Alen Slijepcevic

Alen Slijepcevic

Alen Slijepcevic

Alen is the Deputy Chief Officer Capability & Infrastructure with the Country Fire Authority. After gaining Master of Science (Forestry) Degree, Alen started his working career in Croatia as a forester from where he emigrated to New Zealand in 1995. He worked as a Fire Management Officer with the Forestry Corporation and a Technical Assistant - Fire Research Group with the NZ Forest Research Institute.  

After three years, Alen moved to Tasmania where he worked with Forestry Tasmania for seven years in variety of roles; the last two as the Manager Fire Management Branch.

Since 2005, he has been working in Melbourne, Victoria. For the first seven years he worked with Department of Sustainability and Environment, a majority of time as the Assistant Chief Officer Capability. In 2012, Alen started working in his current role with CFA.

Alen has presented at the numerous national and international conferences on fire research and management topics.

Lead end user

What if an earthquake hit central Adelaide? A major flood on the Yarra River through Melbourne? A bushfire on the slopes of Mount Wellington over Hobart?

‘What if?’ scenario modelling through this project is helping government, planning authorities and emergency service agencies think through the costs and consequences of various options on preparing for major disasters on their infrastructure and natural environments and how these might change into the future.

The research is based on the premise that to reduce both the risk and cost of natural disasters, an integrated approach is needed to consider multiple hazards and a range of mitigation options.

This study examined in-depth lessons from historical emergencies and disasters by engaging with state and federal response agencies, as well as those supporting response and recovery, and local government.
Research team:
This project developed simple practical tools that can help people better manage their teamwork, improve their decision making and develop more creative solutions. These include the Team Process Checklist, Emergency Management Breakdown Aide Memoire, Psychological Safety Checklist and Cognitive Bias Aide Memoire. In addition, the project considered how organisations utilise the outcomes of research and developed a tool to help agencies utilise research more effectively. In addition to creating tools that help better manage teams and make more effective decisions, members of the project team have also developed methods to help people to act more creatively during operations. These tools have now seen excellent utilisation by emergency management agencies in Australia and have attracted growing interest from international partners in the UK and Spain.
Research team:

Fire behaviour in dry eucalypt forests in Australia (and in many other vegetation types to a lesser extent) is characterised by the occurrence of spotfires—new fires ignited by the transport of burning debris such as bark ahead of an existing fire. Under most burning conditions, spotfires play little role in the overall propagation of a fire, except where spread is impeded by breaks in fuel or topography and spotfires allow these impediments to be overcome. However, under conditions of severe bushfire behaviour spotfire occurrence can be so prevalent that spotting becomes the dominant propagation mechanism and the fire spreads as a cascade of spotfires forming a ‘pseudo’ front. It has long been recognised that the presence of multiple individual fires affects the behaviour and spread of all fires present. The converging of separate individual fires into larger fires is called coalescence and can lead to rapid increases in fire intensity and spread rate, leading to the phenomenon of a ‘fire storm’. This coalescence effect is frequently used in prescribed burning, with multiple point ignitions used to rapidly burn out large areas.

The team has demonstrated the performance advantages of fire propagation models incorporating curvature dependence when applied to simple wind-driven fires at both laboratory and field scales. The research has also produced fundamental insights into how the shape of the fire line affects the dynamic behaviour of the fire as a whole. Coupled fire-atmosphere modelling was used to investigate how fire-induced air movements (pyroconvection) can produce significantly enhanced rates of spread for certain fire shapes.

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