Abstract In a response to our Letter on the causes and consequences of the 2019-20 forest fires in eastern Australia (Nolan et al. 2020), Adams et al. (XXXX) argued that fuel loads were causal to the occurrence and size of the fires, along with antecedent dryness. They state that fuel levels were ‘extreme everywhere’, resulting from a lack of fuel reduction via use of prescribed fire. Their proposition is, however, problematic for various reasons.