Community monitoring of bushfire management.
Community monitoring of urban bushfire management
We are finding ways for communities to measure the impact and effectiveness of local bushfire risk management activities.
27 August 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011
Answering the questions
Following the 2003 Canberra fires, there has been an upsurge of interest by government and community groups in managing bushfire risk in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), particularly at urban-bush interfaces.
We are taking part in a pilot research project evaluating on-ground measurements of the effects of fuel reduction and bushfire hazard management activities in Canberra, Australia.
It is allowing researchers to answer:
by how much and for how long are we reducing fuel loads?
how quickly will fuel loads re-establish after fire?
is there a biodiversity trade-off?
can certain bushfire management regimes inadvertently increase bushfire risk?
are there unknown threshold effects for fuel or biodiversity?
what is the dynamic relationship between litter cover, grasses and shrubs and fuel hazard?
We are working with selected volunteer Community Fire Units (CFU) and Park Care groups in the ACT’s Aranda Bushland and Black Mountain reserve.
CSIRO researchers are designing and testing sampling methods that are robust and repeatable, yet not too complex or time consuming for volunteer CFU and Park Care members to collect.
The two-way learning process between volunteers and researchers is critical to the research.
If the community can undertake monitoring with managers and scientists, there is likely to be learning on all sides and a greater commitment to a long-term understanding of the ecological dynamics of urban bushland fires.
This is of importance for people living in a fire-prone environment where there is an increasing:
The CFUs and Park Care members provide a unique interface between managers and the community.
They represent a group of interested community members who are willing to take time to learn about and assist in bushfire management.
The results from the project will be viewed in relation to:
The expected outcomes are that there will be a greater understanding of fire management issues and the increased role of long term monitoring by CFUs and the wider community.
acceptable limits of ecological change
the feedbacks between fuel, habitat, risk and management response and how this impacts on biodiversity and fuel management.
As this is a scoping study and proof of concept, only selected CFUs are involved.
The expected outcomes are:
This project is funded by CSIRO and the Natural Heritage Trust, through the ACT Natural Resource Management Council.
This project is designed to complement the work being undertaken across the ACT on monitoring fuel reduction activities for the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan at the local community level.
Find out more about our work with Bushfires.