News from Wildfire Conference 2011, Sun City May 2011

We must look after what we have

“We do not have forests to burn, we do not have extra land or water or fishing stocks to waste, we must nurture what we have and create more where these have been destroyed,” Duncan Hindle, special advisor to South Africa’s minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, has told the 5th International Wildfire 2011 Conference currently underway at Sun City near Johannesburg in South Africa.

Hindle was speaking on Wednesday on behalf of the country’s Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries minister, Tina  Joemat-Pettersson who had been scheduled to address the 700 delegates from 73 countries.

Over the week discussion has focused on the impact of climate change as it is emerging as the most pressing issue for wildland fire fighters across the globe.

Hindle said the South African city of Durban would host COP 17, the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change, later this year.

“Climate change is already affecting us in a myriad of ways,” he said, “and it’s going to get worse before it gets better with wildfire one of the consequences.”

Surface air temperature had warmed significantly since the 1950s which was having a direct impact on wildfire. “Climate change is the greatest threat to the sustainable development of our country and will undermine our ability to achieve the Millennium Goals,” he said.