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New drive to support plantation managers with bushfire planning

FWPA has called on researchers, foresters and professional firefighters to share intelligence around large-scale plantation losses in recent times, and throughout history. The aim is to provide a wealth of information and data to help support risk management and strategic planning in the future.

While much anecdotal data is available around the impact of the recent, devastating bushfire season, FWPA is calling on a variety of parties to share current and historical information relating to plantation losses due to fire.

FWPA has worked with Geddes Management to gather the data that will equip the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) and other industry analysts with insights to enhance statistical reporting and planning.

As part of the project, Geddes Management has already collated information from growers who experienced plantation losses of 100 ha or more during the catastrophic 2019–20 bushfire events. This has been added to an online portal, alongside details of significant forestry plantation fire losses dating as far back as the 1920s. Now, the industry is being asked to input additional information to help build the most comprehensive database possible.

Dr Chris Lafferty, FWPA Research and Development Manager, said there are many researchers, foresters and fire experts with insights that could help add valuable, additional data sets to strengthen future planning.

“Once all information has been added, FWPA will convene an expert working group to go through the submissions and curate the additional entries to agree on the final historical database,” Dr Lafferty said.

“This information will then provide an excellent data source for plantation owners and managers to review and update their own risk management approaches towards fire impacts into the future.”

The datasets will be continually added to, revised and improved going forward, to ensure they remain as up to date as possible.

The information gathered so far in this process has confirmed the catastrophic effects of the 2019–20 fire season, with unofficial figures suggesting a total loss of more than 140,000 ha of plantations.

The Geddes Management report and spreadsheet are available by clicking here.

At the bottom of the web page is a link for making submissions and adding information. Submissions will be open until 30 June.

FWPA submission to CSIRO outlines recommendations to limit bushfire damage

FWPA commissioned a leading fire engineer to develop a submission to an inquiry into the catastrophic bushfires of late-2019 and early 2020. The report outlines recommendations of measures that can be taken to limit damage to properties during future bushfire events.

Paul England, Director of EFT Consulting, conducted the review to help inform the work of the CSIRO’s expert advisory panel as it considers how to better prepare for and manage bushfires going forward. Mr England has more than 40 years of experience in fire research, testing and consultancy.

The submission is currently under review, and further developments and information about the recommendations made will be included in future editions of ForWood.


Posted Date: June 16, 2020

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