NSW RFS Library – July 2013

Bush Fire Research and News

This paper presents findings from the 2009 fires; “The results of this study highlight that people who are inadequately prepared and who take action at the last moment are more likely to be forced into dangerous responses such as late evacuation, untenable defence and passive shelter.”

“People say ‘They’re just things’, but they’re not. They’re our memories”.

In May 2011, wildfires destroyed around 500 homes along with buildings, churches and a library in the Town of Slave Lake in Alberta, Canada. On a recent visit to Canada, our own Elise Tasker met the Mayor of Slave Lake Karina Pillay-Kinnee. Along with a personal message Karina sent this book which tells of harrowing escapes, courage and fear, relief and despair, community and caring, sacrifice and service.

In 2010 a cave-in at the San José mine in Chile trapped 33 men under 700,000 metric tons of rock Experts estimated the probability of getting them out alive at less than 1%. Yet, after spending a record 69 days underground, all 33 made it out alive. The rescue is a case study in how to lead in situations where the stakes, risk, and uncertainty are incredibly high and time pressure is intense.

Extreme Fire Behavior (EFB) as defined by The National Wildfire Coordinating Group describes a level of fire behaviour which includes one of more of the following; high rate of speed, prolific crowning/spotting, fire whirls and strong convection column. This book presents current and emerging research into EFB including contributions from Australian scientists. “Predictability is difficult because such fires often exercise some degree of influence on their environment and behave erratically, sometimes dangerously.”

The Sydney Basin Bioregion contains large and densely populated urban centres including Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. The authors caution that the potential for arson ignitions due to the increase in population settlements close to vegetation and an increase of severe fire weather conditions points to an increased risk to human and property loss. “The Sydney Basin Bioregion, New South Wales (NSW) is the most populated area of Australia situated within landscapes dominated by fire-prone, sclerophyll forests (Bradstock et al.2009).”

Commencing on page 71 this updated report from the Climate Commission includes a state by state appraisal of what they foresee as key climate change risksThe Commission continues to warn of a link between climate change and the increase of extreme weather events.

Evidence based research into role of gender in emergency management is a field of research that is gaining momentum. An ageing population associated with longer life expectancy and increases in people living alone will present ongoing challenges for emergency services especially within the areas of community engagement and education.

Firewise estimates there is around 8.8 million school students living in the WUI presenting an enormous but largely untapped opportunity. Generally this age group can understand basic fire science and how to reduce risk. They are able to pass on this information to family members including households where English is not the primary language. However the real challenge is how the messages are framed and delivered to particular age group in order to be effective.

Read about the CFA’s adoption of satellite broadband capability in their new mobile command vehicles. This new capability increases communications resilience in the event of disasters such as fire and flood. This function is expected to support their already existing Command Centres.

“The mobile command vehicles will never fulfil the role of these Centres, but they may take the role of Divisional Command, mobilising to a staging area and talking back to the Command Centre.”

Craig Brownlie CFA

Clinton Neumann from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service gives advice to brigades on how they can implement an effective training plan. The service has developed a simple template to assist in identifying needs and gaps. If you would like a copy please contact the library.

See other recent additions to the Library catalogue

Many of these are available as full-text documents for immediate viewing.
New Books, DVD’s, web links, journal articles…

If you have any queries please contact us in the Library by email:  RFS.Library@rfs.nsw.gov.au  or phone: 8741 5455.

The NSW Rural Fire Service Library is a member of ALIES – Australasian Libraries in the Emergency Sector.

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