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 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.

This research represents a concerted effort to understand the effect of prescribed burning on water quantity and carbon losses and gains in forested ecosystems in south eastern Australia. The research team collected empirical data from over 100 sampling sites treated with a recent prescribed burn, selected to accommodate as much site variability as possible and to take full advantage of prescribed burn plans. Data collected from the field was used in a variety of modelling assignments to capture the effect of prescribed burning on changes in water availability and transformation of carbon pools. Using a mixture of models and empirical sampling and analysis, the research showed that there are few risks to long-term carbon and water cycles when prescribed burning is conducted on cycles of 10 or so years.
Research team:
The key finding of the project is that the effectiveness of prescribed burning at mitigating area burnt by bushfire and other key values varies considerably across landscapes and values. This has major implications for fire managers, suggesting that tailored prescribed burning solutions are possible based on the unique risk mitigation profile for any given suite of management values in that region. The key product of the project is the Prescribed Burning Atlas, a new website that informs prescribed burning strategies and helps fire and land managers tailor their approaches to outcomes that will best reduce risk in a target area within available budgets.

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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