NZ research presented at Portugal fire conference

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Research being conducted as part of the New Zealand rural fire research programme was presented recently at the International Conference on Forest Fire Research (ICFFR) in Coimbra, Portugal.

Using the 2017 Port Hills wildfire as an example, Scion social scientist Lisa Langer presented on the need to consider more urban city dwellers as a new audience for rural-urban interface fire issues. Like the recent Portugal and Californian wildfires, the Port Hills fire impacted more densely populated urban areas than those traditionally considered at risk from wildfires. These more urban areas require increased attention by fire managers, to ensure residents are aware of the risk of wildfires and educated on appropriate mitigation options so they are also prepared to face the risks of potentially devastating wildfires in the future. This research forms part of work being undertaken within the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges programme.

Findings from the first phase of experimental burns conducted in NZ to test the convective fire spread theory were also presented by our U.S. collaborators from the USFS Missoula Fire Sciences Lab. This included results from the crop stubble burns completed in March, as well as new instrumentation development and future plans to conduct burns in shrub (gorse) and wilding conifer fuel types. This research is a major component of the MBIE Extreme Fire programme, and is a collaboration between Scion, the Missoula Fire Science Lab, San Jose State University and University of Canterbury’s Geography Dept.

Copies of papers for each of the presentations are available:

and the full conference proceedings is available here.

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