Estimating fuel levels post-cyclone
Hazard Note 008 summarises the research results from a study commissioned by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. It focused on examining the dynamics of fuel quantity and hazard in five cyclone-damaged locations on the central Queensland coast over four weeks in the aftermath of Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia in February 2015.
The findings have been used to develop a visual field guide that complements the existing fuel hazard guides. Among the key findings are that increased fuel loading and hazard caused by tropical cyclones can impede access to fire lines and increase fire spread and fire line intensity by 1.5 and 2.5-fold respectively. These additional insights, to be used alongside the existing field fuel hazard guides, are applicable to a variety of fire management applications, including planning hazard reduction burns, pre-season preparedness and suppression strategies for fires burning in cyclone-damaged vegetation.
The guide, included as part of the Hazard Note, will be an invaluable tool that could be readily adopted by field crews, can be applied quickly and provide data of sufficient accuracy to input into fire models. Information may also be used to assess the potential impacts of other storm-related fire impacts.