With indigenous people no longer part of the forest management equation, some scientists argue the fuel load that builds up from Australia's notoriously combustible vegetation is now one aspect that needs to be addressed.
Meanwhile, the emerging academic discipline of pyrogeography is looking at bushfires in Australia -- not just as a one-off catastrophic event -- but as part of an interconnected whole where forest fires around the world feed climate change and make conditions ripe for the propagation of even more fires.
Bowman says that deforestation fires alone -- the fires that have been used to destroy forests since the industrial revolution -- account for about one-fifth of all carbon dioxide committed to the atmosphere.
"That's a very significant component in global warming," he said.
One thing that is being noticed by scientists is that black carbon from forest fires is landing on ice sheets and accelerating ice melt.
"These are tricky and slippery factors because there are places where feedback from fires is actually causing cooling, especially in places where the loss of forest has caused the snow to lie for longer leading to regional cooling."
Vegetation and natural conditions may change dramatically between New South Wales, Sumatra and California, but one thing these fires all share in common is that they are becoming more regular because the climate is becoming warmer.
Bowman said that vegetation in parts of Victoria, which normally completely regenerates over a 50-year cycle, is now being burned as often as three times in the period of one decade.
The particles from forest fires, he said, actually inhibit rainfall contributing to regional drying and warming, which creates a weather cycle conducive to fires. The problem for scientists, he added, was in connecting the dots with these patterns.
"It's like trying to find needles in haystacks."