News from the CRC

Yang Chen

Yang Chen
Yang Chen conducting bushfire mapping research

Congratulations to PhDs

The first round of Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC PhD students have graduated and are sharing their research outcomes with the fire and emergency services sector. They’re joined by recent graduates who began their PhD studies with the Bushfire CRC. 

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC graduates

Caroline Wenger
Caroline’s PhD explored flood management in a changing climate: integrating effective approaches. Her research identified institutional barriers and investigated whether disaster resilience policies lead to adaptive outcomes. Caroline completed her PhD with the Australian National University.

Billy Haworth
Billy’s PhD looked at volunteered geographic information (VGI), community engagement and bushfire preparation. VGI refers to the widespread engagement of citizens in the creation of geographic information, often through social media, smartphones and online mapping tools. Billy’s research was conducted through the University of Sydney and his thesis is available at

Billy completed a Hazard Note in May this year on his PhD studies, which is available here. He is now a researcher and lecturer in geography and disaster management at the University of Manchester.

Yang Chen
Yang’s research investigated the application of the Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technique in quantifying forest fuel properties, including fuel structural characteristics and litter-bed fuel load at a landscape scale. Findings indicate that LiDAR allows a more efficient and accurate description of fuel structural characteristics and estimation of litter-bed fuel load. The results from her study can assist fire hazard assessment, fuel reduction treatment and fire behaviour prediction.

Yang’s PhD was through Monash University and her thesis is available at

Melanie Baker-Jones
Looking at social media in disaster’s, Melanie’s thesis at the Queensland University of Technology examined government accountability for warning over social media. As well as this specific focus on legal accountability, Melanie’s thesis examined the role of governance and regulatory components in the risk management process, investigating the extent to which responsibilities for warning and the use of social media are incorporated into the regulatory system.

Dolapo Fakude
Dolapo’s research explored integrated response as a process for enhancing emergency management. Her research looked at existing functions within communities that can be utilised for preparedness and response functions with the goal of enhancing resilience. The result was the development of an integrated response framework that combines existing community functions that align with Incident Command System (ICS) structure and function domains of ICS. Dolapo completed her PhD as a CRC Associate Student with the University of Canterbury.

Bushfire CRC graduates

Grahame Douglas
Grahame’s PhD explored bushfire planning with climate change. Grahame’s research, undertaken through the Bushfire CRC at Western Sydney University, explored the application of extreme value analysis to extreme fire weather conditions. Historically, this approach had been restricted to floods, storms, temperature and wind.

Mahfuz Sarwar
Mahfuz’s PhD looked at reducing grid sensitivity of large eddy simulation based numerical fire model wildland-urban interface fire dynamics simulator (wfds). Mahfuz applied a fluid dynamics methodology to assess the performance of eddy viscosity models and their potential as forecasting tools. He has found that the models were particularly grid sensitive, with variations in resolution changing the outcomes of the forecasts. Mahfuz completed his PhD at Victoria University through the Bushfire CRC.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC congratulates all successful students on their achievements. To find out about previous graduates of the CRC's PhD program, click here.

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