Professor Ross Bradstock will deliver the Allan Sefton Memorial Lecture. Photo: Paul Jones

Allan Sefton Memorial Lecture to focus on The Science of Bushfires

Allan Sefton Memorial Lecture to focus on The Science of Bushfires

Professor Ross Bradstock to examine the future of Australia’s fire seasons in online lecture

Professor Ross Bradstock will present the annual Allan Sefton Memorial Lecture this week, delivering an address that will focus on the wake of the devastating bushfires that engulfed Australia last summer and the role of science in preparing for the challenges of the future.

The Science of Bushfires: Toward achieving ‘peaceful co-existence’ with fire will be presented via Zoom for the first time, enabling people from all over to watch the address.

The Allan Sefton Memorial Lecture will be held on Friday, 21 August.

University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE will deliver the opening remarks.

The forested regions of eastern Australia have experienced the largest fire season in their recorded history, resulting in significant human and economic losses and major impacts on environmental processes and biodiversity.

Scientific knowledge can potentially help us to understand how, when and why fire seasons like the 2019-2020 season occur and how to deal with them in the future.

Professor Bradstock, the Director of the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at the University of Wollongong and the NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub, will draw on his extensive experience as a researcher in his lecture, which will include the questions:

  • To what degree can we predict how a fire season will unfold?
  • How much risk to lives and property can be mitigated and what are the costs?
  • What does the future hold?

Professor Bradstock will illustrate how science can illuminate difficult policy decisions, provide technological capacity to support operations, and empower individuals and communities living in fire-prone regions to be better prepare and adapt to a more flammable future.

The Allan Sefton Memorial Lecture is held annually and is named in honour of the late Allan Sefton, who was well-known as a naturalist and conservator of the environment.

The lecture was established in 1993, in recognition of his contribution to environmental science in the Illawarra. Each year, an Australian scientist is invited to deliver the lecture on a topic of environmental interest.

The online event will start at 5.15pm, via Zoom. You can register to attend the event here and a Zoom link will be sent out to attendees ahead of the event.