Will your House Survive?
This calculator is based solely on research into house losses that
occurred during the 1983 Ash Wednesda fire at Mount Macedon, Victoria. It
is for houses exposed to a forest fire which is driven by strong winds on
a very hot day i.e. extreme fire weather conditions. In a forest, assume
the calculator maybe in error by +or- 15%. In grassland or other fuel
types it should be useful but less accurate.
Assessing the bushfire hazard of houses: a quantitative
approach. A.A.G. Wilson (1984) Technical Paper No. 6, National
Centre of Rural Fire Research.
Fight or Flee? - a case study of the Mount Macedon bushfire.
A.A.G. Wilson and I.S. Ferguson (1984). Australian Forestry Vol. 47.
Predicting the probarbility of house survival during bushfires.
A.A.G. Wilson and I.S. Ferguson (1986). Journal of Environmental
Management Vol. 23.
COMMENTS FROM THE AUTHOR:
tested no guarantees regarding the accuracy of the calculations are
Is the most important factor which determines house survival. Intensity
can be reduced by decreasing the available FUEL on the ground within at
least 40 metres of the house.
Near a house they increase the hazard by a small amount, if however the
fuel load on the ground is reduced then trees can be retained.
To measure fuel load measure a 1 metre by 1 metre square on the ground.
Collect all the dead fuel that is thinner than a pencil and weigh it.
Divide this weight by 100 and you have the fuel load in tonnes/hectare.
For accurate results obtain several samples around the house and
average the values.
During a fire it is important for house survival. Well prepared people
who stay at a properly prepared house throughout a fire can extinguish
small fires and thereby stop a house from burning down. Evacuations just
before a fire arrives are risky. A house or similar building is
the safest refuge during a fire since it will protect you
from the radiant heat of the fire.