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.