Climate change driving Queensland crisis, says former fire chief
Mr Johnson, a member of the Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre, was among other former fire bosses calling on governments to take action to address climate change.
He warned conditions would remain extreme through the summer without significant rain.
There is no rain forecast until early next year.
“In Queensland alone, without speaking for the rest of the country, we need hundreds of millimetres of rain to bring the risk back to something like normal,” Mr Johnson added.
“So our conditions are very much abnormal and driven very much by what’s happening in our atmosphere, and that’s influenced by greenhouse gases.”
Exhausted fire crews have battled against dozens of fires across Queensland for the past week.
Some of those blazes have been burning for weeks.
Fifteen houses have been lost in the past seven days, while 11 others were flattened in September during an early start to the bushfire season.
Scientists have warned of the extreme bushfire risk attached to climate change for 20 years, Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie said.
The organisation released a report on Wednesday that found Australia’s bushfire season had stretched so far across the calendar year that windows for hazard reduction burns had now narrowed.
It is calling for the federal government to develop a plan to better prepare communities, and health and emergency services across the country in the face of a rising fire danger, and phase out emissions that are fuelling climate change.