The 2019-20 wildfires of eastern and southern Australia were beyond normal. Catalysed by extensive drought and unusually high temperatures, these fires were exceptionally extensive, long-lasting and severe. More than 12 million hectares were burnt over the period August 2019 to March 2020, across forests, heathlands and farmlands from south-eastern Queensland to eastern Victoria, on Kangaroo Island and in south-western Australia.
As a consequence of these wildfires many threatened species are now far more imperilled, and many species we formerly considered secure can no longer be presumed safe. The 2019–20 wildfires caused a loss of extraordinary magnitude to Australian biodiversity.
Recognising the urgent need to assess the impact of these fires on biodiversity, and that more evidence was needed to help design and prioritise recovery actions, the Minister for the Environment directed $2 million to the hub to undertake a set of priority fire-related research projects.
This work includes: