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.