Research leader

Ross Bradstock
Prof Ross Bradstock Research Leader

Research team

Dr Owen Price Research Team
A/Prof Trent Penman Research Team
Matthias Boer
Dr Matthias Boer Research Team
Dr Hamish Clarke Research Team
Brett Cirulis Research Team
Anthony Rawlins Research Team
Mr Michael Bedward Research Team
Dr Luke Collins Research Team

End User representatives

Naomi Stephens
Naomi Stephens End-User
Mike Wouters
Mike Wouters End-User
Dr Felipe Aires End-User
Louise Mendel End-User

Student researchers

Heather Simpson Student Reseacher

Prescribed burning is a central feature of contemporary fire management, not just in Australia but in fire-prone countries around the world. Yet we lack a firm quantitative basis for understanding and comparing its effectiveness at mitigating risk across different regions. This project aimed to address these gaps and provide critical support to agency decision makers across southern Australia by undertaking a systematic investigation of the drivers of prescribed burning effectiveness across the region. This project is thus supporting fire managers in transitioning from hectare targets to a set of tailor-made, risk-based approaches.

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. That is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to prescribed burning. 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. Further details are included in this report and journal articles listed herein.

While the project has been completed, its findings live on in the Prescribed Burning Atlas, a dedicated website for fire managers, researchers and anyone else interested in using our project to support their planning, decision making and communication. The Prescribed Burning Atlas will provide a geographically-based summary of risk for decision makers in an accessible, user friendly format. The Prescribed Burning Atlas provides quantitative risk-response relationships for prediction of the most probable outcome of different treatment strategies across varied bioregions. The Atlas has an interactive interface for end-users that allows them to explore not just these risk-response relationships, but also fuel accumulation and ignition probability models as well as projections of changes to risk under different climate, land use and management scenarios. The Atlas can be used in a range of ways, from strategic and tactical decision-making to policy development, resource allocation and education. Access the Atlas here https://prescribedburnatlas.science/

Read the final report here.

Year Type Citation
2020 Journal Article Filkov, A., Ngo, T., Matthews, S., Telfer, S. & Penman, T. Impact of Australia's catastrophic 2019/20 bushfire season on communities and environment. Retrospective analysis and current trends. Journal of Safety Science and Resilience (2020). doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnlssr.2020.06.009
2020 Journal Article Cawson, J. et al. Exploring the key drivers of forest flammability in wet eucalypt forests using expert-derived conceptual models. Landscape Ecology 35, 1775–1798 (2020).
2020 Journal Article Di Virgillio, G. et al. Climate Change Significantly Alters Future Wildfire Mitigation Opportunities in Southeastern Australia. Geophysical Research Letters 47, (2020).
2020 Report Clarke, H. et al. From hectares to tailor-made solutions for risk mitigation – final project report. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2020).
2019 Conference Paper Clarke, H. et al. A new decision support tool for prescribed burning risk assessment. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Day AFAC19 (2019). at <https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/australian-journal-of-emergency-management-monograph-series/>
2019 Journal Article Florec, V., Burton, M., Pannell, D. J., Kelso, J. & Milne, G. J. Where to prescribe burn: the costs and benefits of prescribed burning close to houses. International Journal of Wildland Fire (2019). doi:https://doi.org/10.1071/WF18192
2019 Journal Article Cirulis, B. et al. Quantification of inter-regional differences in risk mitigation from prescribed burning across multiple management values. International Journal of Wildland Fire 29, 414-426 (2019).
2019 Journal Article Clarke, H., Gibson, R., Cirulis, B., Bradstock, R. & Penman, T. Developing and testing models of the drivers of anthropogenic and lightning-caused wildfire ignitions in south-eastern Australia. Journal of Environmental Management 235, (2019).
2019 Journal Article Cirulis, B. et al. Quantification of inter-regional differences in risk mitigation from prescribed burning across multiple management values. International Journal of Wildland Fire (2019). doi:https://doi.org/10.1071/WF18135
2019 Journal Article Yebra, M. et al. Globe-LFMC, a global plant water status database for vegetation ecophysiology and wildfire applications. Scientific Data 6, (2019).
2019 Journal Article Clarke, H. et al. Climate change effects on the frequency, seasonality and interannual variability of suitable prescribed burning weather conditions in south-eastern Australia. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 271, (2019).
2019 Report Clarke, H. et al. From hectares to tailor-made solutions for risk mitigation: annual project report 2018-19. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2019).
2018 Conference Paper Bates, J. Research proceedings from the 2018 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2018 Report Clarke, H. et al. From hectares to tailor-made solutions for risk mitigation: annual project report 2017-18. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2017 Report Clarke, H. et al. From hectares to tailor-made solutions for risk mitigation - systems to deliver effective prescribed burning across Australian ecosystems: annual project report 2016-17. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2016 Journal Article Driscoll, D. A. et al. Resolving future fire management conflicts using multi-criteria decision making. Conservation Biology 30, 196-205 (2016).
2016 Report Bradstock, R. From hectares to tailor-made solutions for risk mitigation: systems to deliver effective prescribed burning across Australian ecosystems: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Journal Article Penman, T. et al. Reducing the risk of house loss due to wildfires. Environmental Modelling and Software 67, 12-25 (2015).
2015 Journal Article Price, O., Penman, T., Bradstock, R., Boer, M. M. & Clarke, H. Biogeographical variation in the potential effectiveness of prescribed fire in south-eastern Australia. Journal of Biogeography 42, 2234-2245 (2015).
2015 Presentation Bradstock, R. From hectares to tailor-made solutions for risk mitigation: systems to deliver effective prescribed burning across Australian ecosystems. (2015).
Date Title Download Key Topics
04 Dec 2014 From hectares to tailor-made solutions for prescribed burning PDF icon 902.97 KB (902.97 KB) mitigation, prescribed burning, risk management
11 Sep 2015 Hazard Reduction Burn Windows PDF icon 875.51 KB (875.51 KB) prescribed burning
02 Feb 2016 Research for better land management PDF icon 133.76 KB (133.76 KB) fuel reduction, land management, prescribed burning
24 Oct 2016 From hectares to tailor-made solutions for risk mitigation: systems to deliver effective prescribed burning across ecosystems PDF icon 1.83 MB (1.83 MB) fire, prescribed burning, risk management
07 Jul 2017 Building bushfire predictive services capability PDF icon 9.97 MB (9.97 MB) fire, fire weather, modelling
31 Oct 2017 Prescribed burning and predictive services PDF icon 4.46 MB (4.46 MB) fire, fire impacts, prescribed burning
31 Oct 2017 Prescribed burning cluster PDF icon 129.41 KB (129.41 KB) fuel reduction, mitigation, prescribed burning
18 Sep 2018 Quantification of inter-regional differences in risk mitigation from prescribed burning across multiple management values PDF icon 1.96 MB (1.96 MB) fire, fire impacts, prescribed burning
23 Nov 2018 The prescribed fire atlas PDF icon 960.9 KB (960.9 KB) fire, prescribed burning
15 Aug 2019 Climate Change effects on prescribed burning conditions in SE Australia File 0 bytes (0 bytes) climate change, land management, prescribed burning
27 Aug 2019 From hectares to tailor-made solutions for risk mitigation: An integrated prescribed burning research project PDF icon 2.57 MB (2.57 MB) decision making, fire, prescribed burning
14 Jul 2020 Prescribed Burning Atlas launch - webinar File 0 bytes (0 bytes) fire, land management, prescribed burning
14 Jul 2020 Prescribed Burning Atlas Launch 14 July 2020 - Hamish Clarke PDF icon 2.49 MB (2.49 MB) fire, land management, prescribed burning
13 Aug 2020 Q&A with Dr Hamish Clarke - Prescribed Burning Atlas launch webinar File 0 bytes (0 bytes) fire, land management, prescribed burning
09 Dec 2020 The Prescribed Burning Atlas: a new system to plan effective prescribed burns PDF icon 872.25 KB (872.25 KB) fire, prescribed burning, risk management
21 Dec 2020 Fire Australia Issue Four 2020 PDF icon 4.58 MB (4.58 MB) communication, fire, flood
Delivering Effective Prescribed Burning Across Southern Australia
18 Aug 2015
Although many jurisdictions are committed to prescribed burning, we do not understand its effects on risks to...
Ross Bradstock Conference Poster 2016
14 Aug 2016
This project will deliver a prescribed burning atlas to guide implementation of ‘tailor-made’ prescribed...
Trent Penman Conference Poster 2016
14 Aug 2016
Bushfire management involves making decisions about complex issues that involve people, communities,...
From hectares to tailor-made solutions for prescribed burning
30 Jun 2017
How does prescribed burning effectiveness in mitigating risk depend on the diverse and changing biophysical,...
From hectares to tailor-made solutions
19 Sep 2018
How does the diverse and changing biophysical, climatic and human context of southern Australia influence...
27 Aug 2019
Rising public and professional expectations require a greater, more transparent understanding of the trade-...
31 Aug 2020
Key findings: We found there is no one-size-fits-all solution for prescribed burning. Risk mitigation varies...
31 Aug 2020
Key finidings: Suppression firing is a prominent containment tool. It occurred on half of the large fires in...