Ian Brown, Environmental consultant and former national park manager (6 December 2019)
Note: an earlier version of this article first appeared in the Colong Bulletin no. 277, December 2019
As I write (on 6 December), fires in the north and south of the Blue Mountains are merging into mega-fires, driven by severe dryness, strong winds and parched air. Forty per cent of the million-hectare Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area has burnt so far. Millions of people are smothering in smoke. North-eastern NSW has already seen devastation. The NSW toll stands at six lives, more than 500 houses and over two million hectares. Already. Numerous wilderness areas and conservation reserves have been impacted, with many national parks burnt completely. Key koala populations have been decimated and ancient rainforests burnt (at least their edges and at ground level). There is no doubt this is the biggest fire season in the recorded (white) history of the state. And it will get worse before it rains.