Jeremy Russell-Smith

Adj Prof Jeremy Russell-Smith

Adj Prof Jeremy Russell-Smith

Project leadership

Remote north Australian communities are susceptible to cyclones, floods and bushfires. Cultural and socio-economic factors combine with the challenges of remote service delivery – including cost, low levels of infrastructure and distance from the urban centres that host key service delivery organisations - to create situations where communities can be highly vulnerable to natural hazards. In this context, it is important to understand how these variables can be navigated to enhance community resilience. This task requires a detailed understanding of current capacities, preparation and response strategies, communication pathways and local governance structures.

Northern Australia is an extensive area with a small population and minimal infrastructure. There is considerable summer rain (the ‘wet’) and very little in winter (the ‘dry’). In the ‘wet’, vegetation growth is considerable, producing abundant fine fuel. Temperature is relatively high all year, so that when the rain stops at the end of the ‘wet’, the fine fuels dry quickly and are extremely fire prone. One simple ignition in the latter half of the ‘dry’ can create a bushfire that will burn for months. Planned, or prescribed, burning is the main tool for halting bushfire by reducing fuel loads.

This project has built on existing work to create more sophisticated mapping and modelling tools. The information can be used for planning, operations, and suppression including summaries of past and present fire regimes.

The research team is applying this information and developing the Savanna Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting Framework, to provide a standardised assessment report on fire regimes for all Australia’s savannas and rangelands.

This project, now in its utilisation phase, has developed a training program that builds on the current assets in place, such as the ranger programs, and leads to increasing levels of competence and confidence and in its turn, resilience. The project is a response to north Australian stakeholder concerns that existing training is inadequate for their needs.
Research team:

Research team

31 Aug 2020
Key findings: Long term support from Fire and Emergency Services Agenciesis necessary to develop...
27 Aug 2019
We are investigating the existing and emerging engagements between the natural hazards sector and...
AFAC19 poster
27 Aug 2019
North Australia is at risk from bushfires, cyclones, storms and floods. In 2016-17 the average cost...
Intercultural collaboration on Aboriginal country
19 Sep 2018
This innovative 3-year research project explores cultural difference and similarity to gain...
The Savanna Monitoring & Evaluation Reporting Framework (SMERF)
29 Jun 2017
The work undertaken through the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is part of a savanna-wide program...
Remote sensing of tree structure and biomass in north Australian mesic savanna
29 Jun 2017
The main goal of this study is to determine the optimal procedure for the estimation of above-...
Andrew Edwards Conference Poster 2016
14 Aug 2016
Providing mapping tools from detailed research, modelling and analysis of the occurrence and...
Jeremy Russell-Smith Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016
The project applies ecological-economic methods to help build the resilience and sustainability of...
Remote sensing of tree structure and biomass in north Australia mesic savanna
18 Aug 2015
This PhD research aims to develop and assess methods, using stereo satelitte imagery and laser...
Assessing ecological risk with indigenous communities: Tropical savannas Northern Australia
25 Aug 2014
This project builds upon substantial work previously undertaken within the facility of the Bushfire...

Resources credited

Type Released Title Download Key Topics
Presentation-Audio-Video 18 Nov 2020 Introduction and overview | Northern Australia Research Engagement Forum (1/9) File Save (0 bytes) indigenous communities, local knowledge, Northern Australia
Presentation-Slideshow 07 May 2019 The Savanna and Rangelands Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting Framework (SMERF) and other tools. PDF icon Save (1.56 MB)
Presentation-Slideshow 03 Jul 2018 NAFM at 20 - research objectives PDF icon Save (2.92 MB) fire, Northern Australia, prescribed burning
Presentation-Slideshow 17 Apr 2018 Building community resilience in northern Australia PDF icon Save (3.92 MB) multi-hazard, Northern Australia, resilience
HazardNoteEdition 07 Mar 2018 Strengthening fire mapping for improved fire management and carbon abatement in north Australia PDF icon Save (412.36 KB) fire severity, land management, prescribed burning
Presentation-Slideshow 18 Apr 2017 Building Community Resilience in Northern Australia PDF icon Save (631.99 KB) governance, Northern Australia
Presentation-Slideshow 24 Oct 2016 Savanna fire management and bushfire and natural hazard scenario planning for north Australia PDF icon Save (3.85 MB) fire, planning, prescribed burning
HazardNoteEdition 14 Jun 2016 What is disaster resilience and how can it be measured? PDF icon Save (373.58 KB) communities, indigenous communities, resilience
Presentation-Slideshow 17 May 2016 Building community resilience in northern Australia PDF icon Save (2.48 MB) indigenous communities, Northern Australia, resilience
HazardNoteEdition 02 Feb 2016 Research for better land management PDF icon Save (133.76 KB) fuel reduction, land management, prescribed burning
Presentation-Audio-Video 14 Dec 2015 Scoping remote north Australian community resilience - project overview File Save (0 bytes) Northern Australia, planning, resilience
Presentation-Slideshow 11 Sep 2015 Savanna fire management and bushfire and natural hazard scenario planning for North Australia PDF icon Save (16.09 MB) Northern Australia, planning
Presentation-Slideshow 03 Sep 2015 Developing the Enterprise Opportunities and Resilience in Remote North Australian Communities PDF icon Save (4.25 MB) indigenous communities, Northern Australia, resilience
Presentation-Slideshow 03 Jul 2015 Building Community Resilience in Northern Australia PDF icon Save (2.2 MB) communities, fire, resilience
Presentation-Slideshow 21 Mar 2014 Fire management for northern Australia PDF icon Save (7.5 MB) Northern Australia, savanna grasslands, scenario analysis

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