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A couple outside their home in New South Wales in January: A state inquiry found that climate change was "clearly" a factor in last season's devastating fires.   © Reuters
Asia Insight

As fire season looms, Australia fears recurring nightmare

Climate change spurs race for new strategy: 'We have to be better'

GEOFF HISCOCK, Contributing writer | Australia

SYDNEY -- Orange skies, falling ash, smoke creeping into lungs, mobile phones pinging "fires near me" warnings, people seeking shelter on beaches as infernos rage inland -- these memories are rushing back as Australians brace for a possible repeat of the disastrous 2019-2020 "Black Summer" of bushfires.

The Australian summer is still three months away, but in the hard-hit state of New South Wales, Rural Fire Services chief Rob Rogers has already warned residents to update their survival plans. Professor David Bowman, a bushfire expert, says he cannot dismiss the possibility of another bad season despite the heavy rains and floods that broke a long drought across much of the nation earlier this year.

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