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ABC News: Scientists say WA government’s prescribed burns targets have no scientific basis

Scientists, Indigenous leaders, and medical experts, including neurologist and DEA member, Dr Carolyn Orr, have called for change to the WA government’s fire management practices, raising concerns about the harms to health of the surrounding communities and to the environment.

Every year the state government’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions burns 200,000-hectares of native forest between Perth and Albany.

Dr Orr said at a fire and air forum in WA earlier this month: “Wood smoke is toxic to the heart, the lungs, the brain and blood vessels, and humans exposed to wood smoke have an increased risk of death, heart attacks, stroke, pneumonia, asthma attacks and birth complications.

“We know that if humans are exposed to a bushfire, there’s a dramatic increase in hospital admissions up to hundreds of kilometres away, that lasts for days at a time.”

Noongar custodian Daniel Garlett said traditional burning practices have long been misunderstood, and that all groups needed to work together to bring about change.   

Read the full story which was published on the ABC online on 11 May 2023

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