China looks to ANU for bushfire help

12 March 2014

Officials from China's State Forestry Administration have visited ANU to gain expert insights into the prevention and science of bushfires.

Hosted by the Fenner School of Environment and Society, the 20-member delegation from China also discussed the legal and political issues surrounding bushfires.

"Although we are very different countries, there are many fundamental issues of common interest around wildfires and bushfires," said Professor Stephen Dovers, Director of the Fenner School.

"China has large areas of forest with people living on the edges, and like Australia, it is a country with varied climatic zones. China is a very different environment, but we can learn a lot from each other about preventing disasters."

He said the two sides discussed issues round the science of fires, and the social, legal and political issues around major fires.

ANU is playing a lead role in a new national Cooperative Research Centre into Bushfires and Natural Hazards.

The delegation from China was led by Ms Tang Xiaowen, from the State Forestry Administration, while the ANU team was led by Professor Dovers and Associate Professor Geoff Cary from the Fenner School, and Associate Professor Michael Eburn from the ANU College of Law.

Associate Professor Cary presented recent research on minimising risk of adverse outcomes in bushfires, and computer modelling of fires in varied climate change scenarios.

Associate Professor Eburn examined legal principles around bushfire prevention and highlighted lessons from recent cases of bushfire litigation.