Rakaia Gorge research burns thank-you

Briefing

The Scion Rural Fire Research team and its national and international research collaborators recently completed a series of very successful research burns in gorse scrub vegetation in the Rakaia Gorge.

The research team would like to pass on a very big thank you to Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Department of Conservation and, especially to the many volunteer fire crews that supported these research burns in March.

Without this support, it would not have been possible to complete this important research. The gorse burns are part of a major project investigating a new theory on the role of convective heat transfer in vegetation fire spread. If proven, this theory has the potential to significantly improve the accuracy of fire spread prediction models and our understanding of how fires transition to extreme fire behaviour. Ultimately this will change the way we train for and suppress vegetation wildfires and improve firefighter and public safety.

The research team is extremely grateful for the many hours put in by volunteers to provide suppression support and mop-up, not only during the research burns, but also for the pre-burning done to remove surrounding fuels to reduce the risk of the research burns from escaping. It is hoped that the many long days put in provided learning opportunities for personnel to observe high-intensity fire behaviour, gain light-up and suppression experience, and to interact with research team members including our international collaborators.

By way of appreciation, please see specific thank-you comments made by research team members and collaborators contained in the slides above. A link is also provided here to a video that showcases the support received from the volunteers to the Rakaia Gorge research burns. We welcome FENZ and fire crews circulating this video link.

The Scion fire research team’s new Youtube channel also contains a number of other videos from the Rakaia gorse burns, and earlier stubble burns as part of the project. Further information on the research burns, including project updates and results, can also be found on the Rural Fire Research website and by subscribing to our web blog.

Thank you once again to all the volunteers and staff from FENZ and DOC for your support of the research burns, and wider Rural Fire Research programme.

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