Fire managers use a range of methods to manage fuels as a means of reducing bushfire risk. Mulching is one such method where the understorey vegetation is shredded, chipped or mulched to reduce the bushfire hazard and make fire suppression more effective. Our research is about understanding how fires are likely to behave in mulched fuels. We have used experiments in our fire lab to measure how surface fires behave in mulched fuel beds and fire behaviour simulations to predict how mulching reduces bushfire risk. We also developed fuel curves for mulched landscapes that predict how vegetation changes following mulching and have incorporated mulching into calculations of landscape bushfire risk. Currently, we are developing an experimental method to understand the effects of mulch particle size on changing surface fuel beds and vegetation response over time.
Project timeline: 03/2018 – 06/2022