by Neil Burrows and Rick Sneeuwjagt
Considerable publicity is recently being given to an article by titled “Why prescribed burns don’t stop wildfires” (published in Sydney Morning Herald, in New Matilda, and also WAToday on 22 January 2020), written by a botanist and a molecular biologist from Curtin University in Western Australia. They argue against the use of fuel reduction burning in bushfire management because it does not “stop bushfires”.
The article worries us, because in our opinion it could give rise to dangerous fire management policies, a continuation of the cycle of devastating bushfires in Australia, and to further losses of lives and beautiful forests.
Thus we decided to write a reply to the publication, to clarify some facts and spread important information on prescribed burning based on scientific research and practical experience.