Our Capabilities

Our work covers five primary research capabilities – these themes are highly interconnected with most staff and students working across multiple research areas.

Wildfires (commonly termed bushfires in Australia) have been a part of the Australian environment for millions of years and have shaped the species and ecosystems we see today. Most systems require fire to maintain diversity and function and have evolved with natural fire regimes but can undergo significant change in response to altered fire regimes.

Wildfires can also result in significant losses to human values such as loss of people and property, infrastructure and agricultural production. The International Disaster Database estimates the total losses by wildfires globally since 1900 to exceed $77 billion USD. This value is likely to be largely an underestimate, as it is based on reported losses only. The actual value is expected to be considerably higher.

Throughout time, humans have attempted to manage fire through Indigenous burning practices and contemporary fire management strategies such as fuel treatment, fire suppression and fuel manipulation. There is increasing public scrutiny over how agencies allocate fire management budgets, and many agencies use quantitative risk-based approaches to make decisions about expenditure in a more transparent manner.

Our team aims to provide a strong scientific basis for the prediction of wildfire behaviour and the impact of wildfires. This allows us to undertake research that identify management strategies that reduce the risk of damage to human values while maintaining or improving environmental values in the landscape.