Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

F. Mendham, An engineered approach to bushfire management, 13th Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong, The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy & Mine Managers Association of Australia, 2013, 266-273.


In the summer of 2010 to 2011, enhanced levels of vegetation occurred across Queensland due to a number of major rainfall events. New mining operations, as well as significant coal seam gas gathering developments, were considered to be under threat from bushfire hazards during the impending dry season due to abnormal natural fuel loads. This paper outlines a risk based fire management strategy using high level multi-discipline systematic risk analysis tools, including fault tree analysis, to develop controls that were viable in terms of implementation and cost. A quantitative approach to the designation of fire risk zones was applied through the calculation of thermal radiation caused by potential fire in vegetation surrounding exposed areas. The methods used to perform these calculations were derived from the Australian Standard AS 3959:2009 - construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas. Bushfires are a significant risk in Australian conditions. Putting in place measures to protect local worker communities, process assets, cultural heritage values and the environment, was seen as essential under current and impending climatic and ecological conditions. The use of a risk based approach offered an effective, quantifiable and reproducible system to meet this challenge.