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Lessons learned from a multidisciplinary investigation into the Waroona fire

TitleLessons learned from a multidisciplinary investigation into the Waroona fire
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsPeace, M, Kepert, JD, McCaw, L, Burrows, ND, Santos, B, Fawcett, RJB
Conference NameAFAC17
Date Published09/2017
PublisherBushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Conference LocationSydney

The Waroona fire burnt over 68,000 ha and destroyed more than 160 homes in southwest Western Australia in January 2016.   This conference paper is an abbreviated and less technical version of a longer case study that has been submitted to the Journal of Southern Hemisphere Earth Systems Science (Peace et al., 2017). More detail and supporting analysis is contained in the JSHESS version and interested readers are directed there.

Our investigation revealed processes that contributed to four episodes of extreme fire behaviour and the findings are highly relevant to other fires where extreme fire behaviour may develop. This study draws on two reports that highlight the difference between observed FDI's and fire activity at Waroona (Bureau of Meteorology, 2016 and McCaw et al., 2016).

There were two pyroCb events; both were associated with anomalously fast fire spread in the prevailing winds; one ignited new fires downwind and the other was against normal diurnal timing. Two evening ember storms occurred; the first impacted the town of Waroona and on the second evening, there were two fatalities when the fire made an unexpected run and produced a destructive ember storm over the town of Yarloop.

Refereed DesignationNon-Refereed

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