Losses to life and property from bushfires are increasing because of population growth in peri-urban areas and climate change. In response, there have been moves to increase fuel reduction—clearing, prescribed burning, biomass removal and grazing—to afford greater protection to peri-urban communities in fire-prone regions. But how effective are these measures? The Black Saturday fires provided a rare opportunity to examine this question empirically. In this seminar I will present results from an examination of 500 houses affected by the Black Saturday fires. I will compare these results with opinion and changes to land management that have occurred since.
About the speaker
Dr Philip Gibbons is a former employee and fire fighter for the Victorian and NSW Governments. He has a Masters in Forestry and PhD from The Australian National University and has held research positions with CSIRO and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. He is currently a Senior Fellow at The Australian National University where his research focuses on ecological restoration and land use policy.