Bushfires are a predominant part of life in Australia for many. For those who haven’t been affected themselves they surely will know someone who has been. I have lived through the Black Saturday bushfires which tore through my, and many others’ communities, and left scars on the land and on the people it affected.
Unfortunately before the last decade bushfires have been something of an enigma and had been left unexplored on the scientific stage. In recent years however there has been an overwhelming shift and a substantial industry has developed around bushfire research, and explaining bushfire behaviour.
Since the dreadful events of Black Saturday there has been a flurry of campaigns and programs to get this information out to the public. Like most things in life it takes a disastrous event to catalyse this reaction. But regardless of the means by which we arrived here, the scientific research being done is a wonderful thing and its worth is none short of priceless.
One of the products of this is the Country Fire Authority (CFA) Fire Ready Kit (x).
This is one of the finer documents that has ever been produced, this document is the complete, all you need to know guide for bushfires. Many of the figures I use are found in this document as they are so far superior to anything else that is or has been available.
When a fire is approaching it’s rate of spread or speed is influenced by the topography
Lets make a comparison between a fire traveling up hill and down hill. Which one will be faster?
Uphill is the answer.
When a fire is traveling uphill the front of the fire is tilted with the wind that is driving the fire. as the angle increases of the ground beneath the flames are coming into contact with increasingly more fuel. It will ignite more the the debris and thus spread faster through the vegetation.
For every 10 degrees increase in slope angle the rate of fire spread is doubled. In the same fashion for every 10 degrees decrease in slope angle the rate of fire spread halves.
I have put together a video which looks at the some of the aspects of Climate and Weather which have influences on bushfire risk and behaviour.
[Original Prezi here]
This video I put together uns through fuel, which is for the majority made up of the vegetation in an area.
[Original Prezi here]
That sums up the basic workings of a fire and some of the factors influencing it.
From prezi video; Weather and Climate:
Ruthrof, K. X., et al. (2016). “How drought-induced forest die-off alters microclimate and increases fuel loadings and fire potentials.” International Journal of Wildland Fire: -.
From prezi video; Fuel:
DPAW (2013, 3 September 2014). “Fuel loads and fire intensity.” Retrieved 14 May 2016.