Building Bushfire Adapted Communities


An online series to inform and empower bushfire-prone communities to live safely with fire


Episode 1
Climate Change & Bushfire

What does the future hold for bushfire prone communities?
How do communities become bushfire-adapted to live safely in their environment?
Robert Glasser and Justin Leonard kick-off the conversation series.

Episode 2
Weeyn Yakeen - Fire Dreaming

Australia's people and landscape have lived and thrived with fire for thousands of years. How? 
We catch up with John Clarke and Jack Pascoe to learn and appreciate the landscape through their eyes.

Episode 3
Living Through a Bushfire Event

The 2019/20 summer of bushfires in Australia was devastating. What happened? And, what does it mean for bushfire-prone communities?
Three brave guests share their experiences of a bushfire event.

Episode 4
Mental Health & Bushfires

We're all so different! What personality traits and skills might best enable us to cope with a bushfire, or any emergency? In this episode, we hear the latest research and get expert advice from experienced practitioners.

Episode 5
Economic Impacts of Bushfires

As small business owners, what do you need to know and do differently to prepare for a bushfire, or any emergency! Renae Hanvin, Founder of corporate2community and Sharon Bradshaw, Co-Owner of the Forrest Brewery share their top tips.

Episode 6
Sharing the Risk and Responsibility

If we considered fire in the landscape much like we consider rain or wind, how would that change our thinking? Dr Kevin Tolhurst and Tim Gazzard share their thoughts on the role of fire, and how we as community members need to play our part.

Episode 7
Art & Emergencies

Bushfire and emergencies are chaotic!  Sarah Rowbottam of the Arts House/Refuge Project and Gillian Brew of Studio Forrest explain why art and artists are an important component of all facets of emergency management (planning, living through an event and recovery).

Episode 8
Bushfire learning from the ground-up

Learning about bushfire from an early age is so important in Australia. Imagine if every bushfire-prone primary school included it as part of the curriculum how much more resilient our communities would be. Dr Briony Towers of RMIT, and Kaz Standish at Forrest Primary School share their examples.

Episode 9
Preparing for Summer

Community education was a key recommendation in this year's Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. In this episode, Jamie McKenzie and Lyn Harwood, leaders in community preparedness, talk through their experiences of bushfire events and provide helpful advice on how to best prepare your community.

Why a conversation series?

The Fire and Rain Conversation series draws on the speakers, topics and stories lined up for the April 2020 Otways Fire and Rain Summit - postponed due to the coronavirus. 

The series aims to answer the questions... What does it take to build a bushfire-adapted community? What do you focus on? What do you need to know and do to be prepared and make good decisions as a household and as a community?

We talk to those paving the way - the leaders in thinking and doing - sharing the latest science, ancient traditional knowledge and on-ground expertise, to help transform personal and community thinking about how we live and thrive amongst fire.

For bushfire-prone communities, agency executives, directors, community leaders, inspired individuals and change makers. 


Who we meet in our conversations

Robert Glasser.jpg

Dr Robert Glasser

Former Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Robert Glasser recently published his paper on an "Era of Disasters", and joins us to share his research on where we are headed with a warming climate.

About our Conversation hosts

Emma Ashton & Rachel Lopes

Emma and Rachel are part of the Otways community of Forrest, Victoria.

Following the 2019/20 summer of devastating bushfires impacting over 18 million hectares of the Australian East Coast, they decided to roll up their sleeves and find out what they needed to know to help their community, and any high risk bushfire community, live safely with fire. 

em and rach.jpg

The Organisers

The Fire & Rain Conversation Series is an initiative of the Forrest Gateway to the Otways project, run by the Forrest & District Community Group.

The Gateway Project is seeking funds to build a community centre for year-round use, that can also function as a Bushfire Place of Last Resort to support community resilience.

The Forrest Gateway to the Otways project is funded by the

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) through the

Virtual Centre for Climate Change Innovation.  

Forrest VIC 3236, Australia

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Our Supporters

Working Together

Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience

The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR) develops, maintains and shares knowledge and learning to support a disaster resilient Australia.

Colac Otway Shire

Located in Victoria’s south-west, the Colac Otway Shire is diverse and beautiful, with hinterland forests of the Otway Ranges running through the centre; and the Great Ocean Road coastline in the south. The region is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque municipalities in Victoria.

Forest Fire Management Vic - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Focused on creating a liveable, inclusive and sustainable Victoria with thriving natural environments - where the community is at the centre of everything we do.

Geoff Brown

Geoff is a Conversation Architect, specialising in the art of process design. He believes that meaningful dialogue and collaboration are at the core of transformational change.  Geoff is our mentor on this project.

Rusty Berther

Rusty is a fabulous, all round entertainer and musician. He plays a variety of instruments including guitar, ukulele, banjo, harmonica and double bass. He is a skilled vocalist, comedy writer, musical arranger and bandleader. Rusty performs our intro, takes care of sound and is our trusty editor.