[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Views 2,457
Citations 0
Viewpoint
February 28, 2020

Lessons Learned from the Australian Bushfires: Climate Change, Air Pollution, and Public Health

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Research School of Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • 2South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • 3Woolcock Institute for Medical Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  • 4School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(5):635-636. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.0703

There is increasing scientific consensus that climate change is the underlying cause of the prolonged dry and hot conditions that have increased the risk of extreme fire weather in Australia.1-3 With persistent droughts and record-breaking temperatures (2019 was Australia’s warmest and driest year on record, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/annual/aus/), it is unlikely that the extreme bushfires and smoke haze in Australia during the “Black Summer” (at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020) will be a one-off event. In recent years, other parts of the world, including California, Southern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Amazon, have also been affected by catastrophic wildfires. We should be better prepared for more frequent and intense bushfire and wildfire events.3,4

Limit 200 characters
Limit 25 characters
Conflicts of Interest Disclosure

Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.

Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.

Err on the side of full disclosure.

If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.

Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.

Limit 140 characters
Limit 3600 characters or approximately 600 words
    1 Comment for this article
    Greater Mortality Rate for Australia than SARS-CoV-2 pandemic ?
    Alan Griffiths |
    FYI - "Unprecedented smoke-related health burden associated with the 2019–20 bushfires in eastern Australia" Nicolas Borchers Arriagada, Andrew J Palmer, David MJS Bowman, Geoffrey G Morgan, Bin B Jalaludin, Fay H Johnston (published in MJA March 2020- doi: 10.5694/mja2.50545)

    This study estimated that bushfire smoke was responsible for 417 excess deaths, 1124 hospitalisations for cardiovascular problems and 2027 for respiratory problems, and 1305 presentations to emergency departments with asthma.


    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    ×