Scion’s research enables New Zealand fire agencies to respond effectively when wildfires break out.

We focus on developing practices and tools to promote safe and effective decision making during rural fire incidents, particularly relating to firefighter and community safety. 

We aim to:

  • Quantify resource productivity and fire suppression effectiveness.
  • Develop models and/or guidelines for predicting the productivity and effectiveness of fire suppression resources and firebreaks in different fuel types.
  • Develop spatial tools to model fire spread to support fire suppression decision-making.

Current and recent research in this area includes:

  • Resource productivity – measurement of firefighter fitness, workload and productivity during live fire incidents (not simulated exercises), using leading-edge technology to measure and understand the workload and stresses of a rural firefighter. This will assist in developing fitness and work/rest guidelines to ensure firefighters are safe and adequately equipped.
  • Fire Behaviour Toolkit – a software package that allows fire management personnel to calculate important fire behaviour parameters quickly and easily, using all the current fuel and fire behaviour models for the NZ fire environment.
  • New Zealand Fire Behaviour Prediction Manual – a paper-based manual version of the software toolkit containing look-up tables for predicting fire behaviour and other parameters for use in the field and planning by fire managers.
  • Spatial Fire Growth Models – evaluating the suitability for New Zealand of existing fire growth simulation models for predicting the spatial growth of wildfires, and the development or adaptation of a simulation model to incorporate New Zealand fuel types and fire behaviour models.