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More fire ahead for Tas wilderness: report

AAP logoAAP 20/12/2016 Andrew Drummond

Tasmania's globally recognised and protected wilderness faces a growing threat of bushfire.

That's the worrying revelation of a new report looking at the impact of climate change on the 1.6 million-hectare Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

"This report concludes that the risks of bushfire to the TWWHA will increase in coming years under the influence of climate change," author Tony Press wrote in the document published on Tuesday for the state government.

With less than a month until the mid-January anniversary of devastating fires which ravaged about 19,800 hectares of unique and aged temperate rainforest, Dr Press and a team of experts have made a number of recommendations.

"It is likely that climatic conditions like those in 2016 will re-occur, and other aspects of fire risk will also increase," he said.

"It is therefore important to take the lessons learned from the 2016 bushfires, and the climate projections referred to in this report, to prepare for a future where fire management in the TWWHA is expected to be more challenging.

"The increase in bushfire risk has already started, and changes to management are needed now and well into the future."

Across January and February Tasmania recorded thousands of lightning strikes which started multiple fires in dry conditions, with 145 known blazes affecting almost 127,000 hectares.

It took more than 6,500 local, interstate and overseas professional and volunteer firefighters and up to 40 aircraft, as part of a coordinated effort costing an estimated $52 million.

It also sparked a senate inquiry.

"Increased spring and summer dryness, lower rainfall, higher temperatures and increased occurrence of lightning fires, combined, pose a major challenge to fire management in the TWWHA and the long-term protection of its natural and cultural values," the report said.

Eighteen recommendations include improvements or a review of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery methods.

The state government said changes have already been made ahead of the 2016-17 bushfire season.

"It's important to understand that fires within the TWWHA have happened before and the January event was not an isolated occurrence," a ministerial statement read.

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