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Reports move fire rating system closer to completion

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The Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) is a step closer to developing a new national fire rating system, following the publication of three interim reports.

Australian fire agencies currently use the forest and grass fire danger indices to assess risk, but the CRC says these do not take all relevant factors into account.

The new system will also consider topography, fuel availability and location to help plan for and respond to fires more effectively.

The interim reports represent a major advance in fire weather science, CRC Deputy CEO and Research Director Richard Thornton says. “Increasing our understanding of large bushfires and the weather that contributes to them will allow for a substantial advancement in the ability to help communities understand their level of fire risk and to communicate that lives and property could be lost.”

The new system will aid community safety and iron out rating differences between states, according to Insurance Council of Australia GM Policy Risk and Disaster Karl Sullivan.

It will not have a direct impact on the insurance industry, but Mr Sullivan says the council is excited by several other projects the CRC is working on.

“The extra funding it received is very welcome and there is a good pipeline of research, particularly the work it is doing around building materials and building design, which will help people determine how vulnerable their property is to particular hazards,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.