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The Bushfire Behaviour and Management Group The University of Melbourne

Understanding the Origin and Development of Extreme and Mega Bushfires

Extreme and megafires result in significant damage to property and infrastructure and are associated with large suppression costs. These events form when separate fires merge. Their increase occurrence in recent seasons highlights the importance of developing tools and technologies that better predict extreme events to aid fire response and inform strategies for greater resilience. This collaborative project of 5 research organisations (UoM, UNSW, VU, SCIRO and SJSU) combines fire field experiments with computer modelling to determine factors driving extreme fire development, and develop new knowledge and models. These enable better prediction of active fires, enhance the knowledge base of fire managers for critical decision making and to improve risk modelling and mitigation planning for fire-prone communities. For more information contact Dr Alex Filkov (

Characterising and Managing Fire Risks to Plantations Under Changing Climates

Changing climates are creating significant fire risks to Australian hardwood and softwood plantations. Fires are predicted to become more frequent and intense, potentially resulting in increased plantation losses to wildfire. Existing fire simulation models do not adequately represent fire in plantations due to inappropriate fire spread models and a lack of data for plantations throughout their lifecycle. This project aims to quantify risks to plantations from wildfire under a changing climate, and the ability of management to reduce those risks. With its national scope, including ten regionally based plantation collaborators from south-west Western Australia to Tasmania and southern Queensland, this project will provide a significant step forward in the capacity to understand and forecast fire risks to plantation and community assets. By improving the empirical basis for quantifying and predicting fire risks under changing climates and providing evidence on the best ways to reduce those risks, the project will improve the likelihood of avoiding plantation losses to fire in coming decades, and thereby contribute to the resilience of the plantation industry and of associated regional economies. For more information contact Dr Kate Parkins (

PhD completion

Annalie Dorph recently gave the completion seminar for her PhD and is planning to submit her thesis “Multi-scale drivers of vertebrate communities in flammable landscapes. Using extensive field studies of mammal and reptile communities and adopting multi-scale analytical approaches, she has examined how local and landscape level measures of environmental heterogeneity impact faunal communities. Specifically, her thesis explores how a faunal communities respond to landscape patterns in biophysical features, fire history and anthropogenic landscape modifications.


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