CENTRAL Victoria is facing a fire future unlike anything Australians have known for the past 200 years according to experts, as climate change drives fire weather.
Experts say Victoria sits on the front line of increasing bushfire risk, as climate change lengthens fire seasons and causes more extreme weather.
Scientists say southern Australia is primed for a devastating and dangerous bushfire season in 2019-20.
A City of Greater Bendigo leader says the political dialogue surrounding climate change "disappointing".
Climate Council Head of Research Martin Rice said Victoria was most affected by bushfires among the Australian states, both in terms of civilian deaths and economic costs.
Dr Rice said Victoria faced a long, hot, dry and dangerous bushfire seasons into the future. He said the annual $180 million cost of bushfires to Victoria was set to double by 2050.
"[Victoria] is on the front line of increasing bushfire risk," Dr Rice said.
"The most direct risk between bushfires and climate change is the long term trend towards a hotter climate. So in Victoria we're seeing the number of hot days and very hot days ... that's increased strongly.
"Heat waves in Victoria are also lasting longer and they're more intense and more frequent."
Dr Rice said southern Australia was primed for a devastating and dangerous bushfire season, which could be similar to the situation in NSW.
Authorities declared a state of emergency in NSW on Tuesday, while firefighters warned of catastrophic fire conditions across parts of the state, as scores of fires burned uncontrolled.
Dr Rice said hot, dry conditions primed the landscape for bush fires.
"Sadly climate change is unfolding and it's happening now in central Victoria and elsewhere," Dr Rice said.
"We're seeing with the long term warming trend that's loading the dice towards more extreme hot days and intense heat waves.
"Victoria's likely to experience and increased number of days with extreme fire danger. Communities, emergency services and health services across Victoria must keep preparing."
Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance executive officer Rob Law said climate change sat underneath a range of variables driving increased fire risk.
"[Climate change] becomes a new sort of driver for fire weather for our region. We're facing a really flammable future, unlike anything we've known for the past 200 years," Mr Law said.
"For many years now the science has been telling us that central Victoria is facing longer more severe fire seasons, more extreme heat waves and drier conditions."
Mr Law said central Victoria faced uncharted territory, as disasters and events began to happen simultaneously, making it difficult to respond.
He said reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the climate future were key parts of addressing climate change.
"It's clear that we're in a state of some form of climate crisis or emergency," Mr Law said.
"We really need to see significant resources and rethinking of how we make decisions right across the board in everything we do, in the context of climate change."
City of Greater Bendigo councillor Jennifer Alden said political dialogue surrounding fire and climate change was "disappointing".
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have avoided questions about a possible link between climate change and NSW's fires.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack described the behaviour of those linking fires to climate change as "disgraceful" and "disgusting".
Read more: Climate talks for another day: NSW Premier
Cr Alden has called for the city to recognise and act on environmental and climate break down, putting a notice of motion to councillors in August.
Cr Alden spoke at a parliamentary inquiry into climate change, with City of Greater Bendigo director of public strategy and growth Bernie O'Sullivan.
Cr Alden's notice of motion said climate change would affect health and wellbeing, emergency management, community services, and have financial and social implications.
"It's such an important issue for our community, it's beyond politics. The community is obviously expecting leadership in this area," Cr Alden said.
"It's important for all levels of government to step up and take the issues at hand seriously, and also anticipating our future obligations seriously."
- with AAP
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