NV Community Resilience Network requests Council help to obtain bush-fire simulation tool

Patricia Greenwood and Jenny Zirkler of the Nambucca Valley Community Network at last Thursday’s council meeting.

PATRICIA Greenwood of the Nambucca Valley Community Resilience Network (Nambucca Valley CRN) spoke at Nambucca Valley Council’s fortnightly meeting last Thursday, requesting Council help to bring a state-of-the-art fire and flood simulation tool to the Valley.

The NV Community Resilience Network was formed in 2020 in the wake of major fires and floods in the Valley with the aim of gathering information to assist the community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies, as well as to build long-term resilience.

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A ‘Simtable’, consisting of a fire and flood simulation computer program and equipment owned by the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation (MNCJO), was available at public workshops held at Scotts Head and Valla Beach last year.

“You can actually see your local area projected down and see how a fire would affect you,” Ms Greenwood told Council.

“It was really well-received (in the workshops).

“People liked it.

“They could see their area and how fires and spot-fires could affect them,” she said.

The program can vary outcomes depending on inputted values for wind speeds, fuel loads and other variables.

During a Simtable workshop, up to 30 workshop participants stand in a darkened room around a large and sophisticated digital sand table where a map of the local area is projected down while possible fire or flood scenarios unfold.

This is a particularly effective tool because it makes it easy for people to visualise possible fire outcomes, Ms Greenwood explained.

Nambucca Valley CRN would like to bring more workshops out to each of the community halls this year.

“When we investigated, we found that because Nambucca Valley Council isn’t a member of the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation, we can no longer use the Simtable, so we are here to ask Council if there is a way to access the Simtable,” she told the chamber.

“It is also a recruiting tool for the Rural Fire Service (RFS), but it doesn’t belong to the RFS.

“It belongs to the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation,” she further explained.

Mayor Rhonda Hoban called for a report into costs and benefits of accessing the MNCJO’s Simtable and how this could be achieved.


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