Residents urged to take part in online research

CATASTROPHIC: The Kains Flat fire was one of the challenges faced during the last fire season.
CATASTROPHIC: The Kains Flat fire was one of the challenges faced during the last fire season.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) and Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre are conducting research in to recent fire conditions and are encouraging residents to take part.

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the research will focus on community preparedness and actions taken during the fire conditions across January, February and March this year.

The local region endured a particularly difficult start to the year; the White Cedars Road, Kains Flat fire; the neighbouring Sir Ivan fire; and the District’s first day with a Fire Danger Rating of ‘Catastrophic’.

“Earlier this year, we experienced the worst ever fire weather conditions in NSW, with large parts of the state affected by forecast Catastrophic fire danger and several areas being impacted by significant fires,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“This research will help the NSW RFS and other fire services across the country better understand the community’s perception of the bush fire risk and how people prepare for it.

“The survey is looking at how people received information and warnings during the fires, to see if there are ways of improving the way we get information to communities.”

Researchers from the University of Wollongong are particularly interested in hearing from people who were in fire affected areas, as well as residents who experienced the Catastrophic fire danger during February.

The survey follows face-to-face interviews with researchers and people in bush fire affected areas earlier this year.

“It’s important that we look closely at these events, and particularly how the community responded, to learn and improve,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“This research will help all agencies better understand people’s actions and ensure lessons are continued to be learned.”

The online survey can be accessed through the NSW RFS website at rfs.nsw.gov.au/research.

The survey takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.