Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC

The focus of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC reflects the impact of natural hazards on the Australian community and the need for emergency services, land managers, all levels of government and the private sector to understand a range of hazards more thoroughly.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, like the Bushfire CRC before it, is end-user driven. This means that the various emergency service agencies, departments and non-government organisations around the country that become partners have a significant say in the development and use of the research program.    

Our role

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is conducting coordinated and interdisciplinary research. This includes working with communities to improve disaster resilience and reduce the human, social, economic and environmental costs from bushfires and other natural hazards.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is undertaking research that supports the development of cohesive, evidence-based policies, strategies, programs and tools to build a more disaster resilient Australia. The funding enables the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC to provide a long-term research base that directly supports our emergency services and other government and non-government agencies as they work to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters.

Our people

John Handmer leads RMIT’s Risk and Community Safety research group and holds adjunct professorial positions at ANU and at the Flood Hazard Research Centre in London. He has been a member of the National Flood Risk Advisory Group, and the national committee revising the Australian Emergency Risk Assessment Guide, and was Convener of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Emergency Management, and Principle Scientific Advisor for the Bushfire CRC.    

John is the Research Leader on the project Probability of fire ignition and escalation.

The project began with a phase of consultation. This included discussions with those involved in the National Fire Danger Rating Review and research project and the Risk Assessment and Decision Making Toolbox (former Bushfire CRC project). The aim of these discussions was to ensure that the proposed work complements that of current projects rather than overlaps. Also as part of the initial collaboration phase will be discussions with relevant authorities and government agencies on the strategic decisions and actions available for reducing risk of ignition and escalation.    

Karyn is the Research Leader on the project Establishing a monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework: stage 2.

This project aims to further develop and test the proposed DELWP monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework for evaluating the contribution of the Bushfire Science Strategy 2013-17 research investments to policy 2. Development of guidance and 'tool' materials, alongside design, implementation and evaluation of a trial of the ‘complete’ monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework.    

Simon is the Project Leader on the project Fire surveillance and hazard mapping.

This project seeks to optimise the use of earth observing systems for active fire monitoring by exploring issues of scale, accuracy and reliability, and to improve the mapping and estimation of post-fire severity and fuel change through empirical remote sensing observations. Outcomes will enable satellite measures of fire activity to be made, which in turn have the potential to inform or support efforts in bushfire response planning and fire rehabilitation efforts. A particular focus is on the analysis of data obtained from Himawari-8, which is able to provide updated imagery on a 10 minute basis. 

Karin is the Project Leader on the project Fire surveillance and hazard mapping.

This project seeks to optimise the use of earth observing systems for active fire monitoring by exploring issues of scale, accuracy and reliability, and to improve the mapping and estimation of post-fire severity and fuel change through empirical remote sensing observations. Outcomes will enable satellite measures of fire activity to be made, which in turn have the potential to inform or support efforts in bushfire response planning and fire rehabilitation efforts. A particular focus is on the analysis of data obtained from Himawari-8, which is able to provide updated imagery on a 10 minute basis.    

Sujeeva is a research leader on the project Enhancing resilience of critical road infrastructure.

Road networks and critical road structures such as bridges, culverts and floodways have a vital role before, during and after extreme events to reduce the vulnerability of the community. A major gap in the current research is the lack of assessment techniques and tools to reduce the vulnerability of road structures to enhance both community and structural resilience. This project is developing tools and techniques to enhance the resilience of road infrastructure to hazards such as floods, bushfires, earthquakes and climate change-related weather events.    

Briony is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Risk and Community Safety at RMIT University. Briony's research is focussed on child-centred disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Briony holds a Bachelor of Behavioural Science from La Trobe University and an Honours Degree in Science (Psychology) from the University of Tasmania. She completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Tasmania in 2012. Her PhD research, which was conducted as part of the Bushfire CRC's Community Self Sufficiency for Fire Safety research stream, involved an in-depth exploration of how Australian children living in bushfire prone areas perceive bushfire risk. Briony has also conducted research on child-centred disaster risk reduction with children in Indonesia and the Phillipines.    

Blythe is a research leader on the project Enabling sustainable emergency volunteering.

Commencing in 2017, this project has two parts:

  1. Adapting the sector
  2. Changing management practice
     

The present research project aims to improve the current volunteer recruitment, socialisation, and retention strategies. First, volunteer experience will be investigated through the various stages of engagement with the service: in the pre-recruitment stage, we will study expectations and stereotypes about volunteering held by prospective volunteers. At the recruitment stage, we will investigate the effectiveness of recruitment materials and strategies, including for the attraction of more diversity. At the socialisation stage, we will investigate induction and on-boarding processes, the development of volunteer identity, person-organisation fit. At the deployment stage, we will investigate volunteer motivation, wellbeing outcomes, psychological contract perceptions, and design of volunteer work. Throughout this investigation we seek to understand how a culture for inclusiveness shapes volunteer experiences, but also affects the diversity of volunteer base.

Centre partners

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.