No nation is as ravaged by fires as Australia. It is the every-present force that shapes our land and people. Every summer threatens to explode into an inferno, yet despite repeated disasters, this enemy remains largely unknown to us.
Why is it so deadly, and how can we fight it?
In this series, we’ll meet the scientists trying to crack the mystery of Australian fires. And join the front-line forces using an astounding array of technology to fight back.
The last five years have broken all the records with the number of lives lost, the amount of property destroyed, forests burnt and livestock killed. The frequency and severity of our bushfires have been unprecedented with fires starting earlier and burning more intensely than ever before.
2013 was the hottest year ever recorded in Australia and Heatwave Specialist Sarah Perkins warns that ‘2013 was like a window into the future. This isn’t the typical summer we are going to see in 2030. It’s going to get worse.’
Millions of Australians now live in harms way on the edge of the bush and the number is growing every year. Defending these homes and lives requires massive resources and Australia already has the largest fire fighting force in the world with a volunteer army of over 200,000 people – more than 3 times the personnel of our combined armed forces.
But we’ve reached the limit of how many troops we can throw into battle. The hope now is that science can help us fight smarter. And that begins by understanding our enemy….