Fire and climate change

Climate change is beginning to shift fire activity, globally, leading to longer fire seasons and the encroachment of fire into ecosystems where it was, until recently, relatively rare. While elevated temperatures and drying trends, as a function of climate change, may elevate fire activity in our local ecosystems there are many challenges remaining to understand how fire will change in the future and how we may best deal with ensuing changes to risk. For example, dryness and elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2 may have complex effects on plant growth and resultant fuel characteristics that either augment or counteract changes in future fire driven by higher temperatures. Resourcing and opportunities for intervention addressed at risk mitigation (e.g. prescribed fire), could be directly affected by changes in weather and fuels.

CERMB is focussed on research that addresses these challenges and the way that they intersect with research on risk assessment and mitigation, via innovative modelling, experimental work and analytical exploration of the fundamental determinants of fire.

CERMB research on fire ecology and ecosystem risks also supports, augments and integrates with work undertaken by NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub.

Current projects include: Investigating historical and future bushfire fuel moisture patterns, exploring climate change impacts on prescribed burning weather conditions, plant flammability under elevated CO2.


  • Dr Hamish Clarke


  • Harriet Southward-Simpson
  • MPhil candidate: Effects of climate change on resilience of fire-prone plant communities

Funding: Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC