Expertise in the management of bushfires: Training and decision support

Stephan Lewandowsky*, John C. Dunn, Kim Kirsner, Mark Randell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Bushfires have been a common occurrence across Australia for millennia. With the growing expansion of urban areas into surrounding bushland, fires pose an increasing threat to life and property. The extent of damage caused by a fire is a function of many variables, including the decision-making processes and expertise of bushfire-fighters. Previous research has shown that expert fire-fighters sometimes underestimate the importance of terrain variables when predicting the spread of a fire. This article reports two ways in which experts' predictions can be improved. First, an experimental comparison of training regimes shows that visual aids can facilitate the acquisition of a more integrative mental model of fire behaviour. Second, a computer-assisted display is proposed that increases the salience of critical variables in a simulation of bushfires.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-177
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997

Structured keywords

  • Memory
  • TeDCog


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