David Bowman is a fire ecologist who is developing a new discipline of pyrogeography. A feature of pyrogeography is a synthetic understanding of landscape burning that unites human, physical and biological dimensions of fire: Exemplars of this approach has been his research into: global fire regimes, the history and ecology of indigenous landscape burning, and the health effects of biomass smoke. He is committed to translating his research to affect management outcomes and shape policy concerning prescribed burning, management of the wildland-urban interface and management of carbon in forested landscapes.
A proposal to calibrate the Phoenix RapidFire prediction model for Tasmania's wet forest types to better assess future bushfire risk and to improve model performance.
- Fire influences climates through emission of gas and particles into the atmosphere.
- Advances in geospatial technology have permitted analysis of fire dynamics.
- Tasmania experienced severe fires in January 2013 that burnt ca. 120,000 ha of forested and urban landscapes.
- Dunalley town was the worst affected, where a convective column and ember storms were observed.
The Smoke Impacts project has three major streams.
(1) Assessing direct health impacts of exposure to bushfire smoke in clinical studies;
(2) Evaluating community perceptions of planned burn and bushfire smoke; and
(3) Evaluating novel ways of measuring smoke exposure over wide geographic areas for use in epidemiological studies. Parts (1) and (2) have been presented previously. Here we present results from part (3).
- Extreme fire which burnt ca. 25,000 ha
- High smoke plume injection, carrying emissions to upper atmosphere
- Model system to study pyrocumulus formation
- Geospatial analysis of fire severity and smoke plume development allows analysis of the linkages between the two components
Prescribed burning is a widely accepted wildfire hazard reduction technique, however knowledge of its effectiveness remains limited.