September 19, 2023
With NSW fire crews on high alert and more than 20 public schools closed today, communities on NSW’s south coast are again facing the unnerving reminder of the devastation they’ve experienced.
Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action (BSCA) President Jo Dodds said she and other regional Australians were extremely fearful of what this summer could bring.
“We’ve been through the heat, the smoke and the flames of the Black Summer fires, and this extreme heat and fire danger in September is just the beginning of a really scary season,” Ms Dodds said.
“We’re seeing our kids’ education disrupted before the fires even start with schools closed and families stranded. In the meantime, we’re still waiting for the Federal Government to pause new coal and gas project approvals while it reforms its environmental laws. We know that the scale and intensity of the bushfire risk to our communities will only increase if we don’t drastically reduce our emissions this decade.
“It is devastating for bushfire survivors that governments are still not taking emissions reductions seriously enough to reduce our risk.”
Jan Harris lost her home in the 2018 Tathra fires, and said today’s warnings had made her extremely anxious.
“I’ve been on the verge of tears all day and had a sleepless night. It’s distressing to hear that the risk is so high that we’re keeping children home from school – I feel the most anxious I’ve been since the Black Summer fires,” Ms Harris said.
“We spent four years and two months rebuilding our home. This morning at 3am I got out of bed and checked our insurance because the fear of losing our home again is so real and strong. The thought of starting again is terrifying.
“To add to our distress, I can’t understand why the Federal Government has not committed to pausing fossil fuel project approvals when we know that the burning of fossil fuels is driving worsening bushfires.”
Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, together with the Climate Council, is calling on the Federal Government to pause all polluting fossil fuel projects until Australia’s national environment law is reformed to effectively address climate change. The petition can be found here.
For more information or interviews: Emily Watkins | 0420 622 408 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to editors:
Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action (BSCA) is a non-partisan, community organisation made up of bushfire survivors, local councillors, firefighters and their families working together to call on our leaders to take action on climate change. BSCA formed shortly after the Tathra and District fire in March 2018, and its founding members were all impacted by bushfires, including the Black Summer bushfires in 2019-20, Blue Mountains in 2013, Black Saturday in 2009 and Canberra in 2003.