The future of bushfire management?

The potential role and efficacy of community groups in bushfire management: A case study analysis of volunteerism on the urban-rural boundary of Burnside, South Australia and Kalamunda, Western Australia. This research is concerned with investigating the efficacy of bushfire planning and management through the establishment of ‘Fire Catchment Management Groups’.

This research will examine two volunteer fire fighting brigades and their communities in Burnside in the Adelaide Hills, as well as Kalamunda in the hills suburbs to the east of Perth. Burnside and Kalamunda have been selected as case study sites for three reasons. First, Burnside, Kalamunda and the surrounding communities are considered peri-urban, second, they are high bushfire prone regions, and finally they both have established volunteer fire fighting organisations. In addition to the examination of local volunteer fire fighting organisations; local governments, communities and land management agencies will be encouraged to contribute to the potential establishment of ‘Fire Catchment Management Groups’ and work towards the development of community action plans.

This research will concentrate on how these groups might be established and the potential role of volunteers in effective bushfire management. This will be the first ever investigation into the management of bushfires at catchment level that explores the role of volunteer groups and local communities. The overall aim of the project is to investigate the following question: “How might volunteer community organisations best be utilised in the management and prevention of bushfires?”

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Authors J.P. Minas; J.W. Hearne

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