Northern Australia research

Created date

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 1:46am

It has been a while since I last wrote a blog – things have been moving quickly with the development of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, but more on that later.

The Bushfire CRC chairs the annual meeting of the North Australian Fire Manager’s Forum; this year held in Darwin in mid-June. The meeting is a critical opportunity for fire and land managers across northern Australia to get together to discuss topics that are unique to their working environments. It is also the meeting where the northern Australia seasonal bushfire outlook is discussed and agreed.

This year’s outlook, to be released as a Fire Note, is currently in preparation and will be issued shortly, but it is fair to say the unusual wet season and the impacts of unseasonal rain in June have impacted on preparations this year. Other major topics discussed at the meeting were the dramatic impact of introduced weed species of grass, particularly Gamba grass which is already affecting the way in which fire weather warnings are issued in parts of rural Darwin. Important discussions were also held regarding the culturally and environmentally appropriate training needs of indigenous rangers for the delivery of the many carbon abatement projects now underway or planned across the north.

This brings me nicely back to the work of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, as the new CRC will have a node based in Darwin to address a number of these issues found in our tropical north. The topics around the unique hazards experienced – particularly related to the management of fire – will lead the development of some of the remote sensing approaches. These will have application to the southern parts of the country as well.