New Zealand has been without any wildland fire research capability since the late 1970s. In recent years a number of factors have contributed to the need for rectifying this situation. As an initial first step in this process, in April 1992 a Canadian fire researcher from Edmonton, Alberta, Martin E. Alexander, began a one-year secondment at the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Rotorua under the terms of an international assignment agreement between Canada and New Zealand. Mr. Alexander has worked as a fire research officer with Forestry Canada since 1976.
As a visiting scientist in fire research at FRI, the foreign expert will be involved in:
Technology and information transfer activities pertaining to fire danger rating and fire behavior prediction
Revision of the fire danger classification criteria currently used in New Zealand
Demonstrations of the experimental fire technique designed to furnish fire behavior data in selected fuel types; and
Problem analysis on fire research needs.
A position for a permanent fire researcher at FRI has recently been created. Mr. Alexander will be serving as a “mentor” to the appointee during his time in New Zealand. An advisory committee on forest and rural fire research has also been established.
The funding for the fire research programme at FRI is being provided by the National Rural Fire Authority, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, the New Zealand Forest Owner’s Association, the Department of Conservation, and the Ministry of Forestry.
From: Mr. J.R. Tustin Director, Forest Technology Division Forest Research Institute Address: Ministry of Forestry Private Bag 3020 NZ – Rotorua