An integrated modelling approach for the planning of collaborative and adaptive wildfire risk-reduction activities | Natural Hazards Research Australia

An integrated modelling approach for the planning of collaborative and adaptive wildfire risk-reduction activities

Project type

Associate student research

Project status

In progress

Fire is an integral component of Australian landscapes, influencing ecological, economic, cultural and social values. Wildfire, by contrast, can be a destructive force that poses a significant risk to built and natural communities. Governance of fire systems must manage the broad benefits of fire with the risk of large, uncontrollable wildfires. This management must take place over an extended timeframe and at scales ranging from national to local in order to deal with the properties of dynamic, spatiotemporally connected fire systems.

Existing frameworks and tools available for understanding wildfire risk are not well suited to this scale of scenario exploration and collaborative strategic decision making. Therefore, this research aims to:

  • create a computationally-efficient quantitative model to understand the factors affecting the spatial connectivity of fire processes
  • further develop this model to estimate wildfire risk by incorporating ignition and suppression components
  • use this model to explore the temporal development in risk and evaluate treatment cost-effectiveness under different scenarios.
Project details

The expected outcomes of this research include a:

  • deeper understanding of wildfire spread and risk, and the factors which drive exposure to
  • these hazards at a landscape level.
  • new, computationally efficient wildfire risk estimation tool that is suitable for the
  • engagement of stakeholders and communities in participatory planning and exploration of
  • future scenarios.
  • methodology for calibrating and applying this tool to different regions within Australia, with the potential to explore applications internationally (i.e. North America, Europe, or regions without traditional wildfire ensemble tools available).

This project is being undertaken in collaboration with the South Australian Department of Environment and Water. As such, the project reasonably has the potential to aid the understanding of wildfire risk within the Department and deliver new tools for use in long-term planning and management exploration.