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Fuel, Weather and Fire Behaviour

Second Edition

Phil Cheney  
Andrew Sullivan  

Colour illustrations
160 pages, 248 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Paperback - 2008
ISBN: 9780643093836 - AU $ 44.95

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Grassfires: Fuel, Weather and Fire Behaviour presents information from CSIRO on the behaviour and spread of fires in grasslands. This second edition follows over 10 years of research aimed at improving the understanding of the fundamental processes involved in the behaviour of grassfires.

The book covers all aspects of fire behaviour and spread in the major types of grasses in Australia. It examines the factors that affect fire behaviour in continuous grassy fuels; fire in spinifex fuels; the effect of weather and topography on fire spread; wildfire suppression strategies; and how to reconstruct grassfire spread after the fact. The three meters designed by CSIRO for the prediction of fire danger and rate of spread of grassfires are explained and their use and limitations discussed.

This new edition expands the discussion of historical fires including Aboriginal burning practices, the chemistry of combustion, and the structure of turbulent diffusion flames. It also examines fire safety, including the difficulty of predicting wind strength and direction and the impact of threshold wind speed on safe fire suppression. Myths and fallacies about fire behaviour are explained in relation to their impact on personal safety and survival.

Grassfires will be a valuable reference for rural fire brigade members, landholders, fire authorities, researchers and those studying landscape and ecological processes.


  • Expanded chapter on the myths, facts and fallacies of bushfires in regard to safety
  • Expanded discussion of the nature of Aboriginal burning
  • Expanded discussion of the complex nature of combustion of grassy fuels, including turbulent diffusion flames
  • Expanded discussion of nature of turbulent air flow over the landscape and the impact on fires
  • Additional wildfire case study, and discussion of the January 2003 Canberra fires in regard to grassfires
  • Additional figures and photos

  View a sample from Grassfires. 

 All rural fire brigade members and rural landholders, students and teachers of courses on landscape and ecological processes, rural and peri-urban dwellers, fire authorities and researchers. 

 "I found the writing easy to read, being quite conversational, even when dealing with complex material and data. Grassfires would be useful to a wide audience…and it should be a mandatory book for all landholders who own grazing land. It remains the definitive book on grassland fires and their management."
Greg Fisk, Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, Vol 17, March 2010

"The text is supported by numerous well chosen, high-quality photographs and diagrams…In summary, Grassfires presents a solid review of the theoretical aspects of fire behaviour, which underpins the practical aspects of fire suppression in a grasslands environment."
F Patrick Graz, Austral Ecology, Vol 34, 2009


 Phil Cheney is one of the foremost experts on the behaviour of bushfires in the world, with over 40 years’ experience in all aspects of bushfire research. His work forms the basis of operational fire behaviour prediction systems used across Australia and improves the safety of bushfire fighters and the general public.

Andrew Sullivan has been involved in bushfire research since joining CSIRO in 1991 and recently completed a PhD study of the competitive thermokinetics of the combustion of bushfire fuels. He has contributed to the development of fire spread prediction software, models of radiant heat from bushfires and the study of wind and fire interaction.

Related Titles
 Incident Management in Australasia    Vegetation of Australian Riverine Landscapes    Predicting Post-wildfire Runoff and Erosion Response   The RxCADRE Interdisciplinary Fire Study    Gift Vouchers    Australian Alps    Mountain Ash  


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