The fourth annual Australian Bushfire Building Conference, Forum & Expo, held from September 6-8, has been hailed as the biggest and best yet by delegates and attendees.
The event, an initiative of Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise (BMEE), seeks to position the Blue Mountains as a centre of excellence in the understanding of, and protection from bushfires.
This year the event had a national focus, and the industry Conference on Friday September 7 drew 240 delegates from around Australia, a 36% increase on 2017 numbers. The free, public Community Day also showed a 36% increase in attendance, with 1,500 visiting on the day.
Bernie Fehon, CEO of BMEE, said “This annual event has positioned the Blue Mountains community as leaders in the area of bushfire resilience. What started as a response to our own bushfires in 2013 has grown into something much bigger, helping communities Australia-wide become more bushfire-aware and resilient whilst delivering significant economic benefits to our region.”
At the Conference at the Fairmont Resort in Leura, delegates heard experts from the NSW Rural Fire Service and CSIRO presenting alongside bushfire researchers, architects and other specialists, including international guest speaker Dr Chris Dicus sharing learnings from the 2017 California wildfires.
Everything from design innovations to changes in bushfire building regulations was discussed, with healthy debate in many areas showing that the conference is serving its purpose as a forum to push the envelope in how we talk about, reach agreement and move forward in our management of bushfire risk.
The Conference also included a full-day tour of the 2013 Blue Mountains fire grounds led by architect Nigel Bell, with delegates taken through Springwood, Winmalee, Yellow Rock and Mt Victoria to see houses that survived and those that were rebuilt to fire zone regulations following the fires.
The Community Day on Saturday September 8 at the Blue Mountains Community Hub in Springwood featured NSW Rural Fire Service, bushfire specialists and a wide range of bushfire protection companies sharing their knowledge in packed forum sessions. Meanwhile the Expo provided visitors an opportunity to see bushfire building products for themselves and speak face to face with suppliers, consultants and other bushfire experts about their individual needs.
In another first, ABC Radio Sydney broadcasted live from the event, with presenter Simon Marnie interviewing bushfire experts from the Hub’s forecourt. To hear the broadcast on demand, visit ab.co/2QvZMjM
“We’d like to extend our thanks once again to our Major Partner for the event, the NSW Rural Fire Service, and welcome Destination NSW as our Strategic Partner.” said Mr Fehon.
“We’d also like to recognise our other Partners in helping to stage the event: the Fire Protection Association of Australia, Housing Industry Association of Australia, Master Builders Association of NSW, Building Designers Association of Australia and of course Blue Mountains City Council”, he added.
View the full article on the 2018 Bushfire Building Conference in the Blue Mountains Gazette.