Evaluating Fire Stories

An evaluation of the Blue Mountains documentary film, Fire Stories – A Lesson in Time, has highlighted the need for community-based approaches to bushfire safety.

Fire Stories was locally produced to raise awareness of bushfire risk and to help build community resilience. The documentary was released just months before devastating fires again struck the Blue Mountains, in 2013.

Dr Rosalie Chapple, Dr Ilse Blignault and Ms Anne Fitzgerald evaluated the documentary. They found the film contributed to community resilience and assisted Blue Mountains residents to better prepare for fire events.

“Fire Stories prompted a substantial increase in bushfire safety activity in the lead-up to the 2013 bushfires. The film also produced a shift in focus of concern when preparing for bushfire to include greater concern for community including others in their street, neighbourhood and vulnerable people,” they wrote.

Communicating bushfire risk in the Blue Mountains: a case study of the Fire Stories film is available as a free download from the Australian Journal of Emergency Management. 

Dr Chapple is co-founder and director of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute. Dr Blignault is from the Centre for Health Research at Western Sydney University; and Ms Fitzgerald is a Blue Mountains-based social worker and social researcher.