John O’Donnell is a retired forester with the then NSW Forestry Commission/ environmental manager in the same year as Vic Jurskis and Peter Rutherford. He was involved in the bushfires this year around Tumbarumba, southern NSW, over 13 days.

John has written a document “Potential opportunities for improved town and city bushfire protection across Australia”.  This information is of critical importance as large numbers of towns and cities have been impacted by bushfires, and this has been covered in the document.  There are many potential opportunities for improved town and city bushfire protection across Australia.  He personally believes risk assessments underestimate risks to towns/ cities in very dry/ extreme years.

The contents of the document include:

  1. Introduction and background information.          
  2. Impacts of bushfires on people, towns and cities.
  3. Reducing bushfire risks, hazards and threats to towns and cities.
  4. Town and city bushfire protection guideline and information documents.
  5. Potential bushfire protection opportunities and measures to reduce bushfire risks, hazards and threats to towns and cities.
  6. Town/ city bushfire management plan and review.          
  7. Comment and further input.      

References
Appendix 1. 
Town and city bushfire case studies
Appendix 2. 
Specific at residence bushfire risk, hazard and threat management prior to bushfires.            

The document can be downloaded from the link below.

After the large bushfires impacting on many towns and cities in recent years, it is opportune to review potential bushfire protection opportunities for towns and cities across Australia for the following reasons:

  • There is not a lot of information available focussed on town and city bushfire protection planning, organisation and opportunities, including guidelines, and there is some information scattered in bushfire inquiries and royal commissions;
  • There have been large bushfire impacts on a large number of towns and cities;
  • There have been a number of learnings from town and city bushfire disasters;
  • There have been a number of learnings in regards to house and surrounds protection measures;
  • In some cases, town and city bushfire risk assessments have underestimated the potential risks, hazards and threats.

It is good to tease out this information into one focussed document , teasing out potential bushfire protection opportunities for towns and cities across Australia.  The focus of this document is on exploring all opportunities to best protect towns and cities from bushfires, optimising resident safety and optimising firefighter safety.   It is up to each town/ city/ Local Government Area to develop strategies to best protect towns/ cities from bushfires, explore opportunities and to best protect personnel involved in fighting bushfires within towns and cities, addressing applicable state requirements.  Hopefully, this document will assist in exploring and teasing out potential bushfire protection opportunities for towns and cities across Australia.

The document has been issued in good faith in order to aid progression of this important issue. 

Additional ideas, opportunities, comments and input will be considered, and where feasible, can be added in into this document.  The contact email address is:

johnodonnell1954@outlook.com

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