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Study reveals 'increasing' Mildura fire risk

Friday November 9, 2012 - 13:08 EDT

Comprehensive new data suggests Sunraysia has had a bigger increase in extreme fire weather over the past 40 years than anywhere in Australia.

Researchers behind an article published in the International Journal of Climatology gathered daily weather information from 38 stations around the country between 1973 and 2010.

The University of Melbourne's professor David Karoly says the research puts Mildura at the top of the list for increased risk, meaning the fire season extends into spring and autumn.

"It gets more extreme in Mildura, and I mean most people in Mildura know that yes it's been getting hotter, it's also been getting drier," he said.

"The weather conditions are conducive to more grassfires and to more mallee scrub fires if lightning was to occur or things like that.

"Large fires are a natural occurrence in the Australian environment but what this increasing trend means is that in fact there's an increase in risk.

"While the study doesn't identify what has caused that increasing risk, a number of other studies has indicated that this is exactly what we would expect from human-caused climate change."


© ABC 2012

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