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Bushfires: Response, Relief, and Resilience

Learn strategies in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from bushfire natural disasters from the world's experts.

12,046 enrolled on this course

firefighters in new south wales Australia in front of an intense fire
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Digital upgrade


Discover the challenges and lessons learned from disaster recovery

The increasing impact of climate change is exacerbating the risk factors of natural disasters such as bushfires/wildfires. Challenges and lessons learned from disaster recovery globally suggest that there is a need for individuals and community leaders to understand more about fire disasters.

This three-week course will provide crucial information to individuals and organisations on how to respond to emergencies. It will help you go beyond your current expertise to speed up recovery from humanitarian crises.

By the end of this course, you’ll have the knowledge of bushfire hazards and causes, propensity to spread, impacts, and what we can do to recover quickly.

Explore the causes of bushfires

To understand how to recover from fire disasters, it’s important to first identify the drivers of bushfire risks.

You’ll delve into the causes of bushfires and the mechanisms of bushfire attacks. With this knowledge, you’ll also be able to explore the impact of bushfires from multiple perspectives.

Learn how to reduce vulnerabilities to bushfires

This course will focus on how individuals and communities can reduce their vulnerability to bushfires.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll understand how to build resilience in the face of future disasters and the benefits of community-led bushfire recovery.

Discover effective coping strategies from The University of Newcastle

To help those affected by bushfires, you’ll identify coping strategies to ensure people are supported in the aftermath of these disasters.

Learning from the experts at The University of Newcastle, you’ll finish the course with the knowledge and skills to help improve your response, relief, and resilience to bushfires.


  • Week 1

    Understanding Bushfire Hazards and Risks

    • Introduction to this course

      You'll be introduced to bushfires and their impact. You'll also find a roadmap to the major themes and ideas that will be explored later in the course.

    • What factors propel bushfire occurrence and risk?

      We will explore the role that fuel loads, weather and landscapes play in ignition of bushfires and the mechanisms by which bushfires spread and attack.

    • What are the impacts of bushfires?

      Together we explore the environmental, social and economic impacts of bushfires

    • Learning from the past, planning for the future

      Here we will examine a case study and look at bushfire planning for households.

    • End of the week

      Finish the week with some reflection and a short quiz to consolidate your learning.

  • Week 2

    Bushfire Relief and Recovery

    • Disaster Relief

      Together we will kick off week 2, and explore strategies for immediate disaster relief.

    • Case Study: 2019-2020 Australian Bushfire Season

      Through this case study we will look at relief and recovery efforts in the immediate aftermath of Australia's summer 19/20 bushfires.

    • Concluding the week

      During these steps we will reflect upon what we've learned this week and take a short quiz.

  • Week 3

    Building Resilience to Bushfire Disasters

    • Introduction to Resilience

      Welcome to week 3, where we will expand on recovery, rebuilding and how to build resilience.

    • Management Strategies for Resilience

      Through these steps we will look at different components that make up an effective strategy for resilience.

    • Concluding the course

      We wrap up the course and reflect upon what we've learnt together.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for individuals and communities looking at gaining an understanding of bushfire risk reduction and resilience.

Who developed the course?

The University of Newcastle Australia

The University of Newcastle is a world-class university distinguished by a commitment to equity and excellence. Ranked in Australia’s Top 10 universities, and 173rd in the world (QS rankings, 2024).

  • Established

  • Location

    Newcastle, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 180Source: QS World University Rankings 2024


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) provides innovative learning solutions to individuals, organisations and institutions to enhance global decision-making and support country-level action for shaping a better future.

CIFAL Newcastle

CIFAL is a United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) affiliated training centre based from 6 universities globally including the University of Newcastle.

What's included?

The University of Newcastle Australia are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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