There is more to know

Created date

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 2:09am

The breadth of topics at our three-day annual conference in Perth at the end of last month was quite astounding, even more so considering none were repeats of last year’s conference, and in Melbourne next year, a whole new set of issues will be presented.

Despite the amount of activity currently underway, it is still appropriate to stop and think about areas that are not being fully discovered by our scientific research efforts.

The Bushfire CRC was funded to examine the main issues arising from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria. Many of these issues are relevant across Australia and New Zealand, but there are many other important questions that need to be addressed.

The Bushfire CRC is well advanced in its planning to move towards a national research institute for fire and other natural hazards. This new research program will expand on current projects and branch into new fields including: engineering and aviation, legal and policy matters, economics, communications and media, incident management, global change impacts, carbon impacts, northern savannah fire, indigenous burning, occupational and fatigue management, human physiology, epidemiology, history and cultural studies, data management, and public health.

The research outputs will have relevance for a range of sectors beyond the traditional target audience of fire and land management agencies. This will also be research for the power and gas utilities, water managers, insurance, law, local government, regional and urban planners, policy development, communications, and fire protection.

Many representatives of these sectors were in Perth last month for the annual conference, seeking ways to get more involved with the research program. In recent weeks the Bushfire CRC has been involved in discussions with the power industry on long term research into the impacts of bushfire on infrastructure.

We are only scratching the surface with our current research program but the long term vision is far broader than that.