Learning about bushfires

This section introduces the theme of 'Learning about bushfires' in the context of safety messages, and is designed to support the learning needs of students in Years 7 to 10. It is aligned to Victorian Curriculum levels 7-8, and explores the history of bushfires, bushfires as a fact of life in Victoria, the science of how fires burn, why bushfires are dangerous, and when they are most likely to happen.

Throughout this section, care needs to be taken to clarify any misconceptions students may have about bushfires. For example, some students may be familiar with plans for safe exits and a safe meeting place in the event of a house fire or a fire drill at school – when the danger is inside. Be sure they understand that in a bushfire the danger comes from outside, so people will have different safety plans depending on their circumstances.

Living with bushfires

Learning intention:
In this session students learn that bushfires are a fact of life in Victoria. Students revisit the 'Black Saturday 2009' bushfire as an introduction to learning about bushfires.

The Fire Triangle

Learning intention:
Students learn that fire needs three things to start and continue burning: oxygen, fuel and heat. Therefore, to prevent or control a fire, at least one of the components must be removed.

Heat transfer

Learning intention:
Students find out that heat travels in three main ways: convection, conduction and radiation. Radiant heat in a bushfire is a killer. Understanding how radiant heat travels can help us be safer in bushfires.

Types of bushfires

Learning intention:
Students recognise that the term 'bushfire' is a broad term that encompasses many types of outdoor fires, including scrub, grass and coastal fires.

Understanding bushfire behaviour and the Fire Danger Rating system

Learning intention:
The conditions that influence bushfire behaviour are major determinants of the Fire Danger Rating system. The Fire Danger Ratings predict how a fire would behave if one started, including how difficult it would be to put out.

Lessons from the past: Three major Victorian bushfires

Learning intention:
The intent of this session is to give a historical context to understanding the reality of bushfires in Australia.