Bushfire Risk Management in Queensland: Issues and Strategies
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Bush fires...two words which conjure up images of destruction and despair. Constituting one of the most destructive forces of nature, their impact has been felt worldwide, extending beyond the damage caused to the physical environment, to include disruption and hardship to communities – impacts which have unfortunately been seen recently in Victoria, where over 200 lives were lost and more than 2000 homes were destroyed by bushfires in February 2009. The level of risk to communities from bush fires has been observed to be steadily increasing in urban-rural interface areas internationally. Concerns have been raised in the observation that populations are essentially being placed in harm’s way by the growing popularity of rural-style developments and eco-living trends. Understandably, significant research has been dedicated to the study of bush fires, improving our understanding of fire behaviour and progressing technical development, more recently also expanding to address the social and town planning considerations of bushfire risk management. However, relatively little research has been conducted specifically targeting bushfire risk management characteristics and requirements in Queensland. Those investigations that have been undertaken have been limited in scope, essentially being administrative in nature. Therefore, what are essentially generic research principles are being applied as the basis for bushfire risk management strategies in Queensland. The concern with this is that although bushfires will behave in a certain way in given environments, “risk” is a dynamic concept, and the implications of bushfire risk management will vary significantly with the social and organisational environment in which it occurs. Although contemporary bushfire risk management in Queensland is indeed based on established theory, in the absence of a detailed investigation into the social, organisational and physical characteristics specific to Queensland, the principles of bushfire risk management are essentially being applied in the form of a generic template, rather than the being objectively “managed”.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Griffith School of Environment
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Bushfire risk management