20 years service to the rural fire sector celebrated
These tools are designed to indicate how fast, and how severely, a fire is likely to burn in different vegetation types. Senior fire researcher, Grant Pearce says that rural fire-fighters no longer have to rely solely on experience, gut-feeling and prayer. For every wildfire that breaks out in New Zealand there is a fire manager reaching straight for field manuals or calculators produced by Scion.
“We have come a long way in 20 years. Forest and rural fire agencies now have access to a range of fire behaviour models specifically for New Zealand vegetation types,” he explains. “These tools started out as paper-based lookup tables and field manuals. Over time, we evolved these into software applications, which are now being designed to run on smartphones.” Scion established the fire research group 20 years ago when forest and rural stakeholders recognised the need for improved knowledge of New Zealand fire conditions.
National Rural Fire Officer Murray Dudfield from the New Zealand National Rural Fire Authority says end users are pleased with progress made by the forest and rural fire research programme over the past 20 years. “In the late 1980s, the school of hard knocks could only take us to a certain point. With the help of science, we have taken forward steps in the effective management of fire in our forest and rural landscape.”
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