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Extreme fire research

Scion’s Rural Fire Group carried out a number of experimental burns in wheat stubble paddocks in 2019, and a major activity this year was organising a series of controlled fires in the Rakaia Gorge involving highly flammable gorse vegetation.

The burns took place in March with extensive support from US fire researchers and local Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) and DOC rural firefighters, and were very successful. The fires enabled a range of new sensors and technology to be tested and provided valuable data that will be used to improve fire spread prediction models for gorse and other vegetation types.

These latest gorse burns also provided further validation of the new theory on the importance of convective heat transfer in wildfire spread. A final series of experimental burns in heavier wielding pine vegetation are planned in the Mackenzie country in 2021, but these may be delayed if US fire researchers are unable to travel to New Zealand.

Lots more information and dramatic photos at the following links:

Plus the Rural Fire Group’s web blogs:

Plus videos – there is now a Scion Rural Fire Research YouTube video channel which contains a number of videos from the recent gorse and previous stubble burn experiments burns.   Fire Research videos