Senior Bushfire Consultant Alex Aitken, attended the short course ‘Bushfire & Climate’ held last month at the University of Melbourne in Creswick at their Victorian School of Forestry. The course was run by Dr Trent Penman and covered a broad range of topics including; fundamentals of bushfire behaviour, fuel characteristics and how they affect bushfires, the role of climate and extreme weather, prescribed burning variable and bushfire prediction modelling.
The 2 week course was full of lectures and practicals providing an in depth understanding of the complex nature and large number of variables that affect bushfire behaviour in Australia and globally. Numerous discussions where had on the effect fuel structure and arrangement has on fire behaviour , in addition to the complex role the weather plays, including how large bushfires can potentially create localised intricate wind profiles.
Phoenix Rapidfire fire prediction modelling
The fire prediction computer modelling included an overview of the global systems and how they vary between countries and hemisphere. This session included a review of the Australian evolution from Alan McArthur 1958 Forest Fire Danger Index through to the recent Forest Flammability Model by Phil Zylstra in 2011 and the 2007 Project VESTA fire behaviour models.
SPARK fire prediction modelling
The opportunity to use the Phoenix Rapidfire and SPARK computer modelling programs was a fantastic way of studying these programs and learning how bushfire can progress in the landscape given different weather and fuel conditions.
This increased knowledge gained from the course will be of great benefit to Bushfire Prone Planning in assisting clients to understand their bushfire risk and the potential impacts and fire scenarios that could occur in a bushfire incident.