The NSW Rural Fire Service has shared a startling comparison of bushfire activity in the state compared to the same time last year.
“What a difference a year makes,” the NSW RFS wrote on Twitter.
“This day last year there was nearly 80 fires in NSW, including some at Emergency Warning level.”
The two images shared by the RFS show the active fires across the state on October 29 last year and the same date this year.
The 2019 image shows the nearly 80 indicators across the map, with varying severity ratings, while the image from 2020 shows there are just eight active fires in NSW.
“Recent rain means very different conditions today - but the rain will bring new growth which will dry out across the summer months,” the RFS warned on Twitter.
What a difference a year makes. This day last year there was nearly 80 fires in NSW, including some at Emergency Warning level. Recent rain means very different conditions today - but the rain will bring new growth which will dry out across the summer months. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/WXDUg2VhAg
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) October 29, 2020
It was the broadest and most prolonged bushfire season in modern Australian history, with scientists attributing the severity of the crisis to the impacts of climate change.
The catastrophic bushfires devastated Australia at the end of 2019 and through to the new year. Billions of animals perished as the fires tore through thousands of hectares.
The fires killed more than 30 people, nine firefighters were killed, and thousands of homes were destroyed.
On the NSW RFS Twitter post, people expressed how grateful they are for the service.
“We haven't forgotten your fantastic response & personal sacrifices. Let's hope it's not required this time,” one person said.
Royal commission report to be released
On Wednesday, the Morrison government confirmed the report of the royal commission into national natural disaster arrangements would be released on Friday.
Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud told parliament the royal commission report would provide "full transparency around recovery and preparedness".
"We have to look to the future and ... understand these events even greater," he said.
"We work with the states in terms of preparedness, trying to harmonise those recovery payments ... but also making sure that our warning systems are harmonised."
The royal commission has examined Australia's preparedness, response and recovery from disasters, and looked at ways to improve resilience and adapt to climate change.
How best to declare a national emergency during catastrophic bushfires and other natural disasters is expected to be among a raft of recommendations in its final report.
The commission will also outline how to make the role of the Australian Defence Force during bushfires clearer.
The report is expected to contain recommendations around wildlife management, mental health, recovery funding arrangements, land management and the use of emergency warnings.
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