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Out-of-season bushfires ‘fuelled by climate change’

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Out-of-season bushfires tearing through NSW and Queensland reveal the “inescapable truth” of the impact of climate change, IAG says.

Hundreds of fires have been reported and the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) declared a catastrophe with losses already at $13.5 million.

Conditions eased today, however dozens of fires are still burning across the two states.

IAG Executive Manager Natural Perils Mark Leplastrier says natural disasters in Australia are increasing in frequency and severity, and warns the bushfire threat is worsening as the climate changes.

“With rising temperatures, it’s likely that bushfire seasons will be prolonged and more severe as we head towards summer in ongoing drought conditions,” he said.

“Bushfires increasingly are occurring outside of the traditional bushfire season which normally starts at the end of September.

“We saw this in August 2018 with bushfires in Tathra and with the current bushfires in Queensland and northern NSW.

“The increasing number of unseasonal or record extreme weather [events] is telling us an inescapable truth, that climate change is happening and that it will continue to impact our communities financially and socially.”

ICA says about 100 claims have so far been received but more are expected.

IAG says it has received 39 claims for motor and property damage but says it is “still early in the recovery process”.

“We will assess property damage once we have permission from the authorities to enter affected areas,” a spokesman said.