More aerial rapid-response firefighters for NSW National Parks
During the Black Summer fires NPWS remote area firefighters contained more than 20 fires in the Blue Mountains to an average of less than 1.2 hectares, he said.
“The scientific evidence and experience of the last bushfire season is clear – extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and the level of bushfire risk will continue to increase,” Mr Kean said.
“Targeted hazard reduction will continue to play an important role in reducing that risk.”
Overall the funding boost would see an extra 125 NPWS firefighters. The service contributed more than 43,000 staff days to last season’s firefighting efforts.
In a submission made to the NSW government’s inquiry into the bushfires, the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, a group led by former NSW fire chiefs Greg Mullins and Phil Koperberg, called for the government to consider paying seasonal firefighters to bolster the ranks of Fire & Rescue NSW and NPWS, and fund more research into cultural and prescribed burning.
According to Mr Kean over the last seven years, 79 per cent of all hazard reduction burning in NSW has occurred in national parks, led by NPWS working in collaboration with the RFS and other agencies.
In May Mr Mullins told a Senate inquiry into the fires that bushfire chiefs had been effectively gagged from raising the impact of climate change on Australia’s bushfires by some politicians.
“Some things were out of bounds and often climate change was one of those issues, even to the point of having to work around it when preparing documents, and I think that is a tragedy,” he said.