Australia’s top bushfire researchers to present findings on Black Summer bushfires

18 August 2020, Blue Mountains, NSW— The highly anticipated Australian Bushfire Building Conference has now confirmed it will go ahead as a live and virtual event this year from Thursday, 17th – Friday, 18th September with insightful presentations from Australia’s top bushfire researchers.

Hosted by the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise (BMEE), the 6th Australian Bushfire Building Conference will explore the theme of: Stronger and Smarter – Lessons Learnt. The live event will be held in Leura at the Fairmont Resort, located in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Emergency Broadcaster ABC Radio’s Simon Marnie will be Master of Ceremonies during the morning session on Thursday.

The virtual event will be held within the OnAir from EventsAir portal, and will include online discussion groups, live polling, networking groups, and an online meeting hub to meet virtually with other like-minded industry professionals. Both the virtual and live event will operate simultaneously.

The 2020 program includes a keynote presentation from Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM, the inaugural Commissioner for Resilience NSW and former Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said with longer and more catastrophic fire seasons ahead, it is imperative to engage in further discussions that will shape the future.

“The 2019/2020 bushfires were unprecedented for NSW and the most destructive in 20 years with 2475 homes destroyed and a further 1034 damaged,” he said. “There has never been a more important time for building industry professionals to gain further insight into how bushfires operate, what we can learn from the previous season and where we can improve.”

Conference delegates will also have the opportunity to hear from the following leading Australian bushfire researchers:

  • Joshua Whittaker, Research Fellow from the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at the University of Wollongong. He will be discussing his research into resilience and community recovery after a bushfire emergency.
  • Justin Leonard, Research Leader of Bushfire Urban Design at CSIRO, will share his research findings into building performance during the 2019/20 Black Summer Bushfires.
  • Dr Grahame Douglas, ACA Bushfire Protection & Building Surveying, Construction Management at the Western Sydney University, will share his case study ‘Conjola Park: A case study of House Losses and Lessons to be Learnt.’

Dr Douglas said this case study provides some new insights into how we need to think about house losses.

“These tragic bushfire events allow us to better provide for improved design conditions when planning new or rebuilding lost homes. There are also issued to be considered by bushfire consultants and those designing buildings in bushfire prone areas.”

Topics covered across the two-day conference will look at bushfire design for BAL homes, bushfire bunker design, simulated bushfire testing, and use of new technology for bushfire preparation.

Conference tickets are $200 + GST for the Virtual Conference and $380 + GST for the Live Conference. Register online here > 

The Australian Bushfire Building Conference is proud to partner with the NSW Rural Fire Service, the Fire Protection Association of Australia and ABC Radio. The event is sponsored by TBA Firefly™, Blue Scope’s TrueCore, Architectural Window Systems, and Bushfire Control (Warrior Windows).  

For interviews, images or more information please contact Melanie O’Connell on 0409 930 777 or email