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With the catastrophic summer bushfires in Australia’ eastern states still front of mind,prescribed burning has become a contentious topic – some scientists argue for an increase in the regime, while others are concerned about the impact on the bush ecosystem.


In The Future Of Bushfires, we hear the opinions of Dr Phillp Zylstra, an adjunct associate professor at Curtin University, whose research focuses on the drivers of fire behaviour, flammability and modelling bushfire risk. 


Dr Zylstra has developed modelling on dynamic fire behaviour that calculates the capacity for flames to ignite new leaves, branches or plants, and jump across the spaces between them. 


In this episode, Dr Zystra gives context to prescribed burning of Australian landscapes, raises questions on the effectiveness of current fire prevention strategies and discusses how our methods vastly differ from traditional Aboriginal fire practice. 


  • What is a prescribed burn? 2.13
  • What happens to the forest after a fire? 10.33
  • What we should be doing to prevent bushfires 15.50
  • The single most important thing in fire prevention 20.12
  • Fire burning strategies employed by First Nation peoples 20.56

Find out more

Got any questions, or suggestions for future topics?




Curtin University supports academic freedom of speech. The views expressed in The Future Of podcast may not reflect those of the university.


Music: OKAY by 13ounce Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 Music promoted by Audio Library


You can read the full transcript for the episode here.