Input needed to improve bushfire maps in Victoria | Natural Hazards Research Australia

Input needed to improve bushfire maps in Victoria

Release date

9 December 2022

New research is exploring the vital role that bushfire maps play in informing how people respond to fire threats, with input from Cardinia Shire residents impacted by the 2019 Bunyip Complex bushfire in Victoria needed.

If you’re a resident of Bunyip, Bunyip North, Maryknoll, Gembrook, Garfield, Garfield North, Tynong, Nar Nar Goon, Tonimbuk or surrounding areas, have been affected by a bushfire in the last four years (since 2018) and are aged 18 years or over, your experiences can help shape bushfire safety.

Register to participate

The study by Natural Hazards Research Australia, RMIT University, the Country Fire Authority and Emergency Management Victoria will improve the design of maps that show a bushfire’s location and potential spread.  

Dr Erica Kuligowski, Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University, said the input of people who have experienced a bushfire, regardless of if they have seen a bushfire map before or not, will provide important information.

“To improve bushfire maps, we need to know what information people would expect to find on these maps,” Dr Kuligowski explained.

“This research will improve bushfire safety by finding out critical information about how both VicEmergency warning maps and bushfire spread prediction maps are understood, used and importantly, what actions those under bushfire threat would take after seeing these maps.

“If you want to have a say in how these maps are designed and communicated in future bushfires, please register for our research.

“This research will help bushfire safety, not just in the Cardinia Shire or Victoria, but around Australia, as we develop guidance for fire experts so that future bushfire maps can be better understood by the people who need them the most,” Dr Kuligowski said.

How to register

Interviews with residents are being held throughout December 2022 and January and February 2023, either in person or online.

For in person interviews, the team have partnered with CFA and other local organisations to use their facilities and attend their events. Current locations for in person interviews include Bunyip CFA, Gembrook CFA, Maryknoll Hall and Tonimbuk Hall.

If you are interested in contributing to this study, please register by answering some quick questions about your previous experience with bushfires and provide your contact details. This should take no more than five minutes.

Register to participate

After registering your details, you will be able to choose an in person or online research interview, and select available dates.

If you would prefer, registration is also available by phoning (03) 9925 3267 or emailing Gita Pupedis or Philippa Perry - or

What participation involves

The research interview will take one hour. You will be asked about:

  • what information you received during a recent bushfire
  • what action you took in response to this information
  • what role (if any) maps played in your response
  • your views on two newly developed pilot maps that will be shown during the interview.

No experience with bushfire spread prediction maps or maps in general is needed to participate in this study.

Why these locations?

Currently, the research team are only seeking the experiences of residents of Bunyip, Bunyip North, Maryknoll, Gembrook, Garfield, Garfield North, Tynong, Nar Nar Goon, Tonimbuk or surrounding areas in Victoria. These locations were selected as the 2019 Bunyip Complex bushfire occurred nearby.

Early in 2023, the research team will seek to hear from people in three other locations around Australia – the Huon Valley in Tasmania, the Snowy Monaro region of southern New South Wales, and the ACT.

Why undertake this research?

In the 2019-20 bushfire season maps showing the potential bushfire spread were released to the public for the first time, in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT. This research project, Predictions in public, builds on initial research that found benefits to providing bushfire spread prediction maps to the public, along with recommendations from both the 2020 NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry and the Independent Review into South Australia’s 2019-20 Bushfire Season about the greater use of fire spread predictions in public messaging.

Other research partners contributing to this research are the Queensland University of Technology, Deakin University and Swinburne University, alongside CFA and EMV.