Future Fire

Predicted hotter and drier climates will modify wildfire intensity, extent, frequency, and seasonality. The Future Fires program will use strategic foresight and cutting-edge models to anticipate and help prepare for the wildfires of the future.

Changing climate – changing fire

Climate change is affecting both the nature of fire, and our interactions with it. Predicted hotter and drier climates for Australia will modify wildfire intensity, extent, frequency, and seasonality. Human populations are also rapidly expanding, placing greater demands on ecosystem services, and increasing encounter rates between people and fire. Recent wildfire disasters around the world are stark reminders of the urgent need to improve our preparedness for changing fire regimes.

Managing future fire regimes requires broad scale thinking

While fire as a process drives regeneration in ecosystems worldwide, altered fire regimes can lead to profound ecosystem change and the approaches to managing these changes can be contested. Given this, a better understanding of how we will manage, and live with, future fire regimes is a key area of research focus. Addressing future fire regimes requires broad, transdisciplinary thinking across big temporal and spatial scales.

Future Fire research themes are wide ranging

The Future Fire program is an emerging capability within the FLARE Wildfire Research Group and seeks to take longer-term views and work across a range of disciplines.

It will develop the following areas of research and allow us to:

  • predict and anticipate the key threats posed by future fire patterns
  • explore how institutions will strategically manage change and the novel challenges from future fires
  • address the dynamic interdependencies between fire, climate, society, and environment values
  • provide a forum to explore the desirable futures
  • have both a national and international research scope

Projects we are currently working on in this field

Future fire regimes increase risks to obligate-seeder forests

Many species are adapted to a particular fire regime and major deviations from that regime may lead to localised extinction. Here, we quantify immaturity risks to an obligate-seeder forest tree using an objectively designed climate model ...

Development of state-wide future fire risk estimates

Understanding how fire regimes are shifting with climate change and therefore how bushfire risks are changing is a key knowledge gap for many management jurisdictions in Australia, including biodiversity management. Preserving species and ...

Quantifying catastrophic bushfire consequences for energy network providers

Electricity networks face a number of competing challenges, including the regulatory requirement to deliver a reliable, modernised system that can operate under a changing climate. It is therefore important that energy providers consider the ...

Future fire regimes and their impact on mammal populations

Fire drives patterns in mammal biodiversity across the globe.  However, due to climate change fire regimes are shifting and this impacts species and their populations. It is important we gain a better understanding of how species are affected ...

Future fire regimes in the Pyrocene

Large and severe wildfires impact people and places globally, and recent examples of extensive wildfires around the world – from Southeastern Australia, Western USA, Greece, Portugal, Canada, and, unexpectedly, in the historically cool ...

Fire management approaches to mitigate the impacts of bushfires on ecological values

This project explores the ability of fuel management activities to mitigate bushfire impacts on ecological values. It does this through the integration of the landscape simulation modelling software ‘Fire Regimes and Operations Simulations ...

What makes a good fire simulator?

Fire simulators have become an important tool for tactical and strategic fire management, as well as fire behaviour and risk research. This NHRA-funded project combines social science and natural sciences to understand how fire behaviour ...

Doughnut pyronomics: The safe space for co-existing with fires in the 21st century

The Doughnut Economics framework, developed by Kate Raworth, attempts to reimagine our modern economy in the shape of the doughnut, where the “safe and just space for humanity” lies between the inner circle of social foundations necessary for ...

Towards a shared understanding of future fire

We have entered an era which some call the Pyrocene. It is a time of escalating and increasingly complex interactions between humans and fire. If we are to live with fire, we must understand it and how it is changing in response to both global ...

Other Capabilities

Fire Risk Modelling

Fire risk modelling provides robust calculations of risk at local and landscape scales. This helps to guide decision-making and management for assets including people, property, economic, environmental, cultural and infrastructure.

Fire Behaviour

Fire behaviour research considers the mechanisms of fire spread across the landscape. Uncovering the physics behind it through innovative and novel approaches helps us develop and improve predictive models of fire behaviour.

Ecosystem Interactions

Our work aims to understand how fire regimes affect plants, animals and ecosystem function and in-turn how ecological processes such as post-fire vegetation growth interact to influence fire behaviour and risk.