Thinning forests doesn't reduce bushfire risk and could make some blazes worse, study finds

 A fire at Churchill, Victoria on Black Saturday 2009. The sky is a dark orange colour, with a thick plume of smoke rising in the distance from where the fire is burning.
8 October 2020

Removing trees to thin out forests is unlikely to cut the risk of severe bushfires despite the claims of forest industry groups, according to the authors of a new study.

Analysis of forests that burned in Victoria’s Black Saturday fires in 2009 found in most cases areas that had been thinned did not see less severe burning and, depending on the type of trees, such intervention sometimes made fires more intense.

Several forestry groups earlier this year told the royal commission into Australia’s unprecedented summer of bushfires that wide-scale thinning of forests in the future should be carried out to cut the risk of bushfires.

But the authors of the study, from the Australian National University, say their findings suggest there is little evidence to support such moves, and “in some cases, it may exacerbate fire risks”.

Read the full article on The Guardian website, featuring Dr Chris Taylor