(Bloomberg) -- Australia, which has warned El Niño conditions will raise wildfire risks in the coming months, is now better equipped to respond to blazes, according to its agriculture minister.
Authorities have addressed issues with planning and resources identified in an inquiry into the 2019-2020 Black Summer fires, which burned through 24 million hectares (59 million acres) and killed 33 people, Murray Watt told Australian Broadcasting Corp. television Sunday.
“There will always be risk in a country like Australia, but we’re certainly doing everything we possibly can to be prepared,” Watt said.
Funding for aerial fire-fighting has been doubled since the Black Summer blazes, with about 500 aircraft now available nationwide, he said.
More than 200 key fire officials are meeting in Canberra from Monday to review preparations and conduct scenario tests aimed at identifying potential challenges.
“We’d rather find any gaps that might exist in the system before we get to this summer,” Watt said.
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