2 July 2021
PDF version [453 KB]
Dr Daniel May
Science, Technology, Environment and Resources Section
This paper updates and adds to the March 2020
Parliamentary Library research paper entitled 2019–20
Australian bushfires—frequently asked questions: a quick guide.
How much land was burned?
How many species have become endangered/extinct?
What caused the 2019–20 Australian bushfires?
What inquiries were conducted?
State and territory inquiries
What were the health impacts from the bushfires?
How much was donated to charities, and what issues arose?
What should the 2019–20 fires be called?
All links in this paper were valid as at 2 July 2021.
How much land was burned?
Establishing how much land was burned in a bushfire can be
difficult. There are several factors behind this. Generally, bushfire analyses
have tended to focus on individual bushfire events on the most catastrophic
day, rather than an entire bushfire season which can stretch across several
months across multiple states. Black Saturday in 2009, for instance, was the
worst day of that bushfire season in Victoria. It comprised a number of
separate fires (some ignited on the day, some already burning) and containment
efforts lasted several months following the day, however, much analysis tends
to be confined to the day itself. In contrast to this, the 2019–20 bushfires
occurred across a range of fire regimes from July 2019 to late February 2020.
In ascertaining the affected area of the 2019–20 bushfires,
some media commentators and government agencies include the area burnt in northern
Australia—which is problematic given the prevailing monsoonal fire regimes are quite
different to those of south-eastern Australia.
It is typical for extensive parts of the tropical north (especially savanna) to
burn (one paper estimates that 25–45 million hectares is burnt in northern
Australia on an annual basis).
Indeed, the Northern Territory had a relatively average 2019–20 bushfire
It is, therefore, debatable whether northern Australia should be included in
this assessment. If the 2019–20 bushfire season is being regarded on a
continental level, then it would be appropriate to include figures from
northern Australia. However, including such figures may overshadow the figures
from eastern and southern Australia and distract from what made these
particular fires unusual.
It is also important to note that discussions of area
‘burnt’ or ‘burned’ should reflect the nuances of Australia’s fire ecology.
Entire ecological communities were burned and may face an increased risk of
extinction (see ‘How many species have become endangered/extinct?’ below).
However, many Australian species and ecological communities are surprisingly
resilient to fire and may survive seemingly devastating bushfires,
while others require consistent specific patterns of fire to propagate.
Therefore, it may be inappropriate to refer to these areas as having been
Similarly, bushfires may not have uniform effects over an
area, due to differences in topography, vegetation, moisture content, fire history,
There can be some ambiguity around the terms used to describe fires and their
variable impacts on ecological communities, for example, ‘fire intensity’
usually refers to the physical properties of a fire (that is, the amount of
energy it released) and, due to the above concerns, many fire ecologists may
use the term ‘fire severity’ to describe the effect of this energy on an
For the 2019–20 bushfires, the Commonwealth Royal Commission into
National Natural Disaster Arrangements ‘struggled to obtain consistent
burnt area data on a national scale’, and found estimates of area burnt that
ranged from 24.3 to 33.8 million hectares.
There were inconsistencies and gaps in data between different state and
Some estimates included unburnt patches within larger burnt areas. In tropical
savannas and arid grasslands, fire mapping relied on satellite measurements, while
in temperate forests, fires were mapped by a combination of satellite
measurements, aerial surveys, and ground crews.
The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment subsequently
developed the National Indicative Aggregated Fire Extent Datasets in 2020,
which estimated 39.8 million hectares were burnt in the 2019–20 fires.
An alternative analysis, relying solely on satellite data, estimated that 30.38
million hectares was burned across the entire Australian continent.
Regardless of the uncertainties over the total extent of
area burned, it is likely that the impact of the 2019–20 fires on Eucalyptus
forests was unprecedented in Australian written history,
and burnt an unprecedented percentage of any continental forest biome.
25% of NSW’s native forest was burnt in the 2019–20 bushfire season, as was 19%
of Victoria’s native forest.
A study utilising satellite data beginning from 1988 found that, while the proportion
of forest burnt at high severity was not higher than previous fires recorded,
the ‘sheer size of the 2019–20 fires means that an unprecedented area of
south-eastern Australia experienced high-severity fire in a single season’.
The authors speculated that the 2019–20 bushfires may have transformed between
15% and 23% (28–43 thousand hectares) of south-eastern Australia’s temperate
rainforest to an alternative state, ‘requiring centuries for recovery, if
recovery is at all possible under south-eastern Australia’s drying climate’.
The Gospers Mountain blaze, ignited by lightning in the Blue Mountains of NSW,
may have been Australia’s largest forest fire from a single ignition point—even
before it joined with other massive blazes.
However, area burned is not necessarily indicative of the
relative level of damage caused by a bushfire. For instance:
The total burned area and number of fires in 2019/20 were not
abnormal for South Australia. The burned area and number of fires were below or
close to average values, 765,719 hectares and 1,152 respectively. Number of
fires and area burnt are usually dominate [sic] by remote fire in arid parts of
South Australia which have minimal impact on human lives and are not normally
actively suppressed by fire agencies. However due to the proximity to higher
density population and associated economically valuable land uses, houses and
lives lost were above average for SA—more than 10 times higher for the houses
lost and 4 times higher for the lives lost.
species have become endangered/extinct?
The 2019–20 fires had both direct and indirect effects that
will have had impacts on the vulnerability of species. Direct effects include
the impact of radiant heat, smoke inhalation, and stresses associated with
fleeing and coping with passing fires.
Indirect effects include post-fire impacts such as increased soil erosion and
runoff into waterways, reduced availability of, and increased competition for,
food resources, lack of shelter from predators, lack of suitable resources for
nesting, and destruction of fencing which previously limited the range of
The impact of these effects upon species will be dependent upon species traits
(such as if a species is dependent upon lengthy intervals between fires to
re-seed) and other characteristics (such as if a species has limited range).
It may be some years before the full scale of the ecological
damage of the 2019–20 fires becomes apparent. Few studies available at the time
of writing incorporated ground-based or observational surveys. Such surveys are
expensive and time-consuming, and the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted data
In January 2020 Sussan Ley, the Federal Minister for the
Environment, asked the Threatened
Species Commissioner to convene a Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire
Recovery Expert Panel (Expert Panel) to identify species in most urgent need of
intervention and to provide advice on prioritisation of recovery actions.
The Expert Panel prepared a range of reports which utilise remote sensing and
modelling and should thus be regarded as providing a broad overview to be
supported by later studies.
The Expert Panel identified 486 species requiring immediate
action to assess impacts and support recovery.
Such taxa were known to occur in fire‑affected areas and had ‘more than
80% of their range burnt, or were listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered
under the EPBC Act or state/territory listings, or were listed as HIGH risk
under two or more of the criteria assessed’.
These include species like Forrester’s Bottlebrush (Callistemon forresterae)
and Grey Deua Pomaderris (Pomaderris gilmourii var. cana) which
are described as being at ‘imminent risk of extinction’ because they were
already exposed to other significant threats and ‘all of their known or
modelled range has been burnt’.
The fires burned fire-sensitive ecological communities,
including half of NSW’s warm temperate and dry rainforests, one-quarter of
NSW’s subtropical rainforests, and over 20% of NSW’s alpine vegetation.
For example, the Blue Mountains in NSW contain 4,105 hectares of temperate
highland peat swamps on sandstone, a landform which can take centuries to form
and recover from fire.
Of those wetlands, a preliminary analysis showed that 2,139 hectares (52%) were
burnt; 1,472 of which was subjected to a very high severity burn where the
upper portion of the peat was incinerated.
The Expert Panel also assessed animal species that require
action. Their most recent list identified 119 animal species as requiring
‘urgent management intervention’—this includes reptiles, crayfish, mammals,
birds, and other species.
Of these 119 species, the Panel describes some as being at ‘imminent risk of
extinction’ as ‘most of their range has been burnt, they were already highly
threatened, and they are susceptible to fire and its after effects [sic]’.
This includes species such as the Kangaroo Island Dunnart (Sminthopsis
aitkeni) and the Blue Mountains Water Skink (Eulamprus leuraensis).
Amid concerns that invertebrate data is poorly known and
the Expert Panel also released a list of 191 invertebrate species confirmed or
estimated to have been severely affected by the fires, including spiders,
snails, bees, and other species.
Using different criteria, the Australian Museum assessed the area burned in the
fires in NSW and estimated that there were 29 species of invertebrates which
only had occurrences within those areas, with another 46 species having at
least half of their known occurrences within the burnt areas.
the 2019–20 Australian bushfires?
Any assessment of the cause of the 2019–20 bushfires must
acknowledge that a fire requires multiple factors to burn. Fire scientist Ross
Bradstock conceptualises four ‘switches’ that must be activated for bushfire to
occur: biomass production, its availability to burn, fire-conducive weather,
This section will focus upon ignition.
There are some factors which complicate any assessment of
the causes of ignition for the entire Black Summer. For instance, many fires merged
over time, including the Gospers Mountain fire in the Blue Mountains, which
burned 512,000 hectares, but also joined with other fires for a total burn area
of 908,231 hectares.
Furthermore, the entire season comprised many thousands of individual ignitions,
some of which had little impact. The NSW Bushfire Inquiry noted that, during
the 2019–20 fires, there were 11,774 fires across NSW alone. The Inquiry,
therefore, selected only the most significant fires (due to their size, scale
or impact) to analyse.
Similarly, the terminology used to record ignition cause is not uniform across
agencies and law enforcement, and there can be considerable room for confusion
around the use of terms such as ‘deliberately lit’ and ‘arson’.
The NSW Bushfire Inquiry stated that ‘Lightning was the
suspected, immediate cause of ignition for the vast majority of the largest and
most damaging fires across NSW in the 2019–20 season’.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) reported the causes of 32 significant fires to
the NSW Inquiry, accounting for roughly 4 million hectares of area burned in
the 2019–20 fire season.
Of these 32 fires, 24 were started by lightning, accounting for 92% of the
sampled burn area.
Nevertheless, some damaging fires were deliberately lit or started
accidentally. For instance, a man was jailed for three and a half years for
deliberately lighting the Ebor Guyra Road bushfire in November 2019 which burnt
through 22,800 hectares.
The Orroral fire which burned 80% of Namadgi National Park in the ACT was
accidentally started by heat from an Australian Defence Force helicopter’s
inquiries were conducted?
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on the
Environment and Energy resolved on 5 December 2019 to conduct an inquiry
into vegetation management (especially hazard reduction burning).
Following an escalation of the bushfire disaster over
December 2019 and January 2020, the Royal Commission into
National Natural Disaster Arrangements was established on 20 February 2020.
Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin (Retired), Dr Annabelle Bennett and Professor
Andrew Macintosh were appointed as Commissioners.
The House Standing Committee made way for the Royal Commission and wound up its
inquiry on 26 February 2020.
The Royal Commission released a number of publications
background papers (covering cultural burning practices, hazard reduction
burning, constitutional issues, prior inquiries, and disaster responsibility
arrangements) and four
issues papers (covering the constitutional framework for state of emergency
declarations, health care arrangements, the role of local government, and firefighting
and emergency services personnel and equipment).
The Royal Commission released its final
report on 30 October 2020.
The Commonwealth Government released its response
on 13 November 2020.
The Senate Finance and Public Administration References
Committee established an inquiry into Lessons
to be Learned in Relation to the Australian Bushfire Season 2019–20.
The Committee is required to report by 2 December 2021; it published a
substantive interim report on 7 October 2020.
The Government response to this interim report was published on 6 May 2021.
The Committee re-opened submissions on 11 December seeking further information
on hazard reduction, the 2019–20 bushfire season, mitigation infrastructure and
land-use planning, insurance issues and aerial firefighting.
At time of writing, the Committee has held eight public hearings and received
Various state governments also announced reviews, most of
which were targeted and did not seek to encompass a broad array of issues or
call for wide public participation.
the health impacts from the bushfires?
In general, bushfires can cause a range of health impacts
beyond death. These can include burns from radiant heat, dehydration and heat
exhaustion, smoke inhalation, and the immediate and ongoing effects from
trauma—both physical and psychological.
The hazard from bushfire smoke and air pollution is of particular concern.
In addition to containing pollutants such as carbon monoxide and ozone,
bushfire smoke can contain a large amount of small particulate matter—including
fine (under 2.5 microns; abbreviated to PM2.5) and ultrafine (under
1 micron) particulate matter.
This can disperse far from the fire itself, cause eye irritation and, when
inhaled, can penetrate into lungs and enter the bloodstream, inducing
physiological responses such as inflammation.
There is evidence to show bushfire smoke causes increased
visits to doctors and hospital admissions for respiratory symptoms,
particularly for asthma, bronchitis, dyspnea (shortness of breath), and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease.
There are also concerns around the effects of bushfire smoke on the
cardiovascular system, although evidence to date is inconsistent.
Similarly, there is partial evidence of PM2.5 exposure having
negative impacts on neurological functions and birth outcomes.
However, there are significant knowledge gaps, particularly around the long
term effects of bushfire smoke exposure.
The 2019–20 bushfires caused repeated exposure to
substantial amounts of bushfire smoke across many weeks. For instance, Canberra
residents experienced the worst air quality in the world on several occasions
over the summer, and more than one third of all summer days in the ACT were
rated to have ‘hazardous’ air quality.
Smoke from the bushfires affected population centres across south-eastern
Australia and had noticeable impacts as far away as New Zealand.
Hospital data from NSW shows a large increase in the number
of patients presenting with respiratory problems over the summer, and pharmacy
sales figures for inhalers used to treat asthma (such as Ventolin or Asmol)
nearly doubled in particularly polluted weeks in the ACT.
While detailed epidemiological data is not yet available, some researchers
estimate that bushfire smoke was responsible for 429 premature deaths, 1,138
hospitalisations for cardiovascular problems, 2,092 hospitalisations for
respiratory problems, and 1,532 presentations to emergency departments for
The techniques for this kind of estimation are well-established.
It should also be noted that such estimates do not account for the costs of
less severe asthma episodes. For example, many asthma sufferers may self-manage
their symptoms by following official advice to minimise exposure to smoke.
In addition to these impacts from smoke, there were significant
increases in calls to mental health crisis support hotlines during the fires,
and an additional Medicare item was introduced to allow specific access to
mental health services.
While the full impact of the 2019–20 bushfires on mental health will also not
be known for many years, previous bushfire disasters in Australia have had
long-term impacts on those directly affected. Survivors of previous bushfires
have reported high rates of depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic
How much was
donated to charities, and what issues arose?
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
(ACNC) reported in October 2020 that more than $640 million had been raised
from the public for relief and recovery efforts.
This included $240 million to the Australian Red Cross, $108 million to the NSW
RFS, and $90 million to NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service
These totals do not include the funding allocated by the Commonwealth or state
governments. For instance, the National Bushfire Recovery Agency indicates that
the Australian Government allocated more than $2 billion in recovery funding.
Significant public criticism arose around the distribution
of donations by charities. For instance, media reporting and social media
commentary implied that money was stockpiled, spent needlessly on
administration, or was being distributed too slowly.
The ACNC Commissioner, Gary Johns, observed these criticisms revealed a low
degree of public understanding about how charities operate and the governance
regimes surrounding them.
In response to these concerns, the ACNC reviewed the
experience of three well-known charities during and after the fires: the
Australian Red Cross Society (Red Cross), the Trustee for NSW Rural Fire
Service & Brigades Donations Fund (NSW RFS Trust), and WIRES. The ACNC
noted that not all assistance is required immediately: for instance, the Red
Cross reported they had received over 850 new requests for aid since 30 June
The ACNC also noted that the growth in donations was extremely rapid and
required some charities to swiftly adjust their administrative arrangements: for
instance, WIRES received $91 million in 2019–20, roughly 27 times more than its
donations in the previous year.
A particularly notable case highlighted how public
expectations clash with the laws governing charities. Comedian Celeste Barber
launched an appeal in early January 2020 explicitly labelled for the NSW RFS
Trust which raised $51 million, far exceeding her original target of $30,000.
As the appeal rapidly outgrew its target, Barber suggested that donations
raised in this campaign could also go towards the families of bushfire victims
and to support bushfire agencies outside NSW.
However, the NSW RFS Trust was legally restricted on how it could spend the
money, confirmed by a NSW Supreme Court ruling.
Further, the NSW RFS Trust could neither control messages over what this money
could be spent on, or communicate directly with donors, leading to ‘a
significant difference between donor expectations and the programs NSW RFS
Trust could implement’.
The high public attention and sympathy for victims of the
bushfires also came with other issues, as some sought to divert funds via
fraudulent fund-raising, while others made fraudulent claims from charities or
sought to conduct cybercrime activities against charities.
The ACNC attributed a nearly 70% increase in the number of reported scams in
2020 to suspected bushfire scams.
the 2019–20 fires be called?
Australia has evolved a tradition of naming particularly
disastrous bushfire events—as environmental historian Tom Griffiths has
written, ‘there are enough “Black” days in modern Australian history to fill up
a week several times over’.
Victoria alone has endured Black Thursday (1851), Black Friday (1939), and
Black Saturday (2009). As the fires continued to burn in February 2020, Prime
Minister Scott Morrison referred to the ‘Black Summer’.
Criticising this term on the basis that the fires began in winter,
Griffiths suggested the term ‘Savage Summer’, while global fire historian
Stephen Pyne suggested the ‘Forever Fires’.
In the 2020–21 Budget, the Commonwealth Government
established the National Recovery and
Resilience Agency as part of its response to the Royal Commission into
National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
This Agency replaces the National
Bushfire Recovery Agency that had been established on 6 January 2020
to lead and coordinate ‘the national response to rebuilding communities
affected by the 2019–20 bushfires’.
The National Recovery and Resilience Agency will ‘support communities impacted
by disaster’ and ‘deliver initiatives to reduce risk and lessen the impacts of
The NSW Bushfire Inquiry provided a detailed explanation of
the climatic drivers behind the bushfires in NSW including a strong positive
Indian Ocean Dipole and negative Southern Annular Mode.
Victoria’s Inspector-General for Emergency Management reported that ‘climate
change contributed to Australia’s extraordinary 2019–20 fire season through
cumulative long-term changes in climate’.
The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub has
analysis of Australian newspaper reporting on the 2019–20 Australian
The Australian National Audit Office has released a performance
audit report into administration of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency.
Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission examined 15 of the major fires that burned
on 7 February 2009; the Country Fire Authority (CFA) describes attending 316
separate fires on the day. See B Teague, R McLeod, S Pascoe, 2009
Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Final Report, Volume I: The Fires and the
Fire-Related Deaths, Government Printer for the State of Victoria,
Melbourne, 2010, p. 3; B Teague, R McLeod, S Pascoe, 2009
Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Final Report: Summary, Government
Printer for the State of Victoria, Melbourne, 2010, p. 1. A fire regime is ‘the
history of fire in a particular vegetation type or area including the
frequency, intensity, and season of burning’ as defined by Rural and Land
Management Group, Bushfire
Glossary, Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Council, East
Melbourne, 2012, p. 12.
. F Noble, ‘Government
set to revise total number of hectares destroyed during bushfire season to 17
14 January 2020. For a visualisation of the diversity of fire regimes across
Australia, see Figure 1 in B Murphy, R Bradstock, M Boer, J Carter, G
Cary, M Cochrane, R Fensham, J Russell‐Smith, G Williamson, and D Bowman,
regimes of Australia: a pyrogeographic model system’, Journal of Biogeography, 40(6),
2013, pp. 1048–1058.
Russell-Smith, ‘Fire management
business in Australia’s tropical savannas: lighting the way for a new ecosystem
services model for the north?,’ Ecological Management and Restoration,
17(1), 2016, p. 4; A Andersen, G Cook, and R Williams, eds, Fire in tropical
savannas: the Kapalga Experiment, Ecological Studies, 169, Springer, New
York, 2003, p. vii.
. Noble, ‘Government
set to revise total number of hectares destroyed during bushfire season’, op. cit.
. L Collins, ‘Eucalypt
forests dominated by epicormic resprouters are resilient to repeated canopy
of Ecology, 108(1), 2020, pp. 310–324.
. T Griffiths,
Forests of ash: an environmental history, Cambridge University Press,
. For an
example of this language see L Bladen, ‘Australia's
2020–21 bushfire season: what to expect this summer’, The Canberra Times,
(online edition), 25 September 2020; S Stephens, N Burrows, A Buyantuyev, R
Gray, R Keane, R Kubian, S Liu, F Seijo, L Shu, K Tolhurst, and J van
and boreal forest mega‐fires: characteristics and challenges’, Frontiers in
Ecology and the Environment, 12(2), 2014, pp. 115–122.
. P Clarke, K
Knox, R Bradstock, C Munoz‐Robles, and L Kumar, ‘Vegetation,
terrain and fire history shape the impact of extreme weather on fire severity
and ecosystem response’,
Journal of Vegetation Science, 25(4), 2014, pp. 1033–1044. For a graphic
illustration, see Figure 1b in K Parkins, A York, and J Di Stefano, ‘Edge effects
in fire‐prone landscapes: ecological importance and implications for
and Evolution, 8(11), 2018, pp. 5937– 5948.
. J Keeley, ‘Fire intensity, fire severity
and burn severity: a brief review and suggested usage’, International Journal of Wildland Fire,
18(1), 2009, pp. 116–118.
. M Binskin, A
Bennett, A Macintosh, Royal
Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements: report, (RCNNDA
report), The Commission, Canberra, 2020, p. 115.
. D Bowman, G
Williamson, M Yebra, J Lizundia-Loiola, M Lucrecia Pettinari, S Shah, R
Bradstock and E Chuvieco, ‘Wildfires:
Australia needs a national monitoring agency’, Nature, 584(7820), 2020, p. 190.
. Department of
Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), ‘National
Indicative Aggregated Fire Extent Datasets’, DAWE website, 22 June 2020.
. Bowman et al,
‘Wildfires’, op. cit., p. 189; Bowman et al, ‘Wildfires:
Australia needs a national monitoring agency’, Supplementary information, n.d.
. Bowman et al,
‘Wildfires’, op. cit., p. 191; for a deeper discussion on the use of the term
‘unprecedented’ in relation to the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and Australian
bushfire history, see C Hansen, ‘Deep time and disaster:
Black Saturday and the forgotten past’, Environmental Humanities, 10(1), 2018, pp. 226–240.
. M Boer, V Resco
de Dios and R Bradstock, ‘Unprecedented burn
area of Australian mega forest fires’, Nature Climate Change, 10, 2020, pp. 171–172.
. DAWE, ‘Forest
fire data’, DAWE website, 28 April 2020.
. L Collins, R
Bradstock, H Clarke, M Clarke, R Nolan and T Penman, ‘The 2019/20
mega-fires exposed Australian ecosystems to an unprecedented extent of
Environmental Research Letters, 16(4), 2021, pp. 1–14.
. K Nguyen, P
McDonald and M Taouk, ‘Anatomy
of a “mega-blaze”’,
ABC News, 27 July 2020.
. A Filkov, T
Ngo, S Matthews, S Telfer, and T Penman, ‘Impact
of Australia's catastrophic 2019/20 bushfire season on communities and
environment. Retrospective analysis and current trends’, Journal of Safety Science and Resilience,
1(1), 2020, p. 53.
. For instance,
see L van Eeden, D Nimmo, M Mahony, K Herman, G Ehmke, J Driessen, J O’Connor,
G Bino, M Taylor, C Dickman, Impacts
of the unprecedented 2019–20 bushfires on Australian animals, report
prepared for WWF-Australia, Sydney, 2020.
ACT/NSW Rapid Risk Assessment Team, Orroral
Valley Fire Rapid Risk Assessment: Namadgi National Park, ACT
Government, Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate,
Canberra, 2020, p. 21.
. D Bowman, B
Murphy, D Neyland, G Williamson, and L Prior, ‘Abrupt fire regime change may cause landscape-wide
loss of mature obligate seeder forests’, Global Change Biology, 20(3), 2014, pp. 1008–15.
Research Information Forum, Impact
of the pandemic on Australia’s research workforce, report from the
Australian Government Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, 8 May 2020, p. 3.
. Wildlife and
Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel, ‘Final
DAWE, September 2020. The Panel held their 20th and final meeting on 25
. R Gallagher, Final
national prioritisation of Australian plants affected by the 2019–2020 bushfire
season, research for the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire
Recovery Expert Panel, (report to DAWE), n.p., 2020, p. 3.
. Wildlife and
Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel, Final
list of plants requiring urgent management intervention, DAWE,
Canberra, 12 October 2020, p. .
. See report
published by the NSW Bushfire Hub to support the NSW Bushfire Inquiry in D
Keith and M Ooi, Theme
3B.4: Biodiversity and Environmental Impacts, n.p., n.d.
. K Fryirs, K
Cowley, N Hejl, A Chariton, N Christiansen, R Dudaniec, W Farebrother, L
Hardwick, T Ralph, A Stow, and G Hose, Extent and effect of the 2019–20
Australian bushfires on upland peat swamps in the Blue Mountains, NSW’, International
Journal of Wildland Fire, 30(4), 2021, pp. 294–300.
. Ibid., p.
. Wildlife and
Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel, Provisional
list of animals requiring urgent management intervention, DAWE,
Canberra, 20 March 2020.
. Ibid., p. 2.
. The Panel
notes that preparation of this list of animals relied upon remotely sensed data
which was limited by poor information on fire severity (see ‘How much land was
burned’, above), see ibid. p. 3.
. M Saunders, P
Barton, J Bickerstaff, L Frost, T Latty, B Lessard, E Lowe, J Rodriguez, T
White, and K Umbers, ‘Limited
understanding of bushfire impacts on Australian invertebrates’, Insect
Conservation and Diversity, 14(3), 2021, pp. 285–293.
. The Panel
used the criteria of those species where at least 30% of their range was
fire-affected if they were already listed as threatened, or 50% if not
presently listed as threatened. Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire
Recovery Expert Panel, ‘Provisional
list of priority invertebrate species requiring urgent management intervention
or on-ground assessment’, DAWE, Canberra, 23 April 2020.
. I Hyman, S
Ahyong, F Köhler, S McEvey, G Milledge, C Reid, and J Rowley, ‘Impacts
of the 2019–2020 bushfires on New South Wales biodiversity: a rapid assessment
of distribution data for selected invertebrate taxa’, Technical Reports
of the Australian Museum, 32, 2020, pp. 1–17.
. R Bradstock,
biogeographic model of fire regimes in Australia: current and future
implications’, Global Ecology and Biogeography, 19(2), 2010, pp. 145–158.
. D Owens and M
report of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry, [NSW Government], [Sydney], 2020,
. Ibid., p.
. B Teague, R
McLeod, S Pascoe, 2009
Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Final Report, Volume II: Fire
Preparation, Response and Recovery, Government Printer for the State of
Victoria, Melbourne, 2010, pp. 188–197.
. Owens and
O’Kane, Final report of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry, op. cit., p. 28; see
also: C Bryant, ‘Deliberately
lit vegetation fires in Australia’, Trends and Issues in Crime and
Criminal Justice, 350, 2008.
. Owens and
O’Kane, Final report of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry, op. cit., p. 24.
were performed by adding all listed burn area together, then dividing by
category. Total sampled area was 4,041,672 hectares. Total area burned by fires
caused by lightning was 3,719,941 hectares.
James Gardiner jailed in Armidale court for deliberately lighting Guyra Road
fire near Ebor in November, 2019’, The Canberra Times, (online
edition), 13 October 2020; B Chillingworth, ’Ebor
fire: Gavin James Gardiner to return to court in February, charged with
intentionally lighting Guyra Road fire at Ebor’, The Armidale Express,
(online edition), 9 February 2020.
Institute for Disaster Resilience, ‘Australian
Capital Territory, January–February 2020: Bushfires: Black Summer’, Australian
Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub, n.d.
. House of
Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy, Inquiry into the Efficacy
of Past and Current Vegetation and Land Management Policy, Practice and Legislation
and Their Effect on the Intensity and Frequency of Bushfires and Subsequent Risk
to Property, Life and the Environment, Inquiry homepage.
. RCNNDA website.
. RCNNDA, Royal
Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, media release,
20 February 2020.
. RCNNDA, ‘Background
paper’, RCNNDA website; RCNNDA, ‘Issues
papers’, RCNNDA website.
. Binskin et al,
RCNNDA report, op. cit.
. Department of
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. Griffiths, ‘Season
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