Australia’s volunteer brigades eye return of devastating fires

Sydney (AFP) – Years after unprecedented fires ripped through large swathes of Australia’s east, volunteer brigades on the frontlines are bracing for a return to catastrophic conditions. In Picton, South of Sydney, New South Wales Rural Fire Service senior deputy captain Andy Hain says he worries that two years of wetter-than-average conditions will mean plenty of fuel for wildfires, and whether people are prepared for the return of bushfires. In Wisemans Ferry, a river town north of Sydney, volunteers who battled the horrific blazes of the “Black Summer” in 2019-2020 before facing down several damaging floods are readying for a return of fire to the dense bushland around their homes. Former Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins says half a century of battling fires made it clear that climate change drives worsening disasters. Mullins, a founder of Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, says volunteers are increasingly being challenged by intensifying fires and floods around the world.


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