Tuesday 23 January 2024

Forestry Australia Says Scientific Consensus Backs Prescribed Burning

Forestry Australia has poured water on the latest bushfire research that prescribed burning could make Australian forests more flammable.

“Scientific consensus amongst bushfire scientists confirms that prescribed burning is a key tool in managing bushfires,” Forestry Australia Science Policy Adviser, Dr Tony Bartlett, AFSM said.

“While there is no panacea for reducing the impacts of catastrophic bushfires, prescribed burning is a scientifically proven part of the solution. Simply, reduced fuel levels in forests will reduce the severity of bushfires on all bar the most catastrophic fire weather conditions.

“Any criticism that prescribed burning can make Australian forests more flammable is misguided. Criticising prescribed burning is like dismissing the value of seat belts in cars because people still die in car accidents. Both seat belts and prescribed burns are highly beneficial most of the time.

“Forestry Australia’s view is that using cool burning to reduce fuel hazards is critical to good forest fire management and very consistent with the way Aboriginal people managed these forests for thousands of years.

“Reducing the risks from bushfires in forest areas should include well-planned, risk-based strategic programs of prescribed burning, silvicultural management, fuel breaks and track maintenance, with appropriate public consultation.

“Importantly, Australia’s bushfire management is based on decades of on ground research and lived experience. While new ideas on how to improve bushfire management are always welcome, it is essential that untested theoretical concepts are carefully considered in light of the existing knowledge on how wildfires behave in Australian forests.”

“Increased investment in prevention and preparedness is essential to achieving enhanced management of fire and to address the increased risk of more frequent and severe bushfires”.  Dr Bartlett indicated that “the claim that further investment in drone technologies can contain bushfires has not been proven”.


Forestry Australia is an independent professional association of more than 1,200 forest scientists, managers and growers who work in native forests, plantations and provision of environmental services. Its members are committed to the principles of sustainable forest management and applying these principles to generate environmental, social and economic outcomes in all types of forests and land tenures.

Media contact:
Danielle McKay
0438 390 273