Understanding fire

CSIRO researchers study the behaviour of bushfires, how to build better homes and better protect fire fighters. They acknowledge the invaluable contributions of communities and volunteer fire brigades with whom they work to collect the critical data and scientific evidence to improve our understanding of bushfires and, ultimately, save lives in the future.

houses destroyed by fier with sea in the background

Out of the ashes of the Tathra bushfire, and stories of heartbreaking loss and survival, a picture is emerging of how research is helping to save properties and improve bushfire outcomes.

Grass on fire with firefighters in background

A lot has been learned about fire behaviour from the bushfires that have lashed the Australian continent in the past. But to really refine fire behaviour knowledge, researchers need to put their hypotheses to the test through carefully orchestrated large-scale field experiments.

couple being interviewed

"It doesn’t matter how many fire hoses you have, you can’t be everywhere at once." So how do you plan ahead for all the decisions you might need to take in the midst of catastrophe? That includes when and where to take shelter.

burned, red outback

Portugal has again been in the grip of wildfires this northern summer. The devastating human and financial toll of bushfires is felt across the globe. In Australia, CSIRO is using expert knowledge and the latest technology to pinpoint areas at risk so they can be better managed into the future.

New understanding about the behaviour of 'firebrands’ from ribbon bark eucalypts suggests a change in thinking may be needed to fight fires in extreme conditions.

burnt out houses on hill slope

The devastating bushfire that tore through Wye River in 2015 has shown us that resilience to bushfires is about more than just building regulations.

burned out house

Historical data on bushfire losses reveals sobering insight about the human response to catastrophic bushfire conditions, and why our current approach is set to fail.

fire front moving across green farmland

The pressure is on to predict where bushfires will start, how fast they’ll spread and which path they’ll take. CSIRO's ‘Spark’ simulation toolkit could be a game-changer.

Bushfire burns dangerously close to residential property

The Christmas Day fires that struck the Victorian town of Wye River are an example of how to get emergency responses right.