May 2010

Created date

Saturday, May 1, 2010 - 9:00pm

Australia-US collaboration

This month, more than 40 invited Australian and United States researchers will gather in Melbourne and Canberra for a Research Symposium – Fire in the Interface. The event is being organised by the Bushfire CRC in conjunction with the departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Attorney General in Australia, and the US Department of Homeland Security. This is a high profile activity for the Bushfire CRC. Its aim is to share knowledge on bushfire risk on the interface and to develop proposals for collaborative research projects in the areas of fire behaviour, interface planning and community safety. The group will meet in Melbourne on Monday  14 June and spend the last part of the week in Canberra.



Research Advisory Forum

New research at the Bushfire CRC was presented and discussed at our Research Advisory Forum at the start of the month.

Over two days at the NSW Rural Fire Service offices in Sydney, key researchers across all the new projects in the Bushfire CRC Extension 2010 to 2013, outlined their project plans to end-user staff and other researchers. Information on the new research will be more broadly distributed at a later date.



High Country Forum


A two-day forum on Fire in the High Country attracted 110 people in May. The forum was held at the Lake Hume resort in Albury and featured much Bushfire CRC research from the HighFire Project as well as other Bushfire CRC research related to the issue.  Positive feedback from the attendees reinforced the success of the forum. The presentations, related documents and links to wide media coverage are now online.


Student success

Bushfire CRC PhD student Briony Towers was selected as a top four finalist in the Early Career Scientist Award to present to the CRC Association Annual Conference in Alice Springs in May.  Briony, from the University of Tasmania, was selected for her work on how children understand bushfire risk and how this work was taken up by fire agencies. AFAC, the CFA in Victoria and Ettamogah Productions worked with Briony to develop a series of 30 second animated cartoons that were repeatedly shown on three free to air television networks across southern Australia over the past bushfire season. While Briony did not win the Award, her selection as a finalist - the first social scientist to present at a CRCA conference - was a significant achievement and attracted much media coverage including


Royal Commission

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, in its final weeks of public hearings in May, invited several Bushfire CRC members to provide evidence.

Since providing a comprehensive report of the Research Taskforce and other reports and experts on a range of topics, the Bushfire CRC more recently responded to an invitation by the Commission to submit a statement on the need for ongoing bushfire research. This was followed up with request for Gary Morgan to speak in more detail on the matter before the Commission. Bushfire CRC researchers John Handmer, Mark Adams, and Jim Gould and Chairman Len Foster also accepted invitations to appear.


Communicating our work

With the Bushfire CRC at a point of closing out one research program and beginning another, while bringing on new partners and international collaborations, it is vital that we have a sound communications and marketing strategy to guide our activities over the next phase of the CRC.  Currie Communications is currently conducting an audit of our current strategy with a view to providing direction on how we should now position the Bushfire CRC to actively promote our work to a range of audiences.  This will be finalised by the end of June.


Wildland Fire Conference

The recent 2nd Human Dimensions of Wildfire Conference in Texas featured several Bushfire CRC members. Research Adoption Manager Noreen Krusel coordinated the input of the Australian contingent and was on the final summary panel, where she articulated the need for an international research program. Also attending were Board Member Naomi Brown, and researchers Geoff Cary, John Handmer, Alan Rhodes, Claire Johnson and Josh Whittaker.


Group presentations

Research projects across the Bushfire CRC program were presented at recent AFAC Group meetings. This included presentations from the research projects on tree decline, grassland curing, Project Vesta, aerial suppression, incident management teams and firefighter health and safety.


State your question

The 2010 state election in Victoria is still a fair way off but The Age Melbourne Magazine put a series of questions to the Premier and Opposition Leader in late May. The Age sought questions on major topics from community leaders. Gary Morgan was invited to submit a question on bushfires. The question was Black Saturday taught us that Victorians must better understand what it means to live with fire. What else needs to be done to make us smarter about the threat from bushfires?

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