Issue 273 – Disaster resilience

In a year beset by extreme events, this month we’re focusing on disaster resilience. Our researchers are helping Australia better understand, respond to and prepare for these extreme events and emergency situations – from bushfires to floods, from hailstorms to droughts. In this edition, we look at flood forecasting, hazard reduction burning and more.

A Queensland bushfire resilience guide for homeowners was named a state finalist in the Resilient Australia Awards in Brisbane on October 6, 2021. Review the guide's top tips below.

Diagram showing resilience planning

Recent extreme climate and disaster events are fresh in our minds given the summer of 2019/20. So it's timely to question what we can do to build climate and disaster resilience to support our communities, the economy and our environment.

Plants resprouting from a tree trunk after fire

Australia is one of the most fire-prone countries on earth. Last summer, as the fires raged, so did the national debate: could we have done more to prevent the carnage? Should we have done more hazard reduction burning?

A map of NSW.

The new NSW Spatial Digital Twin will assist emergency services in developing effective emergency management strategies ahead of the upcoming bushfire season.

Two people in flood waters, one holding a dog

As our climate changes, we'll experience more extreme weather. We're researching how we can create better cities that can withstand heavy rains and floods.

Aerial image of south-western Victoria. A red dot shows Cobden and there is a trail of smoke blowing to the west.

In recent years there has been an increase in the occurrence of peat fires. Smoke from these events can significantly impact surrounding communities due to the health risks associated with prolonged poor air quality. Using an air quality forecasting system (AQFx), CSIRO researchers are helping authorities to minimise this impact.

A dam wall and water

A new national forecasting service is giving dam operators, river managers – even kayakers – a clearer picture of river and stream flows up to a week in advance. Paradoxically, uncertainty is a key to more reliable forecasts.

Two people in protective clothing by a fire

With a view of bushfires from the ground to the air, CSIRO scientist Matt Plucinski wants Australians to learn from the other crisis of 2020.