in the Brindabella Valley and was a key generator for the ACT’s 2003 wildfires were well-recalled by Peter Dunn as he urged priority given to a fast-strike response to bushfires.
The former ESA commissioner said that taking advantage of that “magic hour”, when a bushfire first ignites and can be vigorously attacked, was as important now as ever.
Mr Dunn is a member of the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action group which, 100 days on from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, has handed in a report card “disappointed and concerned” with the lack of action by the Federal government.
He said that many of the recommendations from the commission had been only supported by the government “in principle” or simply had been “noted”.
“Particularly worrying is the rejection of a strong recommendation to develop a local aerial firefighting capability due to longer fire seasons worldwide reducing access to large aircraft at time that we need them most,” he said.
Two large aerial tankers were this week dispatched from NSW to WA, to help the current firefighting efforts to the north of Perth.
Mr Dunn said that while this action was appropriate and commendable, he posed the question: “what if they are needed here [on the east coast]?”
“What we’ve learned is that we need to bolster our aerial fire-fighting capability regionally, across the country, so that resources are where we need them,” he said.
Read more on this story at the Canberra Times