The last couple of weeks has witnessed some of the most horrific fires in New South Wales history. Even today, many fires continue to burn uncontrollably, and the lack of rainfall combined with increasing temperatures over the coming months demonstrates that further disasters are imminent.

During the events, the priority of all people should be the safety of individuals, animals and the environment. Now, the priority must be aiming to solve the issue and reduce the impact of bushfires on our communities.

There is a clear link between climate change and the prevalence and severity of fires.

A 2018 Bureau of Meteorology report found that the number of extreme fires has increased in recent decades. It also discovered that climate change contributed to an extended bushfire period.

We do not need to invest in research, the link has already been established. The logical next step is looking to prevent the impact of climate change on the bushfires.

Deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, who represents the regional and rural electorates, used this period of disaster to blame inner-city “lunatics” for linking climate change to Australia’s worsening bushfire season. Mr McCormack has opted to blame others instead of looking for solutions.

Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, sent out prayers and best wishes for the people affected by the crisis. He condemned the political discussion during the disaster and has continued with his threats to crack down on environmental activism. Mr Morrison has opted to remain inactive instead of looking for solutions.

It is time for the Australian government to stand up and acknowledge the link between climate change and the increasing risk of bushfires in Australia. Then we need action. We need plans on how we can increase our emissions, reduce our production of coal and look towards renewable energy to limit the impacts of climate change.

Bushfires have an immediate and long-term impact on communities. Prayers and thoughts can help during the immediate impact, but tangible change is the only option to assist communities in dealing with the long-term impacts of climate change.

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