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Fire research


The philosophy underlying FIREPLAN
is to develop research projects in response to community/stakeholder requirements—as opposed to research agency core interests.

Such an approach invites the involvement of community groups and sectors which otherwise might be loathe, hostile even, to being involved with research activities (as scientifically worthwhile as these might be) undertaken in isolation.

It provides opportunities for the TS–CRC to engage the wider community in cross-cultural, cross-sectoral activities which have the potential to result in long-lasting social benefits.

Effective (“Good”) fire management is as much about improving cross-sectoral and cross-cultural understanding, as it is about better applying biophysical, scientifically-based, management principles.

Over the next few years a particular focus of FIREPLAN will be to collate and deliver fire management information relevant to the diverse information needs of savanna land managers and stakeholders.

As such, FIREPLAN contributes to all four Key Result areas, but particularly addresses the issues surrounding the development of Sustainable Management Systems.

There are a range of fire research activities in the tropical savannas. One of the most ambitious research projects is FIREPLAN, coordinated by the Tropical Savannas CRC.

FIREPLAN project continues to assist the development of, and, where feasible, contribute strategic core funding to, research initiatives which further the aims of developing sustainable fire management practices on savanna lands under all tenures, particularly in northern Australia, but also in the South East Asian region.

Currently, eight separate research activities comprise FIREPLAN , all of which contribute to the overall aims of the project. The first six activities are:

  • Major regional fire management projects in the Gulf (in partnership with MLA, began 2002). Click on the navigation bar at left to read more.
  • Investigating prescribed burning and wildfire control: Training and skills development for on-ground property level fire management in the Kimberley, WA ( also see external link to the Kimberley Fire Project at the bottom of the page .)
  • PhD fire management research program with Ergon Energy in north-west Queensland. (began 2003)
  • Evaluating fire management on conservation reserves
  • Impacts of fire and its use for sustainable land and forest management in Indonesia and northern Australia (began 2003).
  • Fire information products for the savanna community (began 2002).

New activities for 2004–05 include:

  • A four-year project, Improving estimates and management of savanna burning emissions , funded by the Australian Greenhouse Office.

  • Operational support for a PhD study by Peta Standley, addressing Indigenous fire management issues on Cape York.


  • Assist with ongoing regional fire management projects, e.g. in the Kimberley, and the Gulf region of north Queensland.
  • Assist with ongoing development and establishment of identified priority regional fire management research initiatives, e.g. Gulf MLA project, eastern Indonesia fire management project, Kimberley community fire management project, fire management on Queensland conservation reserves, etc.
  • In collaboration with regional community stakeholders and relevant research institutions and staff, promote and assist with the development of, and funding for, applied fire management research projects which have potential to deliver significant land use sustainability, conservation, and community outcomes.
  • Promote the undertaking of patchy fire regimes as part of sustainable management of lands under all tenures, but especially conservation lands, including the undertaking of demonstration and associated research activities.
  • Explore the potential for achieving improved and sustainable land management, environmental, and employment outcomes, particularly with reference to indigenous communities and lands, arising out of opportunities associated with carbon credits trading from reduced emissions from savanna fires.
  • Promote the development, wider use, and better delivery of, appropriate information packages and technological aids (including satellite imagery) for improving savanna fire management.
  • Promote linkages with other relevant research programs and institutions, e.g. Desert Knowledge and Bushfires CRCs, the Australian Greenhouse Office, etc.
  • Promote post-graduate training opportunities.