Fire In the landscape, assessing the impact

Fire Note 130: Features the findings of four research projects on the impact of fire on water quantity and quality, as well as changing carbon stores (above and below the ground). Among its key findings, the research shows that controlled burning in fire-prone eucalypt (mixed species) forests in and around major water catchments is unlikely to have an impact on water supplies. Traditionally, it was thought that all forests recovering from fire took a lot of water from adjoining water catchments and reservoirs.

Life On The Edge: Living With Risk

Fire Note 129:  How do you motivate people living with fire risk on their doorstep to safeguard their properties and increase their chance of survival?  This research explores how householders perceive the value and risks of living in or near bushland and analyses the complex mix of hazards, risk, benefit and value perceptions which influence the way that they approach fire hazard. The results show people do recognise fire risk, but may treat it as a lower priority than other lifestyle values and factors, such as lack of time, cost barriers and aesthetic qualities.

Shared responsibility: A new way forward?

Fire Note 128: This research provides a broad conceptual framework to understand and progress the principle of shared responsibility in risk and disaster management.

The findings investigate the complexities and challenges of shared responsibility and address the fundamental questions: What is it and how do we do it?

As a starting point, the research recommends an inclusive and collaborative, inquiry-based approach between governments, communities and their individual citizens in scoping out their responsibility sharing challenges and processes.

Using fire simulations to assess house vulnerability at the urban interface

Fire Note 126: An alternative approach to evaluating building vulnerability has been developed using a dynamic bushfire simulator. The approach creates sets of fire predictions, which can then be used to create maps of potential fire behaviour. Simulation approaches allow a much wider range of factors to be considered than the dominant approach to evaluating building vulnerability, which assesses assets based on their relative proximity to potential fuel.

Linking assessment of future bushfire scenarios and economics

Fire Note 125: Addressing the impacts of climate and global change on fire regimes is one of the most important strategic issues confronting bushfire managers in Australia. This Fire Note discusses the findings of research that has investigated future scenarios for Australian bushfires and explored the role of economic evaluation in informing bushfire management and policy decisions into the future. This project has demonstrated that fire activity is likely to increase in wetter environments, but decrease in arid environments.

Making strategic choices

Fire Note 124: Fire managers have to face a multitude of competing priorities when considering how to reduce losses from future fires. With limited funds, an increasing population to protect from bushfire, and more people living in bushfire-prone areas, fire managers face a significant resource-allocation challenge. Knowing which risk-mitigation strategies provide the best value for money is therefore potentially of great benefit.

Indigenous Communities, Peri-urbanism and Bushfire Issues in Northern Australia

The Bushfire CRC Understanding Communities Project is primarily focused on peri-urban regions in areas where intensive bushfires are possible. However, in the course of exploring peri-urbanism and its complexity, Indigenous communities arose as a special case deserving some attention. Therefore, this briefing paper aims to identify key issues for possible future research for bushfire issues and Indigenous communities in Australia.

Action Research: The underlying approach of the Understanding Communities Project

The Understanding Communities Project within the Bushfire CRC aims to provide a better understanding of the relationship between communities and their Fire Service providers. The project operates within an action research framework. It was decided to provide a review of  (participatory) action research to allow a more explicit understanding of the underlying research  process of the project by the fire services and other stakeholders (including other researchers).