Ever since making the first Four Friends of Fire animation I have been on the lookout for opportunities to make another. To catch you up, the animation personifies four drivers of fire: Phil is a fuel, Des is dryness, Iggy is ignition and Wes is the weather.
Well, the first animation only introduced one (rather important) concept in understanding bushfire and there are so many more to cover - what affects each of the Four Friends (the friends of the friends, if you will)? How do the Four Friends vary around the country and around the world? How will the Four Friends change in the future?
Science at the Local has been extremely fortunate to receive support from Inspiring Australia (NSW) and when they put a call out for ideas for Science Week 2020 - well, dear reader, we put our hand up and were lucky enough to get support!
It thus gives me unmitigated pleasure in announcing a new instalment of the Four Friends of Fire series, on the science of bushfires and climate change, released as part of National Science Week! It's extremely topical, with State and Federal Governments handing down inquiries left right and centre into the devastating Australian bushfire season of 2019/20. What will future seasons look like? Was last year an anomaly, an outlier, a harbinger?
Our cartoon doesn't delve too deeply into the technical details, but it will give people of all ages a feel for what the latest science says about how climate change may affect the drivers of fire - our dear Four Friends. It does that because, as some of you may know, one half of Science at the Local is Hamish Clarke, currently a member of the world-leading Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at the University of Wollongong. You can see his research profile here.
Once again we developed the animation in collaboration with the incredible Blue Mountains-based designer David Shooter and the equally incredible Wollongong animation studio Rockshelf Pictures (soon to be featured on Netflix!).
My hope is that people watch, share and comment on the video. I would love nothing more than for it to spread like wildfire (sorry, I love bad puns). It's partly about sharing some of the amazing bushfire science that’s taken place in Australia and around the world. But let’s be honest, it’s also about entertainment. I think people of all ages and backgrounds are going to enjoy meeting the Four Friends of Fire (again).
Thanks for watching. And tell us what you think!