Fire a feature of hazard book

Cover of book "Communities Living with Hazards"

Bushfires are only one focus of a new book out of the Centre for Disaster Studies at James Cook University in Townsville.
Landscape and dwellingsFloods, cyclones and even terrorist attacks are analysed alongside fire in Communities Living with Hazards, which looks at how people and communities deal with natural and human induced disasters.
Several Bushfire CRC researchers at the Centre contributed to the book, including Dr Alison Cottrell, who co-edited the publication with colleague David King.
The emphasis of this book is primarily on the social impact of disasters, with the linking thread being people and community participation as mitigators and participants. The chapters from Bushfire CRC researchers focus on fire and community impact.
In the opening chapter Dr Cottrell analyses the complex nature of communities. Dr Doug Goudie’s contribution examines issues of transport and infrastructure as they constrain evacuation planning.
The risk of wildfire at the urban-rural interface and the complexity of settlement patterns are the focus of a chapter by Luke Balcombe. Another chapter, by Alison Cottrell and Sally Bushnell, provides a review of community perceptions and expectations of bushfire experiences and how this varies between and among communities.
Dr Cottrell said the book reinforced the Centre’s community development approach to response, recovery and mitigation of disasters. “The need for research on communities and their experiences of hazards is unlikely to decline. The material covered in this book indicates some of the many different approaches that might be taken in addressing these issues.”
The book’s release marks 25 years since the opening of the Centre for Disaster Studies. Researchers at the Centre contributed chapters that encapsulated their areas of disaster research in order to present a summary of the diversity of the Centre.
Communities Living with Hazards is available through the James Cook University Bookshop at for $48 including postage.
(This article first appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of Fire Australia magazine)