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In the Field with… Agnes Kristina, Senior Environmental Officer
Thursday 14 December 2017 – 12:25 PM

​Department of Fire and Emergency Service experts are using science to predict bushfire behaviour and prevent future fires from getting out of control.

DFES Senior Environmental Officer, Agnes Kristina uses a range of methods to determine everything from soil condition following a bushfire, to predicting the best conditions for prescribed burns.

The self-confessed tech buff said she was initially drawn to this line of work because it entails working with both the environment and technology.

“This year I’ve been collecting samples for a grasslands project in the northern parts of WA, where the red dirt and the scenery are just stunning.” 

“I’m very lucky that I get to travel for work,” Agnes said. 

The Kimberley and Pilbara regions have naturally fire prone landscapes, and it’s normal for bushfires to occur each dry season. 

With this in mind, Agnes has installed logging devices in Broome and Kununurra to help monitor the condition of the vegetation in these regions.

“The data we collect from these devices helps to provide a more accurate picture of the fire behaviour when fires occur in the grasslands,” she said.

“Mapping the drying phase of the grass is also a way to help with the planning of prescribed burns - firefighters can use the information to assess the condition of the grass and the appropriate time to conduct burns.” 

Agnes said her all-time favourite place to work is the Boranup Forest in the State’s Lower South West region. 

“It’s so peaceful there, with the tall trees and the serenity, and the smell of the forest while you’re working.

“I’ve been travelling to Yanchep since August last year to collect samples for another project looking at shrubby vegetation.

“It’s a joint project with the Parks and Wildlife Service to gain better knowledge of the coastal heath in the shrub-land communities.” 

In her spare time Agnes and her family also love the outdoors and go camping as often as possible. 

“The boys love it, and so does our Golden Groodle. She just sleeps under the stars with us.”