Bushfire & Climate

Subject FRST90025 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

March, Creswick - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 16-Feb-2015
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 13-Mar-2015
Assessment Period End 22-May-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 18-Feb-2015
Census Date 13-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 17-Apr-2015

This subject involves field trips.

This subject has pre-teaching a pre-teaching period: A brief review of literature and other sources to identify and assess the relative importance of sources and sinks of energy for bushfires will be required by the first day of teaching and will form part of the bushfire energy assignment due at the end of the intensive teaching period.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hrs lectures and 36 hrs practical work delivered in a two week teaching block.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. This course requires all students to enrol in subjects where they must actively and safely contribute to field excursions and laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Subject Coordinator and Disability Liaison http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/ students email: disability-liaison@unimelb.edu.au


Assoc Prof Kevin Tolhurst


Graduate School of Science


Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)
Email: 13MELB@unimelb.edu.au


Assoc Prof Kevin Tolhurst kgt@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

The course covers the fundamentals of forest fire behaviour and the factors affecting it including fuels, weather, topography, fire scale and climatic conditions. This knowledge will be the underlying understanding required for the planning and execution of prescribed burning for land management and to understand the fundamentals of wildfire suppression strategies and tactics.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the subject students should:

  • Have an understanding of the importance of fuel characteristics including composition and structure on forest fire behaviour. In particular, an understanding of the importance of fuel moisture, fuel availability, fine fuels, live fuels, coarse fuels, fuel accumulation and decomposition processes and assessment and mapping of fuels.

  • Have an understanding of the fundamentals of fire behaviour, in particular, the processes of pyrolysis, combustion, and heat transfer. At a broader level, the effects of fuel, weather, topography, fire scale, and spotting on fire behaviour, how to use fire behaviour prediction models, computer based models and the use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to make fire behaviour predictions.

  • Have an understanding of the effects of climate and weather patterns on fire occurrence and behaviour. Learn how to use weather observations and forecasts to predict fire behaviour.

  • Have a knowledge of the science of prescribed burning including the importance of lighting patterns, fuel moisture, ignition technologies, and fire impacts.

  • Have an understanding of fire suppression strategies, fire suppression tactics, suppression tools and incident control structures.


Several small daily online “quizzes” – 20%,

Bushfire energy assignment (1500 words) – 30% due at the end of the intensive subject,

Major assignment (2500 words) – 50% due 4 weeks after the intensive subject.

Prescribed Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: http://graduate.science.unimelb.edu.au/master-of-forest-ecosystem-science

This subject can be taken as part of the Graduate Certificate/Diploma in Bushfire Management, and the
Graduate Certificate/Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management.

Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Bushfire Planning and Management
Graduate Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management
Master of Architecture
Master of Architecture
Master of Design (Urban Design)
Master of Forest Ecosystem Science
Master of Urban Design
Master of Urban Planning
Postgraduate Certificate in Bushfire Planning and Management
Postgraduate Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 point Master of Architecture
300 point Master of Architecture
Climate Change
Climate Change
Environmental Science
Environmental Science
Sustainable Forests
Sustainable Forests
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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