News from the CRC
New online - October 2017
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Cost-effective flood mitigation strategy for flood-prone buildings
Two reports that investigate flood mitigation in Launceston have been released. Both reports compare the benefits through avoided impacts of the flood levee mitigation program, against the cost of construction. Launceston flood risk mitigation - June 2016 floods show that the upgrading of the levee system resulted in avoiding losses of about $216 million (had the pre-existing levees failed), which is approximately four times the total investment in the new levee system. This investment in building the new levee system was found to be a sound economic decision based on the estimated costs at the time of decision making, alongside improved estimates of benefits from this study. Flood mitigation for the suburb of Newstead is covered specifically in a second report.
Hazard Note 40 highlights the main research findings from this study.
Optimisation of fuel reduction burning regimes
The priority for fuel reduction burning is often effective mitigation of risk to life and property, which can sometimes contrain environment objectives. Optimisation of fuel reduction burning regimes for carbon, water and vegetation outcomes, published in the Journal of Environmental Management explores trade-offs between fuel reduction burning and environmental management objectives and propose a framework for optimising fuel reduction burning for environmental outcomes.
PhD student Rahul Wadhwani
Rahul has a paper on the kinetics of pyrolysis of litter materials from pine and eucalyptus forests published in the Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. This research investigated the kinetics of pyrolysis of timber, bark, twigs, and leaves, estimating them under nitrogen. The activation energy for the pyrolysis of timber was found to be independent of conversion, whereas it varied for the litter materials in the range of the pyrolysis temperatures employed.
Rahul has also authored a conference paper for the 11th Asia-Pacific Conference on Combustion, which compares two competing models for a physics-based simulation of grass fires: a simple linear parameterisation and a non-linear Arrhenius model. For the lucerne hay fuel the linear model provides better agreement with the experimental data tested, and therefore would be more suitable for large-scale wildfire simulation.
Sheltering during Black Saturday
A new paper in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction discusses sheltering by community members during Black Saturday. Experiences of sheltering during the Black Saturday bushfires: Implications for policy and research presents findings from research that examined people's experiences of sheltering in and exiting houses, sheds, personal shelters and other structures on Black Saturday. Qualitative data were sourced from 315 semi-structured interviews with residents affected by the bushfires and 50 witness statements presented to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. Results indicate that despite limited planning and preparation specifically for sheltering on Black Saturday, many residents protected themselves from fire by sheltering inside houses, other structures and in open spaces. Most sheltered actively, engaging in regular monitoring and action to protect the shelter and occupants. However, some found sheltering challenging due to heat, smoke and responsibilities for children, vulnerable household members and the incapacitated. Misconceptions persist about the safety offered by houses and, in particular, bathrooms during bushfires. Education and advice should emphasise the need to plan and prepare for active sheltering, regardless of whether people intend to stay and defend or leave. The paper offers recommendations to promote planning and preparedness for active sheltering and identifies areas for further research.