November 2009

Created date

Sunday, November 1, 2009 - 10:00pm
  •         Taskforce final report
  •         Stakeholders AGM
  •         Governing Board
  •         Research guides
  •         Research outputs


Black Saturday Research Taskforce final report

The Final Report of the Bushfire CRC Research Taskforce into the 7 February 2009 bushfires in Victoria is now online.

This report was delivered to the Victorian fire and land management agencies late last month and then to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. This is the outcome of a major research effort coordinated by the Bushfire CRC and of value to the Australian and international fire community.

Every day over a period of nearly two and a half months from mid-February, the Bushfire CRC placed teams of up to 50 researchers and agency staff from across Australia, New Zealand and the United States, in the areas affected by the fires. The Taskforce gathered data at 1300 houses, interviewed more than 600 residents and looked at the fire behaviour of the major bushfires.

The final report includes preliminary findings based on this data under the broad areas of fire behaviour, human behaviour, building and land use, demographics, and studies that have integrated these elements.

Both the Final Report and the Interim Report from July are online here:



Building in Bushfire Zones

CSIRO-7187web The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission released its second interim report this week. It provides seven recommendations covering the priorities for building in bushfire prone areas.

Clearly, knowledge from Bushfire CRC researchers and AFAC members will be required to address these issues.

This interim report is available at:


Stakeholders Meet

The Stakeholder Council AGM was held last week at the picturesque Burnley campus of the University of Melbourne. Despite some added challenges in coping with the extreme heat of the day, the meeting was well attended and included much discussion on major issues now facing the Bushfire CRC.

Stakeholder AGM Nov 09 - Len Foster

The Chairman of the Bushfire CRC, Len Foster, gave an overview of the current situation regarding ongoing funding and long term support from our industry. I outlined the path the Bushfire CRC had travelled since its creation in 2003, highlighting major research outputs and other activities that have put us in a strong position to move forward over the next decade. This led to a presentation by Richard Thornton, Director of Research, on the major areas of the new research program that will begin early next year.

IMG_7964webBushfire CRC and Burnley campus-based researcher Derek Chong (pictured, at right), who is working with Dr Kevin Tolhurst on the Phoenix software, demonstrated his work to Stakeholders over the lunch break.

I would personally like to thank Nigel Stork, Acting Head of Department for Forest and Ecosystem Science at the University of Melbourne, and his office and catering staff for their excellent assistance in making the day productive and as comfortable as possible for all.


Board Meets

The Governing Board met the day after Stakeholder Council. Discussion was held on a range of issues including the establishment of a long term Institute to follow the Bushfire CRC, research issues flowing from the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and the coordination of Board activities in 2010.  Further information regarding the Board will be sent out shortly by the Chairman.


Guides to research

Many Bushfire CRC projects have been active in translating their research projects into guides for the industry. In addition to the two field guides that were launched at the April Stakeholder meeting - ‘Burning under young eucalypts’ and ‘Smoke exposure management field guide’ – three more are now available:

·         “Smoke Exposure Management on the Fire Ground: A Reference Guide” (a more detailed companion guide the field guide). This is an output of the air toxic research project.

·         “Fire Severity Categories for the Tropical Savanna Woodlands of Northern Australia”. This is an output of Northern Territory based PhD student Andrew Edwards.

·         “Human Factors Interview Protocol (HFIP)” - an interview guide for investigating the human factors that affect operational decision making. This is a product from the safe behaviour and decision making project.

Some of the guides were distributed to participants of the Bushfire CRC pre-conference workshops at the Gold Coast and also at last week’s Stakeholder Council AGM. I encourage you to order copies for your organisation through the AFAC Shop:


Research outputs expand

At the last count, the Bushfire CRC had 761 outputs recorded for the research program. This includes research reports, journal articles, conference presentations, research posters, books and many other types of academic and general publications dating back to 2002/3 when the Bushfire CRC began.

This is a tremendous resource for all Bushfire CRC members and I urge you to acquaint yourself with the latest scientific findings relevant to your field. Most of these publications are on the Bushfire CRC website and online on the Knowledge Web, with more being added each day.

Another resource that is a central part of the research adoption process are our regular scientific briefing papers.  In recent weeks, several Fire Notes and Fire Updates have been distributed on topics including fire behaviour investigation, historical bushfire patterns in Western Australia, fire and carbon emissions, fire and plant survivability, teamwork in incident management teams, fitness for duty, human factors and decision making, aerial suppression drop assessment, and domestic experiences of bushfires. These are all online at


Gary Morgan


Bushfire CRC