Veronica Quintanilla Berjon

Associate student
Veronica Quintanilla Berjon

Veronica Quintanilla's passion for bushfires was ignited when she first visited a Helibase and stepped into a Bell 212. From that moment on, she knew what kind of forestry job she wanted and started dreaming of moving to the land of fire: Australia.

Veronica is originally from Spain, where she completed Forestry Engineering at the University of Leon and the University of Lleida. After several years working as a wildland fire-fighter (both in prevention and extinction), she moved to the United States in 2011. While in USA, Veronica completed a Master in Science in Forestry at the North Carolina State University, where she focused her research in fire effects related with fuel loads and consumption after prescribed burns in longleaf ecosystems. During this time, Veronica was also actively involved with The Nature Conservancy and other non-profit organizations working as a volunteer firefighter.

In 2016, Veronica moved to Australia, where she joined NSW National Parks as a CRAFT member (Catchment Remote Area Firefighting Team); and soon after, she was granted with the University of Sydney International Scholarship (USydIS) to pursue her PhD research in fire science. Her main research goal is making science a useful tool for land managers.

Student project

Reliable predictions of fuel load and condition (especially moisture content) are one of the highest order priorities for fire-fighting and land management agencies in Australia. Fuel load and condition are critical for predicting the spread and behaviour of bushfires, and have until now been largely assessed using visual or semi-quantitative guides, that have been in place for decades. Moving to a 21st century position, where fuel load and condition can be monitored in real time, at appropriate spatial scales, is a goal for most agencies.

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