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The impacts of Andropogon gayanus (gamba grass) invasion on the fire danger index and fire management at a landscape scale

Setterfield, Samantha A., Rossiter-Rachor, Natalie A., Douglas, Michael M., McMaster, Damien, Adams, Vanessa M. and Ferdinands, Keith B. (2014). The impacts of Andropogon gayanus (gamba grass) invasion on the fire danger index and fire management at a landscape scale. In: 19th Australasian Weeds Conference: Science, Community and Food Secrurity: the Weed Challenge, Hobart, Australia, 1-4 September 2014.

Document type: Conference Paper
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IRMA ID 84373604xPUB50
Author Setterfield, Samantha A.
Rossiter-Rachor, Natalie A.
Douglas, Michael M.
McMaster, Damien
Adams, Vanessa M.
Ferdinands, Keith B.
Title The impacts of Andropogon gayanus (gamba grass) invasion on the fire danger index and fire management at a landscape scale
Conference Name 19th Australasian Weeds Conference: Science, Community and Food Secrurity: the Weed Challenge
Conference Location Hobart, Australia
Conference Dates 1-4 September 2014
Conference Publication Title AWC Proceedings 19th Australasian Weeds Conference (2014)
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher Tasmanian Weed Society
Publication Year 2014
ISBN 978-0-646-92454-0   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 125
End Page 128
Total Pages 4
HERDC Category E1 - Conference Publication (DIISR)
Abstract Effective fire management relies on the ability to assess the potential risk that a fire event poses to the community so that fire managers can ensure sufficient resources are available to respond to unplanned fires. Fuel loads are a major contributor to fire risk and any significant changes to fuel load should be incorporated into fire risk models. An example is the invasion of Australia’s tropical savannas by the high biomass African grass Andropogon gayanus Kunth (gamba grass). Fine fuel load (grass and twigs <6 mm) in a heavily invaded landscape has increased from 6 to 10 t ha−1. Consequently, in 2010, the Bureau of Meteorology created two 20 km 2 radius ‘primary response zones’, which are defined areas of dense invasion in the greater Darwin region in which fire risk is assessed using an estimate of increased fuel load. In this paper, we quantify the effect of the increased (invaded) fuel load on the assessment of fire risk. We do this by modelling the daily McArthur Mark 4 Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) for the fire seasons in 2012 and 2013 using both native (6 t ha−1) and invaded fuel loads. We show that the number of days with GFDI >50 (the threshold for fire weather warnings and fire bans) has increased and the length of the severe-risk fire season has extended, resulting in substantial increases in fire management costs. This has safety and resource implications for fire manage-
ment agencies as the area of invasion increases across northern Australia.
Keyword Andropogon gayanus
Exotic grass
Strategic weed management
Management costs
Description for Link Link to published version
URL http://www.caws.org.au/awc_contents.php?yr=2014
 
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Created: Wed, 19 Aug 2015, 16:40:47 CST