An extract from a GHD news article: Improving wildfire safety and preparedness for rural communities - GHD
By Dr Steve Gwynne, 22nd July 2021
GHD Advisory’s Movement Strategies team has been awarded a grant by Engineering X – an international collaboration between the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation.
Movement Strategies help meet the changing needs of clients and communities by integrating strategic advisory, technical service excellence, and digital solutions. This capability contributes to improved safety, increased efficiency, and profitability of physical spaces.
Professor Steve Gwynne, Research Lead with Movement Strategies, will examine the vulnerability of rural communities threatened by wildfires, factors that affect community wildfire safety and the underlying complexity of these situations.
“The impact of wildfire is of global importance (for example, the recent events in Australia and North America) and is a combination of many factors – environmental, physical and social. We need to improve our understanding about how these factors interact and plan for wildfires by assessing the vulnerability of exposed communities and their capacity to evacuate safely,” says Steve.
Evolving fire conditions can disrupt even the best-laid plans, and the Movement Strategies team is committed to improving wildfire preparedness in rural communities.
The case study will identify factors that affect community wildfire safety, demonstrating the complex way they interact and affect the safety outcomes. The research will show that we can quantify performance (for example, evacuation time) and how this evidence might help stakeholders plan and respond to incidents.
Our team will generate material on the safety challenges posed and apply models to explore the complexity of wildfire emergencies. We will create results that increase understanding and influence future changes and preparedness for the public, planners, responders, and policymakers.
The case study is due to be completed in late 2021. It will be published to coincide with the Royal Academy of Engineering’s technical briefing “How can we tackle the shifting challenges of complex systems?”.
Engineering X is an international collaboration founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation that brings together some of the world’s leading problem solvers to address the pressing challenges of our age.