Bushfires burn earlier across Australia

Christine McGinn
Bushfires across Australia have arrived earlier due to climate change a former fire chief says

Australia's bushfires are burning earlier than usual, forcing a lag in the rotation of equipment shared between the states to put out the flames, a former fire boss says.

Four people have died and hundreds of properties have been destroyed around the nation in recent weeks, as catastrophic conditions fan flames.

Bushfires have historically first kicked-off for the season in Queensland, allowing firefighters to put out the flames before shuffling resources down the east coast.

But Australia's earlier-than-expected fire season in 2019 has limited the equipment rotation, Victoria's former Country Fire Authority Neil Bibby told AAP on Thursday.

"Over the years, the number of fires we have had pre-Christmas is increasing," Mr Bibby said.

"The timing of the fires that authorities use equipment (for) is being affected.

"Normally we would have fires in Queensland, then those resources would be moved down to NSW and Victoria."

Mr Bibby, who was in charge during Victoria's devastating Black Saturday, said Victoria's fire season normally starts near the Australian Open in January - not November.

"We have had a horrible fire season starting very early. To have fires in Queensland, NSW, South Australia and ... Victoria, it is just unprecedented," he said.

"It is a symptom of climate change - the fires and cyclones are more intense ... the Australian government has to at least look at what can be done in the near- to-long-term to mitigate the build-up of CO2."

While the community is more educated about fires, they are not prepared to fight them this early in the season, Mr Bibby added.

He praised Victoria for its climate change framework, which he said is lacking in other states.

Victoria's highest fire alert level - code red - has been issued in two parts of the state on Thursday.

It comes after the NSW government issued a "catastrophic" fire danger earlier this month for the first time since new fire ratings were introduced a decade ago.

Four people died and 600 homes have been lost in NSW as fires continue to rage, and blazes burn across Queensland and South Australia where fire crews are also battling catastrophic conditions.

More than 20 ex-fire chiefs from across Australia last week urged the federal government to declare a climate emergency amid catastrophic bushfires raging across NSW and Queensland.