Bushfire community research

2015 Sampson Flat Fire Community Research

Download the full report (PDF 19.3MB)

The Sampson Flat Fire in January 2015 was the most destructive fire in the Adelaide Hills for more than 30 years, burning 12,569 hectares of public and private lands with losses including 24 homes, 146 other structures, 5 businesses and much livestock and fencing.

Following this fire, the CFS commissioned the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre to undertake research on the community's bushfire experience focusing on bushfire safety, the CFS Community Fire Safe program and information and warnings.

This report shows that although many people were well prepared for bushfire in the hills area, they struggled with the emotional strain the fire had on them and their families. It also showed some people had not undertaken any preparation and did not know what to do when threatened by a bushfire - this was particularly common for people in the the peri-urban areas.

This research is an integral part of the CFS's learning process, we need to understand how our communities react to a bushfire event and these lessons will shape the future of CFS's ongoing engagement with our communities, before, during and after bushfire.

Most importantly, it is a valuable learning process for the public, helping individuals and communities understand how to prepare and survive bushfire by learning about the experiences of those impacted and threatened by Sampson Flat Fire.

Thank you to all community members who were part of this vital research.

2014 Bushfires Community Research

South Australia experienced simultaneous and complex fires over an extended period in summer 2013-2014, with some fires that started in January continuing into February. Lightning from intense thunderstorms ignited hundreds of fires across the state, including fires in the southern Flinders Ranges (Bangor), Eden Valley and Rockleigh.

These fires provided a research opportunity to investigate bushfire risk perceptions, decision-making processes and behaviour of residents across three very different events: a rapid onset fire (Eden Valley); a long-campaign fire (Bangor); and repeat fire incidents (Rockleigh).

The CFS has been working with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre to research residents' decision-making and experiences leading up to and during the January and February bushfires of this year.

Residents were invited to take part in a state-wide online survey during May 2014 and a total of 159 face to face interviews were held in some of the fire affected areas across the state.
The CFS would like to thank everyone who has completed the online survey. A special thank you goes to those residents in the Eden Valley, Bangor and Rockleigh fire affected areas who so generously welcomed the research teams into their homes and shared their stories about their fire experiences.

Download the research report (PDF 8.0MB)

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