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Two exciting workshops are set to kick off the Melbourne component of the 5th International Fire Behaviour and Fuels conference in April, while two workshops exploring Victoria's unique bushfire risk will close an important week of learning and knowledge transfer. With early bird registration extended to 28 February, now is the time to register to get the best deals.
During the last week the final details for both the workshops and field trips have been confirmed. The workshops will both be held on Monday 11 April at the Bureau of Meteorology, just a short walk from the conference venue at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and are timed so that participants can attend both workshops. For full details and to register, visit http://melbourne.firebehaviorandfuelsconference.com
The conference, which is run by the International Association of Wildland Fire, will take place concurrently in Melbourne and Portland, Oregon, with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and its Victorian partners hosting the event for the first time. The time zone difference between Melbourne and Portland allows for the possibility of some sessions overlapping with live presentations at one venue linked to the other by video. On Thursday 14 April, a joint panel session will discuss the international aspects of planned burning.
Grassland fuels and fire behaviour workshop - 9am to 12:30pm, Monday 11 April.
The aim of this workshop is to set out the current state of knowledge of grassland fuels and fire behaviour and to discuss areas of future research.
The workshop will focus on three main fuel aspects that affect grassland fire behaviour: curing, fuel load and fuel moisture. Recent advances in these areas will be discussed, including the development and application of MapVictoria, a curing map that combines satellite imagery and ground-based observations and the results of grassland curing experimental burns conducted across eastern Australia. Also on the agenda will be fuel load and fuel structure; the effects on fire behaviour and how these variables might be captured in the future.
This workshop is targeted at anyone with an interest in grassland fire behaviour (fire and land managers, fire researchers, students, etc.).
Fire weather and risk workshop - 1:30pm to 5:30pm Monday 11 April, and 9am to 12pm Tuesday 12 April.
This workshop will focus on two main topics – smoke management; and ensemble and probability forecasting – within the overall theme of transitioning science to services.
Each topic will feature keynote addresses from experts in the field, addressing current operational practice, research trends and what best practice might be. The talks will be followed by plenary discussions led by knowledgeable and provocative facilitators. Speakers will be drawn from both the operational and research sectors.
This workshop builds on previous similar fire weather and risk workshops in Busselton (2013) and Bowral (2011) and will appeal to fire and land managers and operational staff, policy makers and researchers. Networking drinks are included on Monday 11 April.
East central bushfire risk landscape field trip - 8am to 4pm, Friday 15 April.
The Victorian Government has adopted a risk-based approach to bushfire management which combines strong community partnerships with the latest science and information to more effectively target actions to reduce bushfire risk. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, which is responsible for the management of public forests and parks in Victoria, has adopted this approach at a bushfire risk landscape level. This field trip will investigate how this is happening within what is known as the East Central Bushfire risk landscape, which is home to 3.3 million people, many rare and threatened plants and animals and significant community assets, including most of Melbourne’s water supply and nearly all of Victoria’s energy supply. Managing risk means managing risk to all these values.
This field trip will provide an overview of DELWP's approach, the complexity of the landscape, how DELWP works with partners and communities to get desired results and how science drives this approach and continued improvement.
Participants will travel to the Dandenong Ranges and meet with community members, water authorities, local fire staff and ecologists and discuss how the vision becomes a strategy, how it is implement on the ground, and how effectiveness is measured.
Forest fire and fuels field trip - 8am to 4pm, Friday 15 April.
South east Australia’s eucalyptus forests are the scene of some of the most catastrophic bushfires experienced, including 2009's Black Saturday fire. These forests are the home to numerous rural populations, are highly valued for recreation, timber and ecological values, and include the catchments that supply Melbourne’s residents with drinking water. As a result, fire management in these forests must reconcile a complex interplay of objectives, maximising human safety, while maintaining ecological values and protecting critical ecosystem services such as water supply. This field trip will visit the majestic Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests to the north of Melbourne, along with the Yarra Valley. Via a series of site visits and guest speakers from universities and agencies, participants will explore the fire history of the region, discuss fire management issues with key stakeholders, and visit current fire and fuel research sites.