Research leader

Dr Owen Price Research Leader

Research team

Heather Simpson Research Team

The 2019/20 fire season provides an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the interaction of prescribed burns with the 2019/20 Black Summer fires. At a minimum, 414 prescribed burn events completed in the prior five years intersected with the 2019/20 fires (source: NSW NPWS fire history database). Some analysis of these interactions on bushfire severity and house loss was completed for the NSW Inquiry. A more comprehensive database that characterises each bushfire-meets-prescribed burn interaction would enable far more sophisticated statistical evaluation of prescribed burn program outcomes on the overall fire control effort including asset loss.

This project aims to develop a novel dataset that will capture information about individual bushfire-meets-prescribed burn events. The initial focus will be on those interactions that occurred during the 2019/20 fire season. However, the database could be expanded to include historical fire seasons and be setup to capture information into the future. The database will support multi-criteria statistical analysis of bushfire-meets-burns events. That analysis is intended to provide insights into to the circumstances where prescribed burns are likely to inhibit the spread, reducing severity, or support wildfire suppression strategies and when they probably will not.