This page displays the latest in Rural Fire Research.
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What's new in Rural Fire Research?
Fire research experimental burns, April 2016
Frequently Asked Questions about Scion's experimental wilding burns, March-April 2016 [27 Kb PDF]
Fire research experimental burns, October-November 2015
Fire research experimental burns, October 2015 [540 Kb PDF]
Scion fire scientists and Canterbury rural firefighters are conducting controlled fire experiments on blocks of wilding conifers during October - November 2015.
Frequently Asked Questions about Scion’s experimental wilding burns, October 2015 [39 Kb PDF]
Read and listen to the Radio New Zealand coverage of the Wilding pine burns, 21 October 2015 [19' 14']
Read the article from The Timaru Herald, 21 October 2015
Fire research experimental burns, April 2015
Fire research experimental burns, April 2015 [946 Kb PDF]
Scion fire scientists and Canterbury rural firefighters are conducting a series of controlled fire experiments on blocks of wilding conifers, at Pukaki Downs Station on the Mount Cook Highway, after Easter.
Frequently Asked Questions about Scion’s experimental wilding burns, April 2015 [30 Kb PDF]
Rural Fire Research Highlights 2014
Rural fire research highlights 2014 [1.3 Kb PDF]
These highlights are extracted from Scion’s Forest Protection Annual Science Report 2014.
Fire Technology Transfer Note
Effective communication of wildfire messages for New Zealand communities. Fttn #43. [12pg PDF, 410kb]
This Fire Technology Transfer Note summarises research on communication strategies in three rural and rural-urban interface communities. The researchers were able to recommend a new way for agencies to plan and implement future communication of fire messages.
NZ Fire Behaviour Toolkit (version 2.2)
Is now available for download free of charge from the Scion website.
This version incorporates an electronic version of the Guide to New Zealand Fuels. This is a technical guide for selecting the most appropriate fuel type for fire behaviour predictions. It provides users with a better understanding of how the fire behaviour models differ from one another, and will therefore aid in making the correct selection for fire behaviour predictions.
A copy of the research team’s activities for June – September 2014 is available. Click here to view the activities [4pg PDF, 2.6Mb]
What do Fire Danger Signs Mean (Jan. 2015)
Summertime and the living is easy, fish are jumping and the fire danger is high. But what do the familiar roadside fire danger signs really mean? Clear, colourful and simple, the signs’ message is not as obvious as it seems. The Scion Rural Fire Research Group is working with the National Rural Fire Authority after a study found that many people are not sure what the danger ratings mean, or if they apply to them.
Scion research burning bright – K1, The New Zealand Firefighter Magazine (Nov. 2014)
Fires and forestry seem like things you wouldn’t want to mix, but that is what happens at Scion, New Zealand’s Crown Research Institute for forestry. The Rural Fire Research Group, part of the Forest Protection Team, specialises in fire in forest and rural landscapes. Over the past two decades of research into rural fire management, the group has seen fire prediction, prevention, management and even firefighter fitness become increasingly high tech.
Building community awareness of fire risks (Sep. 2014)
Scion’s Rural Fire Research Team has been running hot this past year with the fire research programme again receiving Gold status in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) annual reporting round, one of only 18 awards over 250 contracts. The success is due in part to the development of new technologies, particularly fire behaviour tools such as smart phone ‘apps’, and a range of tools and recommendations for end-users based on sound science. It’s also reflective of the extensive collaboration undertaken by team members with researchers, industry groups and communities, both nationally and internationally.
Scion Annual Report Highlights 2014
See ‘Impact KPI 8: Reduce abiotic risk’ on pages 28-29 for rural fire-related activities.
Prometheus course notification: This year, the Rural Fire Research team is running two three-day courses in late September/early October on “Becoming an expert Prometheus user”. We are currently seeking nominations for these two courses. Please contact Veronica Clifford if you wish to participate: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rural Fire Research Activities: Recent activities are summarised for the period February - May 2014. [4pg PDF, 288kb]
Rural Fire Research Highlights 2013: This six page document is a chapter extracted from the annual Forest Biosecurity & Protection science report that highlights key research from Scion’s Forest Protection group, including the rural fire programme. [6pg PDF, 179kb]
Rural Fire Research Activities: Recent activities are summarised for the period December – February 2014. [4pg PDF, 256kb]
Fire Weather Index Tables for NZ (third edition) - is available for purchase using the order form. These FWI tables are priced at $25 + postage.
This version incorporates the latest fire behaviour knowledge to come out of Canada. The changes include:
- determining the Initial Spread Index (ISI) for wind speeds greater than 40km/hr.
- improvements to the table design for ease of use
Guide to New Zealand Fuels is also available for purchase using the order form.
This provides guidance on selecting the most appropriate fuel type for fire behaviour predictions. Two versions are available:
- a technical A4 guide is priced at $35 + postage. This book contains more detailed descriptions and photographs.
- a field A5 version is priced at $15 + postage. This insert can be added into your "orange fire behaviour field manual"
Note: Please pay by credit card if you do not have an account with Scion.
Rural Fire Research Activities: Recent activities are summarised for the period September – November 2013. [3pg PDF, 256kb]
2013 Science day proceedings. This document contains copies of research presentations delivered by speakers at the pre-FRFANZ conference science day. [111pg PDF, 5.44mb]
Rural Fire Research Activities: Recent activities are summarised for the period March – August 2013. [12pg PDF, 0.9mb]
Research Report: Quantifying the change in high country fire hazard from wilding trees. [65pg PDF, 1.69mb]. This project aims to provide improved knowledge for fire and land managers on the growth and geographical spread of wilding conifers, and of the impacts of wildings and their control on risk of fires and the potential fire behaviour in the high country.
Program flyer on the up and coming Science day. This science day is being held in conjunction with the NRFA and Bushfire CRC. Research presentations will be held in Queenstown a day before (30 July) the 2013 FRFANZ conference. Presentations will be delivered by the Scion rural fire research group and several international speakers. Registration is free!!
Rural Fire Research Activities: Recent activities are summarised for the period October 2012 – January 2013. [12pg PDF, 0.7mb]
FBP Annual Report: This document highlights a 20 year milestone for the rural fire team. [32pg PDF, 2mb]
The research team ran, for the first time, late night presentations to the Canterbury rural fire committee on summer student progress:
Alice Kennedy, a Industrial Design student from Massey University. Was sponsored by Tait Communications, to investigate the design and ergonomics of electronic data displays for use in high-stress environments.
Greg Signal, a Computer Science student from the University of Canterbury. Sponsored by Tait and the Computer Science Department to write a smartphone android application to access rural fire danger information.
The research team hosted Dave Thomas (a leading expert in the area of High Reliability Organizing) to undertake a total of 16 interviews of experienced fire personnel using the "deep smarts" methodology. Dave also ran two workshops for fire personnel in the Canterbury and Wellington regions.
Fire Behaviour Manual (second edition) - is available for purchase using the order form
Fire behaviour toolkit (v2.1) - is ready for download
Fire Behaviour SmartPhone App (Android only) is available for download
Research team’s activities for June – September 2012 - is available for download
Rural Fire Research Workshop: Scion hosted a very successful 4th NZ Rural Fire Research Workshop in Rotorua last week. Click here to visit the workshop page to view the proceedings.
Podcast: Grant Pearce was interviewed for a radio segment on Radio NZ – National, Our Changing World hosted by Alison Balance. The podcast is available from the RNZ website: www.radionz.co.nz/ourchangingworld.
May 2012Rural Fire Research Workshop: Latest version of the workshop programme to date.
Fire Behaviour calculator: We have developed a beta version of the Fire Behaviour Toolkit for Android Smartphone. This application is now open for testing. If you would like to test drive this application please contact us.
April 2012Registrations are now OPEN for the Rural Fire Research Workshop, visit this link to sign up.
A new research workshop date has been confirmed: 14-15 June 2012 at Scion, Rotorua.
A programme with more details on speaker presentations will follow in the next few weeks. See attached for a draft programme to date.
February 2012Rural Fire Research Activities: Recent activities are summarised for the period October 2011 – February 2012. [3pg PDF, 0.2mb]
Rural Fire Research Highlights: This four page document is a chapter extracted from the annual Forest Biosecurity & Protection science report that highlights key research from Scion’s Forest Protection group, including the rural fire programme. [4pg PDF, 1.5mb]
Fire Behaviour Toolkit version 2: A second version of the fire behaviour toolkit has just been released for download. Version 2 contains updated models for fire behaviour prediction (rates of spread and available fuel loads) and improvements to the worksheet function [exe file, 1.4mb]
Rural Fire Research Workshop:
The dates and location for the next Research Workshop have been confirmed for May 22-23rd in Rotorua. We have been fortunate to acquire Marty Alexander as a keynote speaker for this workshop. Several other international speakers are also being finalised. A program flyer will follow shortly with more detail on speakers and their topics.
Rural Fire Research Update #10: Fire danger communications - Research has been undertaken to examine the effectiveness of communications of fire danger warnings in New Zealand. [4 pg PDF, 0.4mb]
- Scion will be hosting a workshop in Rotorua on 22nd and 23rd of May. Click here for the FIRST Notice. This 2 day workshop is based on celebrating 20 years of NZ Rural Fire Research.
- Rural Fire Research Update #9 - Future Fire Danger [465 Kb, 4p.] This Research Update summaries the "Improved estimates of the effect of climate change on NZ fire danger" report. The aim of this study was to provide improved estimates of the effects of climate change on future fire danger for New Zealand.
- Annual Summary of Activities: 2010 - 2011. [161 Kb, 6p.] The Rural Fire Research team's annual summary of activities (based on the DOC annual report summarising key projects and outputs).
Rural Fire Research Activities: July – September 2011. [245 Kb, 3p.] Recent activities are summarised for the period July 2011 – September 2011.
Rural Fire Research Update #8 - Fire Climate Severity. [589 Kb, 4p.] This Research Update summaries the “Fire climate severity across New Zealand” report. The objective of this study was to provide improved information on fire climate severity across New Zealand.
Fire Technology Transfer Note # 41 What is the general public’s perception of rural fire danger communications? [443 Kb, 6p.] The material documented in this Fire Technology Transfer Note (FTTN) summarises findings of a public survey used to explore the general public’s perception of rural fire danger communication.
Fire Technology Transfer Note # 42 Mitigating the risk of human caused wildfires: literature review and stakeholder study. [445 Kb, 12p.] This Fire Technology Transfer Note summarises a report that suggests methods to mitigate the risks of human caused wildfires.
Climate Report: Improved estimates of the effect of climate change on NZ fire danger. [1.85Mb, 84 p.] This study provides improved estimates of fire danger for New Zealand under future climate.
Climate Report: Fire climate severity across New Zealand. [4.47 Mb, 86p.] The objective of this study was to provide improved information on fire climate severity across New Zealand.
Social Report: Mitigating the risk of human caused wildfires: literature review and stakeholder study. [569 Kb, 63p.] This report discusses those wildfires with a direct human cause, through malicious intent, or carelessness and accidents by recreationists and landowners.
- Click here to read the Rural Fire Research group's Highlights from August 2010 until April 2011.
- Rural Fire Research Update #7 : Rural Firefighter Workload : by Richard Parker This research aims to improve the health and safety of rural firefighters by determining, under New Zealand operational conditions, the physiological workload of firefighting tasks.
- February 2011 update was pre-empted by the Christchurch earthquake.
- Presentation and discussion material from the December 2010 Rural Fire Research workshop "Promoting Research Adoption" is now available online.
- Fire Technology Transfer Note #40 - Rory Renwick, DOC Warkworth, and Grant Pearce, Scion Christchurch, investigated fire behaviour at the Waiomu Fire which occurred on 28 January 2008, and assessed the impact that predicting and observing fire behaviour can have on fire suppression planning.
- Research Report 18088, by Sophie Hide, Dave Tappin, Lisa Langer and Stuart Anderson : Assessment of the general public's perception of rural fire danger communications, follows up on earlier studies into rural fire danger communication within New Zealand, and makes recommendations for improving fire danger communications.
Scion and the National Rural Fire Authority (NRFA) will be hosting a workshop in Christchurch on 8th and 9th of December. Click here for Third Notice. This 2 day workshop is based on promoting industry uptake of rural fire research. Speakers from Australia and New Zealand will be presenting their research or use of research based on the 4 Rs : reduction, readiness, response and recovery.
If you have not already done so, please register with Abi Davison (click here to email).
- Pamela J. Jakes, Laura Kelly, and E.R. (Lisa) Langer published a paper entitled "An exploration of a fire-affected community undergoing change in New Zealand", in The Australian Journal of Emergency Management : Volume 25, No. 3, July 2010: 48-53.
- Richard Parker and Liz Ashby report on the project outcomes of physiological workload demands on rural firefighters in New Zealand (Client Report No. 18080). Click here to view and/or download the report.
- Click here to read the highlights of the Rural Fire Research group's 2009/2010 year.