Planned burning in Tasmania. II. Fire risk assessment and the development of a standardised Burn Risk Assessment Tool (BRAT)
Marsden-Smedley, JB and Whight, S, Planned burning in Tasmania. II. Fire risk assessment and the development of a standardised Burn Risk Assessment Tool (BRAT), Tasforests, 19 pp. 109-121. ISSN 1033-8306 (2011) [Refereed Article]
Fire risk assessment is a standardised process used to identify whether or not a planned burn will achieve its stated aims, whilst also determining the potential consequences should the fire escape. As such, it is a critical component of the planning and approval process for planned burning. Fire risk assessment can also be used to predict the impacts (positive and negative) of different fire management strategies, including changes in the amount and location of planned burns, or changes in resource level and location. An important aspect of fire risk assessment is the requirement for practitioners to explicitly consider all of the major components of the burn, and in doing so identify what part of the burn is having the greatest influence on the risk profile. The Burn Risk Assessment Tool (BRAT), originally developed by Slijepcevic et al. 2007), is used to perform this assessment and provides a standardised, objective, consistent and repeatable framework for assessing planned burn risks. The BRAT provides information on the risk of fires escaping (i.e. likelihood of impact), potential of escapes to do damage (i.e. consequence), effect of strategies used to reduce the probability of escapes, and potential for the burn to meet fire management objectives. The BRAT assesses these impacts, consequences and benefits both categorically and numerically. The BRAT also predicts fire behaviour during the planned burn along with the likely behaviour in surrounding vegetation should the fire escape.