The 2,000 sq km per annum ‘indicative target’ for prescribed burns is based on a 2009 study which concluded that this would reduce the average area burnt by wildfires each year by 5,000 sq km.
As well as this study being thoroughly disproven, the 2009 study was restricted to an area between Denmark and Manjimup, using data up to 2004. Assuming that the findings from this study are applicable to the the Northern Jarrah forests or the Banksia woodlands, is suspect to say the least and not based on evidence of protective value. Applying the same analysis as the 2009 study across the south west region has shown there is no correlation between the area of prescribed burns and wildfires across the region, as the graph below shows.
DBCA's own research shows that fuel reduction burns reduce vegetation diversity at the scales critical to preserve biodiversity and that prescribed burns are increasingly ineffective for managing wildfire risk.
The drying trend in southwest WA means a rethink of how we operate fire protection if we are to learn from the 2019-20 megafires in eastern Australia, with prescribed burns increasing the severity of the fires. Indeed, even doubling the area of prescribed burns in the decade leading up to the megafires did not help.