Up to 20 of Australia’s leading bushfire researchers will today begin investigating areas of national significance from the bushfires in Tasmania’s south east.
The Tasmania Fire Service has asked the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (Bushfire CRC) to assemble an independent research Task Force to focus on how people have responded to pre-bushfire season advice about community preparedness and how they have responded to emergencies.
The researchers will begin their work in the fire-affected areas on Monday afternoon (14 January) for an initial period of two weeks. Researchers have been sourced from Bushfire CRC partners – the universities of Tasmania, La Trobe, Murdoch, RMIT and Western Australia.
Researchers will talk directly with residents about their experiences with the bushfire, focussing on their knowledge of their bushfire risk, preparations before the bushfire and their actions on the day. Efforts to control the fires will be unaffected.
Also of interest are the experiences of tourists. A high number of tourists were in the area at the time of the bushfire and researchers would like to speak with as many as possible. Tourists are encouraged to register their contact details with the Bushfire CRC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning (03) 9412 9600.
Bushfire CRC CEO Gary Morgan said the research was of national significance. “The data collected will help inform future public policy not just in Tasmania, but around Australia and New Zealand. I would encourage both local communities and tourists to cooperate in any way they can.
“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.