Photo © Lachie McCaw/Parks and Wildlife

For many years, the Department of Parks and Wildlife (and its former agencies) has undertaken a comprehensive fire research and development program in Western Australia. The department's current research themes include:

  • fire threat analysis
  • fuel assessment and management
  • fire behaviour
  • fire and biodiversity
  • fire ecology
  • fire suppression.

Parks and Wildlife also collaborates with organisations such as universities, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Bureau of Meteorology on a number of research projects.

The department’s fire research scientists are involved with projects of national and international significance. Parks and Wildlife scientists Dr Neil Burrows, Dr Lachie McCaw and Dr Ian Radford are renowned for their work on fire behaviour and the impact of fire on the environment.

A number of Commonwealth Bushfire Co-operative Research Centres (CRC), such as the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC also assist in ensuring the results of bushfire research is quickly passed on to Australia’s fire agencies, land managers and communities.

Parks and Wildlife research reports  and science information sheets detail some of the more important work in WA over the last two decades.

Fire behaviour trials in the northern jarrah forest

This video was taken on 6 March 1999 in northern jarrah near Collie, WA, as part of a series of experiments on fire behaviour conducted by the department and CSIRO. One hundred and four experimental fires were conducted in jarrah forests throughout the south-west of WA with fuel ages varying between two and 22 years.

In this particular video, the fire was initially trickling along, with flame heights of approximately 30cm. Following a wind change, which was expected and calculated for this trial, the flame heights increased to 3-5m and the fire intensity increased rapidly. It takes less than three minutes from ignition to engulf the area and burn everything in its path.

Links and interesting articles