Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale

Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale has angrily insisted his party supports hazard-reduction burns as a way of preventing bushfires
Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale has angrily insisted his party supports hazard-reduction burns as his critics accuse him of causing bushfires.

The campaign against the Greens has intensified on Facebook after blazes destroyed more than 6 million hectares of bushland in Australia.

Conservative commentators, including News Corp columnist Miranda Devine, have consistently accused the left-wing minority party of being responsible for raging infernos.

More extreme critics have accused the Greens of being responsible for lives being lost, with 25 people now killed as a result of recent bushfires.

Senator Di Natale, a Victorian, has hit back at claims his party opposes hazard-reduction burning operations to reduce fuel loads ahead of the summer bushfire season.

'Repeating a lie often enough doesn't make it true,' he told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Monday.

'The Greens, at state level, and federal level and local government level, have always supported hazard reduction burning.

'People who make these claims can never point to a specific instance where a Greens state member has said "we don't support hazard reduction, or we're going to make it more difficult for you".'

While the Australian Greens regard hazard reduction as 'appropriate in some circumstances' the New South Wales branch of the party is lukewarm about this strategy.

'Prescribed burning is only one method of fuel management and should be considered in the context of other available options and the management objectives of the land in question,' the NSW Greens said on their website.

Ian Cohen, a former NSW Greens MP, was critical of hazard-reduction burning and used a parliamentary hearing in 2008 to ask Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons how many bushfires had been caused by the practice.

'Could you inform the committee how many bushfires occurred last year?,' he asked.

'How many resulted from hazard reduction burning over that period of time?'

Mr Fitzsimmons's father George Fitzsimmons was killed in 2000 conducting an RFS hazard-reduction burn at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park on Sydney's northern outskirts.

The Australian Young Greens this week declared their support for hazard-reduction burns, posting on Facebook an image of a young woman carrying out burning wearing fireproof overalls.

'It would be a real shame if people shared this picture of Greens member Elly doing the hazard reduction burning for this season, the right wing wouldn't cope!,' the caption said.

The post was later deleted after it had attracted more than 600 comments and nearly 2,000 shares.

Not all the comments were positive.

Senator Di Natale's Facebook page has also attracted comments suggesting he opposed hazard-reduction burning.

'I hope you're not sleeping at night Senator Richard Di Natale,' one man said.

'I hope you lie awake thinking of the death and devastation you and your Greens Party has caused by stopping back burning and land clearing.

'I'm sure you'll come up with some excuse as to why you were right and everyone else was wrong.'