Blue Mountains News

BMCC to Host Cities Power Partnership Expert Roundtable on Climate Change, Bushfires and Local Government

Source: Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 19 Feb 2019
Mayor Cr Mark Greenhill (L) and ward 2 Cr Brent Hoare (R): Blue Mountains City Council will host the Cities Power Partnership expert roundtable ‘Be Prepared: Climate Change, Bushfires and Local Government’
More than 60 local government representatives, academics and community groups from around Australia will attend a forum in the Blue Mountains on Tuesday, 19 February, to share knowledge on the growing risks that come with longer, more intense bushfire seasons.

The Cities Power Partnership – a free, national program created by the Climate Council that brings together Australian towns and cities making the switch to clean energy – will host the roundtable. It is Australia’s largest local government climate program, with over 100 councils representing almost 11 million Australians committing to tackle climate change together.

The Cities Power Partnership forum will provide attendees with an insight into:

  • Climate science and what it means for Australia’s bushfire threat by Professor Lesley Hughes, Climate Councillor and scientist.
  • On the front line of worsening bushfires in New South Wales by Greg Mullins, Former NSW Fire Commissioner and Climate Councillor, and
  • Bushfires, climate change and local government: best practice by Timothy McNaught, Director, Office of Bushfire Risk Management, WA.

It will also look at how local government can better collaborate on these challenges, what additional support they need to be prepared and what are the knowledge gaps that need to be addressed.

Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: “It’s imperative that all levels of government commit to swift and meaningful action to drive down Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the climate impacts that put our community at risk of more frequent and intense bushfires.

“Also, everyone has a shared responsibility to build bushfire smart and resilient communities.”

Ward 2 Councillor, Brent Hoare, said: “As we know, regional and rural areas are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and heightened bushfire risk is something we’re all too aware of in the Blue Mountains.

“Through the Cities Power Partnership, we can work closely with our neighbours to develop a strong, unified regional climate action plan.”

Bushfire facts

  • 2018 showed that an all year round bushfire season is “the new normal” in Australia.
  • How does Climate Change affect bushfires?
    • Australia is getting hotter, with more extreme hot days and longer, hotter heat waves. These conditions are increasing the risk of bushfires in many areas.
    • Hotter conditions and periods of low rainfall dry out soil and vegetation, also increasing fire risk.
    • Hotter conditions mean a longer fire season, leaving less time for hazard reduction.
    • A warmer climate increases the chance of lightning, which is a key factor in starting fires.
  • Severe fires have been influenced by record hot, dry conditions. The 2013 October bushfires in the Blue Mountains followed the hottest September on record, days well above average in October and exceptionally dry conditions.
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