CSIRO scientist Phil Cheney at a trial burn site.

Understanding bushfire behaviour to save lives

CSIRO aims to increase our understanding of, and ability to manage, bushfires in order to reduce the risk to firefighters, the community and the environment.

  • 1 December 2005 | Updated 14 October 2011

CSIRO, through its past joint venture Ensis, is developing the science and technology needed to reduce loss of life and property from bushfires and to deliver the benefits of improved bushfire management to the community.

The capability

CSIRO’s expertise in understanding fire behaviour and management enables us to:

  • deliver integrated research solutions and services to groups responsible for fire management and control of bushfires
  • provide advice to governments and contribute to guidelines on best practices for fire management
  • identify and investigate research needs and solutions to the community, the forestry industry, national parks and rural fire authorities.

Skills and team of experts

CSIRO’s team of bushfire experts consists of people with expertise in forest science (forestry, natural resource management and statistical analysis) and physics (heat transfer, atmospheric science and computing science). 

Fire behaviour predictions are key to taking effectiveness management action before and during fires.

Our staff and resources include:

  • expertise and experience in interdisciplinary, multiple-scale bushfire research
  • the ability to develop and build an array of bushfire science programs
  • an unparalleled archive of long-term, nation-wide and regional databases
  • an extensive network of local and international collaborators, research users and supporters
  • quick deployment of resources to address immediate and long-term bushfire situation.

How CSIRO uses it

CSIRO conducts its work across the country with many different land and rural fire management agencies.

Accurate, high-resolution fire weather and fire behaviour predictions developed by CSIRO can assist in the effective management before and during fires.

The team has conducted research in:

  • Western Australia as part of Project Vesta
  • Victoria as part of Project Aquarius
  • grassland fire behaviour work in the Northern Territory
  • the effectiveness of spray protection systems for fire fighting vehicles in New South Wales
  • fuel moisture modelling in Tasmania.


CSIRO is a major partner of the Bushfire CRC, and works in collaboration with:

  • State forest, national parks and land management agencies
  • State rural/bushfire authorities
  • local governments
  • rural bushfire volunteer associations.

Read more about how CSIRO research is Saving fire-fighters from the Deadman Zone.