New books, reports and articles in the library

May 2024


Fire incidents - Australian

Emergency Management

Leadership and Management

Fire incidents - International

Australian Fire Danger Rating System

Community Engagement  

Fire management

Natural Environment

Mental Health

Fire Modelling

Meteorology/Climate Change

Safety and Health 



 Children's Bush Fire Collection 

Fire incidents - Australia

NSW Bushfires Coronial Inquiry
(Inquiry Findings and Recommendations)

Coroners Court New South Wales, March 2024

The State Coroner has completed a series of coronial inquests and inquiries relating to the 2019-20 NSW Bushfire season. This has been released in two volumes. The findings and recommendations include 28 recommendations.

Use the Coroners Court link to download the inquiry findings.

Fire incidents - International

Drivers of international fire management personnel deployed to the United States
(Journal article)

International Journal of Wildland Fire, online 15 March 2024

The rising occurrence of simultaneous large wildfires has put strain on United States national fire management capacity leading to increasing reliance on assistance from partner nations abroad. However, limited analysis exists on international resource-sharing patterns and the factors influencing when resources are requested and deployed. This study examines the drivers of international fire management ground and overhead personnel deployed to the United States. The findings indicate that international personnel sharing is more likely when the United States reaches higher preparedness levels, experiences larger area burned, and when fires pose a greater impact on people and structures. However, overlapping fire seasons can limit the ability to share resources with partner nations.

Use this CSIRO link to read the article online.

After-action report – Mauri Wildfires (US Report)

County of Maui,18 April 2024

The four main wildfires on Mauri, which ignited on August 8, 2023, had a catastrophic impact, claiming 101 lives, extensive property damage, and causing numerous injuries. The fires led to numerous missing persons, burned 6,721 acres, and resulted in the loss of 2,173 structures, with many more damaged. The financial toll is staggering, with property damages exceeding six billion dollars. This After-Action Report (AAR) focuses on the County of Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety (MFD). The primary objective of the report is to enable future enhancements to mitigate the impacts of the next major event. There are 111 recommendations in this AAR.

Use this US government link to read the report online.

Wildfires: 2023 among the worst in the EU in this century (European Commission article & report)

EU Joint Research Centre, 10 April 2024

The 2023 wildfire season in the Europe was among the worst this century, according to the European Commission reportAdvance report on Forest Fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa 2023”. More than half a million (504,002) hectares, an area twice the size of Luxembourg, was scorched by wildfires. The report shows that fires intensified during summer 2023, affecting mostly the Mediterranean region, with Greece suffering the largest single fire to occur in Europe since the 1980s.

Use this EU Joint Research Centre news link to read the article online.

The EU Advance report on Forest Fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa 2023 report is online here.

Anthropologist documents how women and shepherds historically reduced wildfire risk in Central Italy (ScienceDaily article)

University of California - Santa Cruz, 26 April 2024

Fire management lessons from the past could help to improve resilience as the Mediterranean faces increased fire risk from climate change. How traditional land management practices once greatly reduced fuel for wildfires, and how these practices were forgotten, in part due to historical politics of classism and sexism.

Use this ScienceDaily link to read the article online.

Colorado is latest state to try turning off the electrical grid to prevent wildfires − a complex, technical operation pioneered in California (News article)

The Conversation, online 12 April 2024

The U.S. power grid is the largest and most complex machine ever built. It’s also aging and under increasing stress from climate-driven disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes and heat waves. Over the past decade, power grids have played roles in wildfires in multiple states, including California, Hawaii, Oregon and Minnesota. Under extreme conditions, utilities may opt to shut off power to parts of the grid in their service areas to reduce wildfire risk. These outages, known as public safety power shutoffs, have occurred mainly in California, where wildfires have become larger and more destructive in recent decades.

Use this Conversation link to read the article online.

Wildfire Magazine - latest issue

The International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) is a professional membership association for wildland fire professionals. It publishes the magazine Wildfire quarterly. The 2024 Quarter 1 issue has been published and includes articles on creating new wind models to guage wildfire impact, IMT teams' cost accommodation comparison, wildfire risk reduction and water supply damage plus articles on leadership.

Use this IAWFlink to read the latest and archived articles online.



The fire within : a history of women wildland firefighters in the United States (Book)

By Carol Hensen, 2023

Historically considered a male-only occupation, women have a long and varied history in wildland firefighting documented back at least to the 1600s. They've served in various capacities on the fireline throughout the United States on bucket brigades, fire brigades, engine crews, hand crews, hotshot crews, smokejumpers, helicopter crews, pilots (both fixed and rotor wing), prevention, patrol, and on incident management teams. Although the story of women in wildland fire is not a new story, it is a story not yet well documented. The Fire Within is an unforgettable journey into the lives of the women who battled wildfires in our nation's forests and wildlands.

Contact the library to borrow this book. 

Development of retardant assessment methods (Pyropage Information bulletin)

CSIRO , April 2024

This CSIRO Pyropage issue details the development of a suite of test methods to quantify the effectiveness of wildfire retardants in a safe and repeatable manner and provide a sound basis for comparing products. The tests utilise a large combustion wind tunnel to provide consistent burning conditions for a standard fire burning in dry eucalypt litter and a light wind. The methods consider both the indirect and direct uses of retardant as well as aspects such as how long a product remains effective after application and the effect of coverage level. The methods and their appraisal using two commercially available wildfire retardant products as examples were recently published in a paper appearing in Fire Safety Journal, which is available upon request.

Use this CSRIO link to download the CSIRO Pyropage bulletin.

The Fire Safety Journal article is available to read online here

Fighting fire with fire (Magazine article)

Science News, 20 April 2024

This article discusses a new approach to managing wildfires that combines local knowledge and artificial intelligence. The strategy involves allowing certain wildfires to burn under controlled conditions to reduce the risk of larger, more destructive fires. The approach is guided by potential operational delineations (PODs), which divide the landscape into zones where fires can be contained. While this approach shows promise, challenges remain in keeping the PODs updated and ensuring the protection of the interests of Indigenous people who have traditionally managed the land. The article also highlights the benefits of using PODs to prioritise prescribed burns and manage fire risk.

Contact the library to request a copy of this article.


Fire Management

Incorporating burn heterogeneity with fuel load estimates may improve fire behaviour predictions in south-east Australian eucalypt forest
(Journal article)

International Journal of Wildland Fire, online 15 March 2024

Simulations of fire spread are vital for operational fire management and strategic risk planning. The authors’ aim was to quantify burn heterogeneity effects on post-fire fuel loads, and test whether modifying fuel load estimates based on the fire severity and patchiness of the last fire improves the accuracy of simulations of subsequent fires. They concluded that integration of burn heterogeneity into post-burn fuel load estimates may substantially improve fire behaviour predictions.

Use this CSIRO link to read the article online.

Severe and Short Interval Fires Rearrange Dry Forest Fuel Arrays in South-Eastern Australia (Journal article)

Fire, Vol 7, April 2024

Fire regimes have shaped extant vegetation communities, and subsequently fuel arrays, in fire-prone landscapes. Understanding how resilient fuel arrays are to fire regime attributes will be key for future fire management actions, given global fire regime shifts. We use a network of 63-field sites across the Sydney Basin Bioregion (Australia) to quantify how fire interval (short: last three fires <10 years apart, long: last two fires >10 years apart) and severity (low: understorey canopy scorched, high: understorey and overstorey canopy scorched), impacted fuel attribute values 2.5 years after Australia’s 2019–2020 Black Summer fires. Our results provide strong evidence that fire regimes rearrange fuel arrays in the years following fire, which suggests that future fire regime shifts may alter fuel states, with important implications for fuel and fire management.

Use this MDPI link to read the article online.

Fighting every wildfire ensures the big fires are more extreme, and may harm forests’ ability to adapt to climate change (News article)

The Conversation, online 25 March 2024

In the U.S., wildland firefighters are able to stop about 98% of all wildfires before the fires have burned even 100 acres. That may seem comforting, but decades of quickly suppressing fires has had unintended consequences. Fires are a natural part of many landscapes globally. When forests aren’t allowed to burn, they become more dense, and dead branches, leaves and other biomass accumulate, leaving more fuel for the next fire. This buildup leads to more extreme fires that are even harder to put out. That’s why land managers set controlled burns and thin forests to clear out the undergrowth.Fire suppression also disproportionately reduces certain types of fire. The authors discuss how this effect, known as the suppression bias, compounds the impacts of fuel accumulation and climate change.

Use this Conversation link to read the article online.

The related journal article “Fire suppression makes wildfires more severe and accentuates impacts of climate change and fuel accumulation” is online here.

Fires pose growing worldwide threat to wildland-urban interface
(ScienceDaily article)

National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, 16 April 2024

Fires that devastate wildland-urban interface areas are becoming more common around the globe, a trend that is likely to continue for at least the next two decades, new research finds. Such fires are especially dangerous, both because they imperil large numbers of people and because they emit far more toxins than forest and grassland fires. The research team, led by scientists at the U.S. National Science Foundation National Center for Atmospheric Research (NSF NCAR), used satellite observations and machine learning techniques to produce a unique database of WUI areas and fires worldwide, dating back about two decades.

Use this ScienceDaily link to read the news article online.

The related academic article published in Environmental Research Letters is available online here.

Australian Fire Danger Rating System

Introduction to the Australian Fire Danger Rating System (Journal article)

International Journal of Wildland Fire, online 18 March 2024

Fire danger rating systems are used daily across Australia to support fire management operations and communications to the general public regarding potential fire danger. In this paper, the Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) is introduced, providing a short historical account of fire danger rating in Australia as well as the requirements for an improved forecast system.

Use this CSIRO link to read the article online.

Live trial performance of the Australian Fire Danger Rating System – Research Prototype (Journal article)

International Journal of Wildland Fire, online 28 March 2024

The Australian Fire Danger Rating System program (AFDRS) has built a new fire danger rating system for Australia. A live trial of the system’s Research Prototype (AFDRSRP), based on fire behaviour thresholds, was run and evaluated between October 2017 and March 2018. Overall performance of AFDRSRP was superior to the FFDI/GFDI system (56 vs 43% correct), with a tendency to over-predict rather than under-predict fire potential. AFDRSRP also demonstrated its value to assess fire danger in fuel types not conforming to current grassland or forest models; e.g. for fuels that were grouped to use mallee-heath, spinifex and shrubland fire spread models.

Use this CSIRO link to read the article online.

Australian Fire Danger Rating System: implementing fire behaviour calculations to forecast fire danger in a research prototype (Journal article)

International Journal of Wildland Fire, online 10 April 2024

The Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) was implemented operationally throughout Australia in September 2022, providing calculation of fire danger forecasts based on peer-reviewed fire behaviour models. The system is modular and allows for ongoing incorporation of new scientific research and improved datasets.

Use this CSIRO link to read the article online.


Fire Modelling

An evaluation of wildland fire simulators used operationally in Australia (Journal article)

International Journal of Wildland Fire, online 12 April 2024

Fire simulators are increasingly used to predict fire spread. Australian fire agencies have been concerned at not having an objective basis to choose simulators for this purpose. Spatial metrics and visual aids were designed in consultation with simulator end-users to assess simulator performance. Simulations were compared against observations of fire progression data from 10 Australian historical fire case studies. No simulator was clearly superior to others. 

Use this CSIRO link to read the article online.

Emergency Management

Path of destruction : the devastation of New Orleans and the coming age of superstorms (Book)

By John McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein, 2006

McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein cut through the confusion to offer a clear explanation for the greatest natural disaster in American history. This book isn't just about the storm, those who survived, and those who didn't; it's also an account into the dreadful inadequacies that existed prior to 2005, an indictment of the Washington officials who failed to act, and a scientific investigation into why these huge storms are coming now. Brilliantly written and fiercely reported, this book is necessary reading for all who wish to understand the past, present, and future of American natural disasters.

Contact the library to borrow this book. 

Innovation and deadlock in governing disasters and climate change collaboratively - Lessons from the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia (Journal article)

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol 105, April 2024

This paper outlines the use of collaborative approaches by a climate change and disaster community of practice across seven local government areas in the Northern Rivers region, New South Wales, Australia. The region has experienced multiple large-scale flood and bushfire disasters since 2017. This ethnographic study uses established collaborative governance and adaptive governance theoretical frameworks to draw findings from: lived experiences of researchers, 22 interviews with diverse stakeholder groups, in-person and online events and the first author's research diary.

Use this Elsevier link to read the article online.

Flames of change - special report on disability inclusion in disaster risk reduction and prevention (Report)

Making Cities Resilient, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, March 2024

This Special Report strives to focus attention on the following aspects: (a) understanding the issue in relation to ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities; (b) understanding the factors and obstacles that determine the magnitude of the consequences for persons with disabilities in situations of risk and; (c) mapping the International and European frameworks for the protection of the rights of these groups of people, focusing on disaster preparedness and response. 

Use this United Nations link to read the report online.

Community Engagement

Investigating factors underlying why householders remain in at-risk areas during bushfire disaster in Australia (Journal article)

Heliyon, Vol 10, April 2024

Although most homes lack design and construction features to withstand bushfires, there is a growing trend of householders relocating to bushfire-prone areas. Notably, many bushfire-related fatalities have occurred within proximity, specifically within 100 m of bushland. Therefore, this paper explores the factors that drive householders to remain in at-risk areas, despite the imminent threat of bushfires. Thirty semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants residing in the southeastern region of New South Wales (NSW). Upon analysis, we uncovered thirty-six distinct factors that underlie householders’ choices to remain during bushfires. These factors were categorized into nine groups: protection-related, attitude-related, information-related, operation-related, road-related, shelter-related, finance-related, health-related, and rebuilding-related factors. The study underscores the importance of understanding gender-based differences and pet ownership in bushfire evacuation decisions, emphasizing the need for tailored communication strategies. These findings hold several important implications for research and practice regarding early self-evacuation from bushfires.

Use this Elsevier link to read the article online.

Natural Environment

Trends in Rescue and Rehabilitation of Marsupials Surviving the Australian 2019–2020 Bushfires (Journal article)

Animals, Vol 14, no 7, April 2024

The 2019–2020 Australian bushfire season had a devastating impact on native fauna. It was estimated that 3 billion animals were affected by the fires, but there are few accounts of the species or numbers of animals rescued and rehabilitated post-fire. We reviewed rescue, triage, rehabilitation and release reports for marsupials from two regions: the state of New South Wales (NSW) and Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Use this MDPI Animals link to read the article online. 

Mental Health

Easy target : taming the black dog (Book)

By Adam Blum, 2024

Easy Target is the inspirational story of a young man's journey from being an easy target and victim of bullying to forging fortitude and resilience in order to battle the bullies and the black dog of depression. Easy Target outlines the real-life steps Adam has taken in order to overcome his darkest days, change his mind set and transform his life. With contributing chapters by best-selling authors, this book is about change, hope, and belief for a brighter future. 

Contact the library to borrow this book. 

Moral Injury and Suicide (US Podcast)

NFPA, March 2024

In most years, more firefighters die by suicide than from accidents or injuries that happen in the line of duty, according to the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance. It’s well understood that PTSD is a huge contributor to the problem, but recently a new concept called moral injury has also become recognised as a significant factor. The podcast discusses moral injury and firefighter suicide with Jeff Dill, a licensed clinician and former battalion chief who is the founder the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance. The talk also looks at many factors—good and bad—that play a role in the overall mental health of today’s first responders.

Use this NFPA link to listen to the podcast online.

The related Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance white paper by Jeff Hill is available here.

Children and young people’s perspectives on disasters – mental health, agency and vulnerability: a scoping review (Journal article)

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, online 22 April 2024

Disasters such as flooding, earthquakes and hurricanes can have devastating impacts on children and young people’s lives, with evidence highlighting significant social and mental health consequences lasting many years. Yet other research highlights how children and young people actively contribute to disaster responses, supporting their families and communities to manage and overcome such impacts. Despite this evidence, very little research has been conducted directly with children and young people to explore their own perspectives on disasters, including the impacts on their social and emotional wellbeing, as well as their priorities for disaster planning programmes. This paper reports findings from a scoping review that examined the extant evidence base on research conducted directly with children investigating children and young people’s (0-18 years) perspectives on disasters. 

Use this Elsevier link to read the article online.

Trauma trails, recreating song lines: the transgenerational effects of trauma in Indigenous Australia (Book)

By Judy Atkinson, 2002

Providing a ground-breaking answer to the questions of how to solve the problems of cross-generational trauma, Trauma Trails moves beyhond the rhetoric of victimhood, and provides inspiration for anyone concerned about Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities today. Beginning with issues of colonial dispossession, Judy Atkinson also sensitively deals with trauma caused by abuse, alcoholism and drug dependency. Then, through the use of a culturally appropriate research approach called Dadirri: listening to one another, Judy presents and analyses the stories of a number of Indigenous people. From her analysis of these “stories of pain, stories of healing”, she is able to point both Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers in the direction of change and healing.

Contact the library to borrow this book.

Safety and Health

Age and physical activity status of Australian volunteer firefighters: a cross-sectional study (Journal article)

International Journal of Wildland Fire, online 18 April 2024

This cross-sectional study investigated the age and physical activity status of Australian volunteer firefighters. The mean age was 51.4 years. We found that volunteer firefighters were more likely to meet the national physical activity and exercise-only guidelines, but less likely to meet the strength-based training guidelines compared with the general Australian population.

Use this CSIRO link to read the article online.

Fighting fire and fumes: risk awareness and protective practices among Western Australian firefighters (Journal article)

International Journal of Wildland Fire, online 24 April 2024

Volunteer firefighters in Western Australia have a significant knowledge gap about of bushfire smoke health risks and protection. Forestry firefighters are more informed but still face issues like inadequate respiratory protection and lack of decontamination facilities. Better education and essential resources are crucial to improving safety for all firefighters.

Use this CSIRO link to read the article online.

Climate change, wildfires and human health (Policy Brief)

Climahealth, January 2024

This policy brief summarises new evidence on how climate change will increase the health risks from wildfires across the world. Key messages that emerge from the brief include the smoke contribution to respiratory, cardiovascular, and pregnancy-related health effects, increasing premature deaths; wildfire smoke can be much more toxic to human health as compared to air pollutants from other sources such as industry or power generation; and smoke from wildfires can be transported over long distances. 

Use this Climahealth link to read the brief online.

Leadership and Management

Hybrid working: from ‘the new normal’ to ‘business as usual’ (Report)

Public Service Research Group (UNSW), April 2024

It is becoming increasingly clear that while the location of work has changed to incorporate hybrid working, ways of working and managing have only changed in a limited way. The authors of this report are aware that the Australian public service (APS) is focused on identifying lessons arising from working through the pandemic and is actively examining the future of work. While these considerations are occurring, managers and supervisors may be more focused on current work, rather than future possibilities, leading them to undertake business as usual. 

Use this UNSW link to read the paper online. 

Meteorology and Climate Change

Comparing Observed and Projected Changes in Australian Fire Climates (Journal article)

Fire, Vol 7, April 2024

The Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) is the main measure used in Australia for estimating fire risk. Recent work by the authors showed that the FFDI forms stable state regimes, nominated as fire climate regimes. These regimes shifted to greater intensity in southern and eastern Australia around the year 2000 and, a decade later, further north. Reductions in atmospheric moisture were the primary contributor. These changes have not been fully incorporated into future projections. This paper compares the recent regime shifts with the most recent national projections of FFDI, published in 2015. They show that for most states and regions, the 2030 upper limit is approached or exceeded by the recent shift, except for two states with large arid zones, South Australia and Western Australia. Methods for attributing past changes, constructing projections, and the inability of climate models to reproduce the recent decreases in atmospheric moisture, all contribute to these underestimates. To address these shortcomings, we make some suggestions to modify efforts aiming to develop seamless predictions and projections of future fire risk.

Use this MDPI link to read the article online.

State of the global climate 2023 (Report)

World Meteorological Organization, April 2024

This publication provides a summary on the state of the climate indicators in 2023, with sections on key climate indicators, extreme events and impacts. The indicators include global temperatures, greenhouse gas concentration, ocean heat content, sea level rise, ocean acidification, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, Greenland ice sheet and glaciers and snow cover, precipitation and stratospheric ozone, with an analysis of major drivers of inter-annual climate variability during the year including the El Niño Southern Oscillation and other ocean and atmospheric indices.

Use this WMO link to read the report, user survey and storymap online. 


The brain that changes itself : stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science (Book)

By Norman Doidge, 2010

Psychiatrist and rersearcher Norman Doidge, MD, travelled around the United States to meet the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, and the people whose lives they've transformed - people whose mental limitations or brain damage were previously seen as unalterable, and whose conditions had long been dismissed as hopeless.  Doidge takes us onto terrain that might seem fantastic. We learn that our thoughts can switch our genes on and off, altering our brain anatomy. We learn how people of average intelligence can, with brain exercises, improve their cognition and perception, develop muscle strength, or learn to play a musical instrument - simply by imagining doing so.

Contact the library to borrow this book.

Never split the difference : negotiating as if your life depended on it (Book)

By Chris Voss, 2022

A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations--whether in the boardroom or at home. After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles, counterintuitive tactics and strategies, you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.

Contact the library to borrow this book.

The mind behind the crime (Book)

By Dr Helen McGrath and Cheryl Critchley, 2018

Nurses and neighbours, partners and parents all murderers who shocked Australia with the severity of their crimes. But what makes them tick? From feuds on the farm to the infamous Lindt Cafe Siege in Sydney, Mind Behind the Crime profiles Australia's most horrific, and often most unlikely, killers. Renowned psychologist Dr Helen McGrath and prolific journalist Cheryl Critchley, authors of the bestselling Why Did They Do It?, join forces again to unpack the crimes and discover the personality disorders of the perpetrators. They use psychoanalysis and scientific methodology to uncover the circumstances and motives of our country's most notorious murderers, and to really understand the mind behind the crime.

Contact the library to borrow this book.

Children's Bush Fire Collection

Mumma Roo and the bushfire rescue (Book)

Written and illustrated by Julie Pannell, 2024

This story is set somewhere in the Australian Bush. Mumma Roo and her Joey are filling their red wagon with rubbish that humans have left behind and putting it in a bin. Charlie Kookaburra brings them an urgent message!! A Bushfire has started, and there are baby bush animals that need saving! Mumma Roo knows just what to do. She hugs Joey," Stay with Charlie Joey, I have to go find the babies". Grabbing the wagon Mumma Roo races off. For pre-school age.

Contact the library to borrow this book.

Research news...
RFS members invited to participate in research about smoke exposure on eyes

The University of NSW invites RFS members to participate in a research survey to investigate whether repeated bush fire smoke exposure increases the risk of problems at the surface of the eye.

The researchers are seeking RFS members who have not been exposed to bush fire smoke. This group could be staff members (HQ, AC or District) or members of support brigades, peer support, etc. 

Participation will require you to attend the University of New South Wales, Randwick (Sydney) campus for a single visit of up to 60 minutes. You will receive a $20 supermarket voucher for your participation, which will help provide new knowledge on whether repeated exposure to smoke has an impact on eye health.

The flyer containing further information, including QR codes to the online consent forms, can be downloaded here or email at UNSW


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