Improving Burnover Protection for Australian Bushfire Appliances - Abstract

The following is reprinted here with the permission of the author and is a reproduction of the "Bushfire 99" paper.

Bruce Paix has invited any interested readers to contact him with details of other cases they are aware of for inclusion in the database.

Jervis bay Burnover


Death by fire continues to be an important occupational hazard for bushfire-fighters. This paper analyses 37 serious fire appliance burnover incidents from Australia, the United States and Europe since 1980.

The circumstances leading up to entrapment and the performance of protective devices, including Crew Havens, Radiant Heat Curtains and Spray Systems is discussed. Most entrapments resulted from sudden changes in fire intensity and direction, usually following a wind change. Sheltering within the appliance appears to be the best option for mounted crews, although the windows and door trims remain vulnerable to the effects of radiant heat.

  1. Improving Burnover Protection for Australian Bushfire Appliances
  2. Burnover incidents in Australia since 1980
  3. Burnover incidents outside Australia since 1980


  1. CFS. (1999). South Australian Country Fire Service. 20 Richmond Rd, Keswick, 5035.
  2. CFA. (1999). Country Fire Authority of Victoria. 8 Lakeside Dr, Burwood East, Victoria.
  3. RFS. (1999). New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Unit 3, 175-9 James Ruse Dr, Rosehill, 2142.
  4. Cheney NP. (1972). Forestry and timber bureau studies human behaviour in bushfires don’t panic and live. Nat/Dev Sept (CSIRO Division of Forestry.)
  5. Mangan R. (1997). Surviving Fire Entrapments. Report no 7E62P87, US Department of Agriculture Forest Service. (Missoula Technology and Development Centre, Montana.)
  6. McArthur AG, Douglas DR and Mitchell LR. (1966). The Wandillo Fire, 5 April 1958. Forest Research Institute. Forestry and Timber Bureau. (Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra).
  7. Carter E and Milton B. (1994). Internal combustion engine performance on the fireground. Int J Wildland Fire 4 (2):83-91
  8. Knight I. (1988) What intensity of fire can a firefighter survive in a reflective shelter. Fire Technology Nov. 312-331.
  9. Bond A and Cheney NP. (1986) A discussion paper on techniques and equipment for bush firefighters entrapped by fire. (CSIRO National Bushfire Research Unit), Dec.
  10. Cheney NP. The safety of Bushfire fighters.


Thankyou to the many people who helped with this paper, especially the burnover survivors who consented to talk about their experiences, and to Arthur Tindall, Helen Pereira, Martyn Kiellor, Jason Greenlee and Dick Mangan.

Reprinted here with permission of :
Bruce Paix MB,BS (Adel) B.Med.Sc (hons)
South Australian Country Fire Service

Last updated 4 November 2014