News from the CRC

New online - February 2018

New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.

At the request of the NSW Rural Fire Service, the CRC investigated warnings, community preparedness and responses to three bushfires in NSW in 2017. Community preparedness and responses to the 2017 New South Wales bushfires covers the the Currandooley, Sir Ivan and Carwoola fires, with key findings centring around warnings, the behaviour of those under threat and public expectations of fire and emergency service agencies. The study found that people greatly value the Fires Near Me smartphone application and NSW RFS website for warning information, believing the information to be easy to understand, useful and sufficiently localised. However, there is a need to more clearly communicate that destructive fires occur at all fire danger conditions, not just at the Catastrophic level, as well as the limitations of directly attacking a fire front when conditions are too dangerous. The research also confirms the tendency for people to wait and observe the fire directly before getting ready to defend themselves or confirm the need to leave even after receiving a warning. 

A paper by CRC researchers Celeste Young and Roger Jones has been published in the Australian Journal of Emergency Management, examining the changing nature of natural hazard recovery. The authors argue that current practice in recovery funding does not adequately support communities recovering from natural hazards, and suggest that identifying longer-term risks and their consequences in advance will allow for more effective, sustained recovery.

The Tools supporting fire management in northern Australia project has had a paper featured in Remote Sensing of Environment. Using three case study bushfires in Australia’s tropical savanna, the team compared the effectiveness of MODIS and Landsat fire severity mapping, highlighting the potential for MODIS fire severity mapping as well as the impacts of severe fire on tree stand structure, and identifying challenges in the use of remote sensing to map fire severity in Australian savanna.

The International Journal of Solids and Structures has published a paper co-authored by researchers from the Cost-effective mitigation strategy for building related earthquake risk project. In it, the team discuss the challenges in modelling debonding and load-slip under stress, and build upon previous research to suggest a model for debonding over long and short bonded lengths. In addition, the paper suggests a framework through which bond models for specific types of systems can be developed.

A paper in Environmental Science and Policy examines sheltering options and practices in the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria. Co-authored by CRC researchers Josh Whittaker and Katherine Haynes, the article examines challenges and situations encountered by residents sheltering and leaving shelter by looking at human behaviour, building design, landscape and fire behaviour. The authors note that advice relating to sheltering is less developed compared to advice regarding leaving or staying to defend property, and suggest a number of ways in which sheltering practices can be improved.

An article in the International Journal of Wildland Fire co-authored by CRC researcher Jason Sharples offers an in-depth examination of the dynamics of junction fires. Using laboratory and field results, the article provides an explanation of the processes involved in junction fires that are applicable across a wide range of scales with little influence from initial boundary conditions.

CRC PhD student Rachel Quill’s thesis is now available. Titled Statistical Characterisation of Wind Fields Over Complex Terrain with Applications in Bushfire Modelling, Rachel’s thesis offers new datasets and modelling techniques for wind over complex terrain, demonstrating how statistical approaches to wind modelling can complement existing physics-based models. The resulting models provide better predictions of wind direction, and as a result can be used for more accurate fire spread prediction and bushfire modelling. 

CRC PhD student Grigorijs Goldbergs has published a paper in Remote Sensing that covers the use of unmanned aerial systems as a low-cost substitute for airborne LiDAR detection of individual trees. Grigorijs’ research suggests that point clouds obtained from unmanned aerial systems can effectively detect individual trees, measure tree heights and provide estimates of above-ground biomass, and therefore serve as an adequate low-cost alternative to airborne LiDAR.

More news from the CRC

Dr Tariq Maqsood presenting at the 2018 Floodplain Management Association conference.
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC supported the recent Floodplain Management Association conference on the Gold Coast with a booth in the trade display, while a number of CRC projects presented their research...
Unpacking complexity workshop, Wellington 2018
The connections between Australian and New Zealand research in natural hazards were the focus of a workshop in Wellington last month.
Learning from past experiences is integral to emergency management. Photo: South Australia SES (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Two CRC end-users have spoken about their first-hand experiences being involved in a research project that is shaping the way emergency managers think, learn and communicate information to their teams in highly...

QFES will work to enhance the community's expectations through their new Strategy 2030. Photo: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services is using Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC research to support its strategic planning into the next decade.
Prof Vivienne Tippett OAM
CRC researcher Professor Vivienne Tippett has been recognised for her efforts and contributions to science with a Queen’s Birthday Medal of the Order of Australia.
Dr Mel Taylor, EMPA research award 2018
CRC research on how to best plan for animals in an emergency has taken out the inaugural Emergency Media and Public Affairs (EMPA) research award, while another project on emergency warnings has been highly commended.
Peter Middleton's research is improving communication in Tasmania's emergency services.
CRC associate student researcher Peter Middleton says his recent experience at the latest Research Advisory Forum in Sydney has enhanced the way he presents his research.
An interviewee shows a researcher the impact the bushfire had on his property. Photo: NSW Rural Fire Service.
In January and February 2017, New South Wales faced some of the worst bushfire conditions ever forecast for the state, including Catastrophic fire danger ratings for many communities. During this time, a number of large...
Coaching and mentoring are relationship-based activities that require cooperation. Photo: Department of Biodiversity, Conversations and Attractions WA.
A vital new resource, backed by research, explores how coaching and mentoring builds incident management team capability for the emergency management sector.
During emergencies, individuals and teams often work under considerable pressure. Photo: New Zealand Fire Service.
There is a lot happening at an incident management centre when a bushfire, flood or cyclone occurs but two checklists are helping emergency management teams carry out effective teamwork.

News archives

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AFAC17 logo

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National research priorities for natural hazards

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The Sir Ivan fire. Photo: Nick Moir, Fairfax Media

The Sir Ivan fire. Photo: Nick Moir, Fairfax Media

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