Project Vesta was a comprehensive research project to investigate the behaviour and spread of high-intensity bushfires in dry eucalypt forests with different fuel ages and understorey vegetation structures. The project was designed to quantify age-related changes in fuel attributes and fire behaviour in dry eucalypt forests typical of southern Australia.
The four main scientific aims of Project Vesta were: To quantify the changes in the behaviour of fire in dry eucalypt forest as fuel develops with age (i.e. time since fire); To characterise wind speed profiles in forest with different overstorey and understorey vegetation
structure in relation to fire behaviour; To develop new algorithms describing the relationship between fire spread and wind speed, and fire spread and fuel characteristics including load, structure and height; and to develop a National Fire Behaviour Prediction System for dry eucalypt forests.
These aims have been addressed through a program of experimental burning and associated studies at
two sites in the south-west of Western Australia.
Fuel moisture and drought conditions
Fire behaviour experiments
Flame dimensions and temperatures
Prediction of fire behaviour in open eucalypt forest
The contribution of bark as fuel
Spotting behaviour and firebrand distribution