Posts Categorised: Bushfires

Human error during the multilevel responses to three Australian bushfire disasters

Manly surfer/Flickr

“The scale and complexity associated with the coordinated response to natural disasters inevitably produce human errors. However, little is known about the frequency and distribution of human error at different levels of coordination during disasters. The purpose of this research was to explore this phenomenon for selected catastrophic bushfires in Australia.”

Source: Brooks, B., Curnun, S., Bearman, C., & Owen C. (2018). J Contingencies and Crisis Management, and available from this link (subscription journal).

Discussion paper: Victorian fire management strategy

Storm over Manly Beach/Flickr

The Victorian Fire Management Strategy Discussion Paper is the beginning of the journey in developing a new Victorian Fire Management Strategy which will provide direction to achieving a sustainable future for fire management in Victoria. The aim of the Victorian Fire Management Strategy is to provide the pathway to reduce the number and the consequences of harmful fires across Victoria, for all types of fire, and for all communities, through to 2030. Survey closes 15 December 2017.

Source: Victoria. Dept of Justice and Regulation and available from this link (open access).

Reviewing high-risk and high-consequence decisions: finding a safer way


“This paper critiques the adversarial processes used in inquiries following significant natural hazard events, in particular bushfires. Shortcomings identified with current practices suggest post-event inquiries should adopt restorative practices rather than traditional adversarial procedures. Restorative justice is a concept established in the area of criminal law. It is argued that the use of restorative practices could assist in formulating inquiries that would assist all parties to collectively resolve how to deal with a aftermath of the disaster and deal with its implications for the future. Restorative practices would enable a focus on both short- and long-term recovery.”

Source: Eburn, M., & Dovers, S. (2017). Australian Journal of Emergency Management, and available from this link (open access).

Defining success in bushfire management: critical moments in the 2012-13 ACT bushfire season



“The 2012-13 Australian Capital Territory fire season saw no loss of life, no major property loss and minimal environmental damage. It was therefore successful according to the main aims of bushfire management. This outcome hinged on a few critical moments when, due to a combination of strategy and good fortune, things went right. This case study demonstrates how influential chance can be in determining the outcome of bushfires and this in turn begs the question: should agencies be held responsible for factors that are beyond human control? It is proposed that holding agencies responsible for outcomes that are not entirely within their control, acts to reduce community resilience because it implicitly removes the onus on individuals to take personal responsibility; a vital component for good outcomes.”

Source: Leavesley, A. (2017). Australian Journal of Emergency Management and available from this link (open access).

Physical bushfire preparation over time in Victoria, Australia

Manly Beach/Flickr

“The purpose of this paper is to examine the level of physical preparation for bushfire among Victorian residents in established high risk bushfire locations, and to assess whether these levels of preparation changed over time.”

Source: Muir, C.,  Gilbert, J.,  O’Hara, R.,  Day, L., Newstead, S. (2017). Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, 26/2, and available from this link (subscription journal).

Categories: Bushfires

Experiences of sheltering during the Black Saturday bushfires: Implications for policy and research



“More than half of those who died in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia, were sheltering inside a house at the time of their death. This marks a shift in bushfire fatality trends, which previously saw most fatalities occurring outside while residents attempted to protect assets or evacuate. This paper presents findings from research that examined people’s experiences of sheltering in and exiting houses, sheds, personal shelters and other structures on Black Saturday.”

Source: Whittaker, J., Blanchi, R., Haynes, K., Leonard, J., & Opie, K. (2017). International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, and available from this link (subscription journal).

Categories: Bushfires

Digital volunteering in disaster risk reduction: an opportunity or a challenge?


Lilly Pilly/PaperMonkey

“In recent years, information from community members contributed online has proved highly useful in emergencies. Information sharing activities by private citizens using social media, smartphones, and web mapping tools have been termed volunteered geographic information (VGI), or digital volunteering. This research examined the potential role of VGI in fostering community engagement in bushfire preparation.”

Source: Hawath, B. (2017). BNHCRC Hazard Notes and available from this link (open access). 

EMAPodcast recognises 50 years of aerial firefighting in Australia



“We hear from Ben Buckley, the maverick pilot who led Australia’s first aerial firebombing operation in the summer of 1967. We chat with NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley and NAFC General Manager Richard Alder about the importance of large air tankers in the fight against fires. We’re also joined by two pilots who share their flying experiences and how they protect local communities.”

Source: EMApodcast available from this link (open access); 94 minutes.

What’s in a Marking: Aerial Identification Numbering of Fire Appliances


“Emergency vehicles worldwide have unique aerial identification numbering on the rooves for ease of identification for aerial support, particularly if the individuals crewing the vehicle need exigent assistance. Drawing on an actual event from the 2013 Blue Mountains Wildfire, this paper highlights how aerial support from a water bombing aircraft was unable to read the existing black aerial identification numbering of a fire appliance because the black identification number coalesced with the black plumes of smoke emitted by the wildfire.”

Source: Hurley, Vincent. (2016).  Salus Journal,  4/3 and available from this link (open access).

Reframing Rural Fire Management: Report of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire


Sunrise/G. Griffin

“The January 2016 Waroona Fire caused significant damage, particularly to the town of Yarloop, and resulted in the tragic loss of life. The Government of Western Australia committed to managing bushfire-related risk and continuously improving the state’s capabilities to prevent, mitigate and respond to major bushfires to protect the Western Australian community and the assets it values. For this purpose, the Government committed to the establishment of an open and independent review of the management of the fire, with broad terms of reference, that allowed for consideration of what has been learned from previous major bushfires, what can be learned from the Waroona Fire, and strategies for future reforms and capability enhancements to efficiently and effectively manage bushfire-related risk.”

Source: Ferguson, E. (2016). Public Sector Commission, WA and available from this link (open access).

Categories: Bushfires