B.Sc., B.Math. (Hons), PhD, FTSE, FRSN, FMSSANZ
Extreme bushfires are a worsening global problem. The combination of climate change and urban expansion means that large bushfires are more likely to grow into large conflagrations that result in fatalities, destroy property and infrastructure, and have further environmental and socioeconomic impacts. We are addressing this problem through the use of sophisticated mathematical and computational models to better understand the dynamic behaviour of bushfires, how they propagate in complex landscapes and their likelihood of developing into destructive 'firestorms'.
Our research has a particular focus on how bushfires interact with the atmosphere and how this fire-atmosphere coupling produces atypical and dangerous forms of fire propagation. In addition, we investigate critical fire weather events such as heatwaves, mountain winds and frontal systems and their association with particularly bad fire outbreaks, such as the 2019-20 'Black Summer' fires. Extreme fires behave in fundamentally different ways to the majority of fires that burn under more benign conditions - our research is improving our understanding of these phenomena, thus allowing us to better anticipate their occurrence and predict their subsequent behaviour.
We are also involved in the development of new education and training materials, to ensure that firefighters are equipped with the best available knowledge when engaged in firefighting operations. Our research has been incorporated in operational protocols for a number of fire agencies, better enabling them to monitor dangerous weather conditions and anticipate rapid escalations in fire growth and intensity.
Society Memberships & Professional Activities
Member of the International Association of Wildland Fire
Member of the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand
Member of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Member of the Royal Society of New South Wales
Member of the Australian Mathematical Society
Member of the Australia and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics Society (ANZIAM)
Associate Editor of Environmental Modelling and Software
Associate Editor of PLoS Climate
Associate Editor of the International Journal of Wildland Fire
For more information, please visit the UNSW Canberra Bushfire Research Group Website.