Bushfire Assessment Report - seniors' living

With protection of people and property top of mind, RPS bushfire specialists have completed a comprehensive Bushfire Assessment Report for a proposed seniors' living development in Diamond Beach, NSW.

Challenge

While riparian zones – the areas close to rivers, streams and wetlands – generally pose less fire risk than other types of land, accurately determining the risk and potential behaviour of fire is vitally important when it comes to Special Fire Protection Purpose (SFPP) developments.

Classified based on nominated use, SFPP developments are those that require special risk assessment and planning consideration because their occupants are likely to be more vulnerable and/or difficult to evacuate in a bushfire situation. Types of SFPP developments include schools, hospitals, childcare centres, aged care facilities and retirement communities. In New South Wales, SFPP developments require special approval from the Rural Fire Service (RFS) as part of the development application.

Bushfire spreading throughout a forest in the evening lighting the trees up in yellow and orange.

Solution

With a vegetated riparian strip running through the site of a proposed seniors' living community at Diamond Beach, our bushfire specialists were engaged to complete a detailed Bushfire Assessment that would determine appropriate setbacks, protection and safety measures.

Our team analysed multiple fire behaviour scenarios to determine appropriate separation between the SFPP development and vegetated zone that traverses the site, along with egress zones and risk management measures.

As the proposed development has both short fire run (SFR) vegetation and low fire fuel loads, our analysis involved modelling site-based conditions by incorporating required high temperatures (1200K), lower radiant heat flux exposures (10kW/m2) and reduced fuel loads within short fire run (SFR) situations.

Based on this analysis, our consultants provided recommendations about successful emergency management responses for the development. With the safety of elderly residents the number one priority, the recommendations provided in our Bushfire Assessment Report will help the developer determine siting, design, egress and defendable spaces as they work to secure development approval.  

Project statistics

20ha
development site
$15 m
proposed development value

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