2 new Bushfire CRC Fire Notes have just been released.

“Awake, Smoky and Hot – Fighting Fire Without Fire”

Exposure to smoke and high temperatures, coupled with little sleep, can impair firefighters’ cognitive (mental) and physical capacities on the fireground. This Fire Note presents research currently being undertaken to discover more about the combined effects of these stressors by simulating bushfire suppression activities indoors, while controlling temperature, carbon monoxide levels and the sleeping environment. This Fire Note discusses the firefighting simulation developed by researchers at Central Queensland University and Deakin University as part of the Operational readiness of rural firefighters during bushfire suppression project. It is also available on theBushfire CRC website. A short video showing the simulation in action is on the Bushfire CRC YouTube channel.  A project resource is attached to provide further information on the environmental factors that commonly contribute to sleep disturbance.

“Defend or evacuate? Why residents delay this decision”

This Fire Note outlines research into community preparedness undertaken in the Perth Hills over the 2011/12 bushfire season. The research was conducted as part of the Information processing under stress: community reactions project, under the Bushfire CRCresearch theme Communicating risk research theme. It is also available on the Bushfire CRC website. This research has investigated why many residents of bushfire prone areas delay their decision to defend or evacuate in response to a bushfire until the day of a fire. The research showed that a lack of difference in the attractiveness between the options of defending a house or evacuating was the only significant predictor of householders’ decision delay. This Fire Note discusses this finding, and presents opportunities and obstacles to overcoming the problems associated with decision delay.

Previous Bushfire CRC Updates and Fire Notes can be found here http://www.bushfirecrc.com, or search the NSW RFS Library catalogue.


Bush Fire Research and News

Ongoing research into the January 2003 Canberra fires by various scientists is presented in this article which according to the authors confirm the incidence of a tornado the first recorded instance of pyro-tornadogenesis in Australia, one which amplified destruction upon the city. They observe “Pyro-tornadoes are potentially an extremely dangerous companion to large wildfires, which can negate any fire suppression efforts and can pose an extreme risk to fire-fighting personnel and aircraft”.

“It is hard to explain to your loved ones the internal war you experience”. Nicole Robinson (King) Rivers Volunteer Bushfire Brigade Member

Post-traumatic stress suffered by firefighters following Canberra’s 2003 fires was the impetus for Vivien Thomson to publish a book which features personal stories from both men and women firefighters. Vivien who was a firefighter for over 25 years is now an advocate of the issues surrounding women and resilience within the agricultural and firefighting communities.

For policeman Allan Sparkes post-traumatic stress slowly but steadily emerged.

“By 1996, after nearly 20 years of operational police work, my post-traumatic stress disorder bank account had far too many deposits.” Despite receiving the Cross of Valour for his rescue of a young boy from a flooded storm water drain, it was this event that led him into a deep personal crisis. His just released book “The Cost of Bravery” however is one of hope and recovery.

Prescribed burning has been use in eucalypt forests of southern Australia since the 1950s. Author W. Lachlan McCaw presents an historical perspective on the accomplishments, complexities and challenges surrounding Australia’s form of fuel management.

“Implementing an ongoing program of prescribed burning places additional demands on land management agencies beyond those traditionally associated with fire suppression response”.

The Victoria Planning Provisions (VPPs) include site and design regulations incorporated into local government planning schemes to mitigate risk in areas prone to bushfires. Introduced in 1997, these provisions were previously called the Wildfire Management Overlay (WMO). Now updated and renamed the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO), the provision’s ongoing development has been informed by fire behaviour and an understanding of how houses ignite. The aim of the research reported here, conducted following the catastrophic February 2009 Victorian fires, was to review dwelling losses in terms of the WMO’s effectiveness. Empirical evidence compares house losses of dwellings referred to the Country Fire Authority (CFA) via the WMO, with overall house losses. The results suggest that proportionately fewer houses referred to the CFA were lost, compared with those not assessed under the WMO.

After the Fire (Article)

Since 2009 and without any government funding BlazeAid has organised some 13,000 volunteers around the nation to rebuild a staggering 2000 kilometres of fencing destroyed by fire or flood. Read about those who gave of their time following the Aberfeldy-Donnelly fires in Maffra many of whom relocated to assist in the repair of the fences. “Fences are a critical first step in seeing the land returning to its productive capacity again.” Cr Rossetti, Wellington Shire Mayor.

This provides the reader with an overall perspective on the nature of fire in NSW parks and reserves. It highlights often competing issues such environmental and cultural heritage concerns, community protection and our ageing population along with future risks including climate change and changing fire weather patterns.

Changing Severity of Home Fires (Workshop Report)

In response to an invitation from the U.S. Fire Administration, leading national fire services, fire researchers and other stakeholders in home fire safety came together to explore how changing building construction meth­ods, materials and building contents are affecting the way fires react in today’s homes especially in regard to their size, building materials and flammable contents. “A significant proportion of the workshop agenda was dedicated to interactive discussion with the fire safety or­ganizations represented, to fully understand the risks presented by the speakers and to identify specific strategies to address them.”

Learning and Development has supplied the library with copies of

This excellent training resource covers valuable information on all areas of community engagement within the framework of the NSW RFS’s bush fire risk policies.

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.

NSW RFS Library – May 2013
Content Sharing

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