Bushfire science interaction in Stawell

Bushfire Science public event in Stawell - interactive pad

It's been raining, it's been pouring but what does this mean for bushfire risk and your preparations for the next fire season? An expert panel of bushfire researchers discussed bushfire behaviour, risk, and how to best communicate information at the Stawell Entertainment Centre in western Victoria in May.

The audience interacted with the speakers by voting on hand-held key pads (see photo, above) to various questions raised during the presentations.

The public event was put on by Free Range Science and hosted by RiAus (The Royal Institution of Australia) as part of its Talking Science in Regional Victoria program. This Bushfire Science event was supported by the Bushfire CRC with several researchers contributing to the program.

Two Bushfire CRC speakers headed up the program at Stawell, Researcher Dr Chris Weston, of the University of Melbourne, spoke about the role of fire in the landscape with specific references to the history of fire and the changing vegetation in this part of Victoria.

John Schauble, Acting Commissioner in the Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, talked about research conducted on how communities make a decision on whether to stay and defend their households or leave early. John is a lead end user in the Bushfire CRC program Effective Communication - Communities and Bushfire,

Michael Boatman, CFA manager of community safety for the Grampians region, showed how the research was being applied by partners in the Bushfire CRC, in particular, how the CFA was informed by research conduced on community attitudes and decision making processes.

The host for the evening was local identity Barry Clugston who balanced the discussion between the important local issues and their relation to national issues.