The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre and the University of Wollongong are commencing bushfire research in the Hawkesbury and are inviting Hawkesbury community members to participate by sharing their stories.
Researchers are undertaking independent research into community preparedness and responses to the 2019-20 bushfires in New South Wales. The research is funded by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) and the results will be presented to the RFS.
Research Fellow Dr Josh Whittaker from the University’s Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires said the findings from the study will be used to inform strategies to improve community bushfire safety in NSW.
“The research will be conducted throughout fire affected areas in NSW, with ten key areas identified, including areas within the Hawkesbury such as St Albans, Colo Heights and Bilpin,” Dr Whittaker said.
“We’d like to hear from a broad range of people connected with the Hawkesbury including residents, business owners, visitors and tourists about their experiences of their fire affected areas.
“We’re also keen to hear from residents and businesses about their fire preparedness,” he explained.
To participate in the research, simply complete a short form on The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre website at www.bnhcrc.com.au/research/nswfires201920 and the researchers will contact you to arrange a suitable interview time. The website provides more information about the research.
Due to COVID-19 requirements, interviews with community members will take place via phone or web conferencing (Zoom, Skype). There will also be a broader online survey as follow up.
The research team has extensive experience undertaking post-bushfire research with communities. Past studies include research into the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, the 2017 Sir Ivan, Carwoola and Currandooley fires, and the 2018 Reedy Swamp (Tathra) fire in NSW.
The Federal Government is continuing to fund natural hazards research in Australia by investing $88.1 million over the next 10 years. The funding aims to support the transition of the current Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre towards a new, world-class research centre for natural hazard resilience and disaster risk reduction. The Centre has received $2 million immediate funding to investigate key issues from the 2019/20 bushfire season.