2.5 Role of Fire & Fire Behaviour

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2.5.1  Fundamentals of Fire Behaviour
Bushfires often instill fear in peoples’ minds, but they are not some supernatural force. Bushfires obey the laws of physics and chemistry and so can be understood and predicted. Knowing the fundamentals of fire behaviour empowers you to intelligently respond to unplanned fires and to use fire for sustainable land management. This presentation is designed to increase your understanding of the driving forces of fire and how to predict the intensity and spread of fires.

2.5.2 – Prescribed Burning
In a world occupied by humans, it is necessary for us to understand the importance of fire and to know how to maintain fire in the landscape to sustain all the fundamental ecosystem processes. Using planned fire as well as controlling wildfires must go hand in hand. However, fire management can only be sustainable if it is clear what objectives are planned to be met. Setting objectives and monitoring outcomes is essential to continuous fire management improvement. This presentation gives an overview of the prescribed burning process.

2.5.3 – Fire and Sustainable Land Management
Fire is a natural part of the environment and essential to sustainable land management. Fire management requires the considered manipulation of the fire system in the landscape. This presentation will address how the fire system can be managed to sustain the fauna, flora, soils and stored carbon in the landscape. The concept of adaptive management is discussed to recognize that the environment is ever changing and our knowledge to fire and the environment is not and never will be complete, so adaptive management is necessary.

About the Lecturer

Dr Kevin Tolhurst AM, Assoc. Prof. (Hon.), Fire Ecology and Management, University of Melbourne

Kevin Tolhurst is an Honorary Associate Professor in Fire Ecology and Management in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne based in Creswick.

Kevin led a long-term (30 yrs), multidisciplinary study into the effects of repeated low intensity fires in dry eucalypt forest in Victoria. This research has led to changes in how fuels are assessed, how ecological values are incorporated into fire management, and how bushfire risk is assessed.

Kevin and his colleague, Derek Chong, developed PHOENIX RapidFire, a computer program that simulates bushfires to aid realtime bushfire control operations and to assist in bushfire risk analysis for ecological and land-use planning. PHOENIX RapidFire is used widely used in Australia.

Kevin has shared his knowledge via the public media, community forums and a long teaching and research career. In 2015, Kevin was made a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contribution to fire science and the community over a long period. In 2016, he was honoured again with the International Association of Wildland Fire’s “Ember Award”, for excellence in wildland fire science.

2.5.1 Fundamentals of Fire Behaviour

In this video:

  • What is “fire”?
  • 5 Sources of energy captured by fires
  • Fuels
  • Weather
  • Topography
  • Moisture (rain, drought, air, soil)
  • Atmospheric Stability
  • Fire prediction (models, simulators, prescribed burning/wildfire management)

For further reading, click HERE to download

2.5.2 Prescribed Burning

In this video:

  • Management by objectives
  • Fire prescriptions based on fire prediction and known fire responses
  • Controllable use of fire
  • High intensity / low intensity prescribed burning
  • Fire scale, frequency, intensity, patchiness, season
  • Planning, preparation, implementation, monitoring, review
  • Adaptive management
  • “Rule of the Tool” trap

For further reading, click HERE to download

2.5.3 Fire & Sustainable Land Management

In this video:

  • Fire Management Planning process
  • Fundamentals of fire ecology
  • Fire scale (fauna, flora, soils, carbon)
  • Fire season (fauna, flora, soils, carbon)
  • Fire frequency (fauna, flora, soils, carbon)
  • Fire patchiness (fauna, flora, soils, carbon)
  • Fire intensity (fauna, flora, soils, carbon)
  • Fire Regime vs Fire System
  • Planning, preparation, implementation, monitoring, review
  • Adaptive management

For further reading, click HERE to download