Tasmania enlists fire research team
Australia’s leading bushfire researchers will this week begin investigating areas of national significance from the bushfires in Tasmania.
The Tasmania Fire Service has asked the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (Bushfire CRC) to assemble an independent research Task Force to focus on a range of areas, beginning with community preparedness and warning messages.
Other areas that may be looked at once the emergency situation settles include the behaviour of the fires, the response to the fires, the loss or survival of particular houses and other structures, and issues specific to the high number of tourists in the region. Researchers will be sourced from Bushfire CRC partners including the universities of Tasmania, La Trobe, Western Australia, Murdoch and RMIT. Efforts to control the fires will be unaffected.
Bushfire CRC CEO Gary Morgan said the research was of national significance. “The data gathered will inform not just the residents of Tasmania and the Tasmania Fire Service, but communities and fire agencies across Australia and New Zealand.
“It is vital that researchers are on the scene reasonably early to gather the evidence and data, so we would expect to deploy teams within days.”
“The Chief Officer of the TFS, Mike Brown, and his senior staff, have been in regular touch with the Bushfire CRC in recent days, to seek the expertise of the Bushfire CRC in gathering data on the ground to inform this important work.
“The vital research that follows major fires is only possible through the national approach taken by the Bushfire CRC. This collaboration was not available 10 years ago, before the Bushfire CRC was formed,” said Mr Morgan.
The Bushfire CRC, the national research centre for bushfire research, has previously conducted research Task Forces following the WA bushfires of January 2011, the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 in Victoria, and the Eyre Peninsula fires of 2005. The findings from these previous Task Forces have informed inquiries including the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
The Bushfire CRC was funded in 2003 through the Australian Government’s CRC Program, with substantial support from fire and land management agencies across Australia and New Zealand. The Bushfire CRC is conducting research into the social, environmental, and economic impacts of bushfires, and is funded through to June 2013.