Bushfire Behaviour and Management

Understanding and predicting fire behaviour and the impact on human and environmental features in the landscape, with the goal of better quantifying fire risk decisions.

Academic staff

The following staff are available to supervise honours and masters research in the field of bushfire behaviour and management.

Dr Trent Penman

Bushfire risk modelling with research on quantifying the risk trade-offs in landscape fire management considering a range of human and environmental assets.

Project topics:

  • Do methods used in risk modelling change our predictions of risk?
  • Climatic change influences plant demography and fire regimes – the interval squeeze
  • Climate change and fire regimes – where are the risks? where are the refuges?
  • Optimising fire management to reduce risk to multiple assets?  What is the best approach?

Email: trent.penman@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Alex Filkov

Wildfire behaviour and risks through laboratory experiments on fuel ignition and fire spread, and deterministic-probabilistic prediction systems.

Project topics:

  • Does dynamic fire behaviour change flammability of fuels?
  • Identifying threshold values of seeds mortality for different fire intensities
  • Likelihood of fuel be ignitability by firebrands
  • How fuel bed composition influence on fire behaviour?

Email: alexander.filkov@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Jane Cawson

Research examining bushfire behaviour and management, and the effect on vegetation and soils with a current focus on understanding flammability in wetter forests.

Project topics:

  • Quantifying species flammability at different scales using lab experiments
  • Linking plant traits to flammability in the lab and field
  • Using landscape models of fuel moisture to predict fire
  • Evaluating alternative fuel management strategies with field surveys

Email: jane.cawson@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Kate Parkins

Bushfire risk modelling, focusing on quantifying risk trade-offs in landscape fire management for a range of environmental, ecological and human assets.

Project topics:

  • Optimising fire management to reduce risk to multiple assets. What is the best approach?
  • Fire risk modelling for ecological assets (i.e. vulnerable species). Which management scenarios reduce risk to key ecological assets, without increasing risk to human assets.

Email: kate.parkins@unimelb.edu.au