Melissa O'Halloran

Melissa O'Halloran

Lead end user

Realistic disaster scenarios help emergency managers better understand disasters. They allow for visualisation of potential impacts before disasters happen, and enable proactive planning for these events. This project, now in its utilisation phase, developed realistic disaster scenarios using catastrophic loss models so that vulnerable areas, utilities and assets within our major cities can be identified.

This study has informed community flood warning campaigns, emergency services training and national policy initiatives by investigating the circumstances of all flood fatalities in Australia from 1900 to 2015. It has also compare the impacts of disasters from more than 100 years ago with more recent events.

By exploring the socio-demographic and environmental factors surrounding the 1,859 flood fatalities over 115 years, the research found distinct trends in relation to gender, age, activity and the circumstances of the death. These trends were analysed in the context of changes to emergency management policy and practice over time.

The predictive model developed by this project will quantify the optimisation of environmental service outcomes for water and carbon management against the effectiveness of the fuel reductions outputs. This will assist fire and land management agencies by giving them greater confidence in forecasting results for their actions.

Ultimately, this project will move research and management capabilities to its next logical focus – building a predictive model and framework for planning of prescribed burns.

This project aims to deliver:

1. A Prescribed Burning Atlas to guide implementation of tailor-made prescribed burning strategies to suit the biophysical, climatic and human context of all bioregions across southern Australia. The Atlas will define the quantitative trajectory of risk reduction (including resultant residual risk) for multiple values (such as property, water, carbon, vegetation structure) in response to differing prescribed burning strategies (including spatial configurations and rates of treatment), across different Australian environments based on their unique climatic, biophysical and human characteristics.

2. Continental-scale, biophysically-based models of ignition and fuel accumulation for Australian ecosystems, for use in dynamic risk management planning and operational decision-making about prescribed burning at seasonal and inter-annual time scales, accessible via the Atlas.

3. Detailed scenarios of future change in risk mitigation effectiveness of prescribed burning strategies in response to integrated scenarios of changes to climate, fuel (including elevated CO2 effects) and ignitions. These will also be accessible through the Atlas.

Resources credited

Type Released Title Download Key Topics
Presentation-Audio-Video 27 Oct 2014 The NSW RFS household assessment tool communities
Presentation-Slideshow 08 Sep 2014 NSW RFS bushfire household assessment tool PDF icon Save (3.62 MB) decision making, risk analysis

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