Fire investigators arrive in Bendigo

Updated November 6 2012 - 2:55pm, first published February 19 2009 - 1:00am
FACT FINDING: Mark Klop and David Castellar from the Tasmanian Fire Service and Heath Langdon from the NSW Fire Brigade tour Bendigo’s bushfire sites.

INDEPENDENT fire investigators have visited Bendigo to look at key issues relating to the city’s most devastating natural disaster.The Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre has assembled a team of researchers from various state fire agencies and research organisations for the project.The aim is to provide Australian land management agencies with an independent analysis of the factors surrounding the series of fires across the state.Their results will also assist with the Royal Commission, and other investigations and inquiries into Black Saturday.The researchers have expertise in building analysis, human behaviour, community education, bushfire behaviour, fire weather and fire investigation.Four research teams are looking at the effects of a selected sample of fires to gain a broader understanding of all the blazes across the state.Researchers are looking at which fires were ordinary, extreme or extraordinary.Extraordinary fires exhibit behaviour outside known experience.The teams are focusing on four key areas: Fire behaviour, including how the fires moved across different landscapes, different vegetation and under variable weather conditions; Human behaviour and community safety issues, including decision making by residents, community responses to bushfire warning messages, and the implications of such events on policy; Building and planning issues, including patterns of loss and survival of buildings and structures, the notion of defendable space, and planning and building controls and their effect on patterns of building losses; and Arson and the role it played in the fires.The CRC held similar research after the tragic Canberra fires in 2003, and on the Eyre Peninsula in 2005.