Protecting cultural assets from bushfires: a question of comprehensive planning

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Abstract

Cultural heritage sites form an unrenewable asset that is threatened by natural disasters. Given the high bushfire risk, mandatory Bush Fire Risk Management Plans have been drawn up throughout New South Wales, Australia. We compared their mandatory provisions for the protection of heritage assets with an 'Ideal Heritage Disaster Plan', containing a series of non negotiable elements. The examined plans fell well short of the ideal. Preparedness Plans generally lacked a discussion of suppression techniques ( for historic heritage), prevention, prescribed drills and communication procedures. None of the Response Plans or Recovery Plans contained any of the required core elements, such as rapid suppression techniques and stabilisation procedures.Where aspects were covered, they were addressed in an inadequate level of detail. The overall quality of the cultural heritage components of the plans is judged to be poor. Suggestions are made on how to improve the situation if heritage assets are to have a future following bushfire events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-81
Number of pages16
JournalDisasters
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

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