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‘Get rid of the bush, or live with it’: Experts say controlled burning isn’t sustainable


Experts have contradicted the Prime Minister, saying controlled burns are already at record levels and not a sustainable method of avoiding more destructive fires.

Scott Morrison has said fuel loads are the biggest issue raised with him in fire-affected communities, and he wants to explore more hazard-reduction with the states.

But a leading expert said that’s short-term thinking.

“We’re now at a record rate of prescribed burning … certainly for the last several decades,” Philip Zylstra, a professor at Wollongong University’s Centre for Sustainable Ecosystem Solutions, told Kate and Quarters on 3AW Breakfast.

And he said banking on more increases was unsustainable because climate change meant it was harder to find safe times to burns, comments which echoed those of Premier Daniel Andrews on 3AW yesterday.

“If you try to push in more burns within a narrower window, you get escaped burns … and your burns are now creating bushfires,” Mr Zylstra said.

“These are forces bigger than us.

“We either get rid of the bush, or else we learn how to live with it.

“That may include putting houses in more sensible locations or wearing the risk that, sooner or later, the house will probably burn down.”

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(Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

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