Bushfires, Landslides and Geotechnical Challenges

Tony Miner and Stuart Colls

The aftermath of the Christmas 2015 bushfires in Wye River and Separation Creek

About the presentation

The Christmas 2015 bushfires destroyed more than 100 homes and caused extensive vegetation loss in the townships of Wye River and Separation Creek on the Great Ocean Road in southwest Victoria. These townships are located on very steep slopes with a history of slope instability, with a road and drainage network that has developed in a generally informal manner over the decades. Due to the vegetation loss and damage to retention structures during the bushfires, the risk of slope instability was identified by the State Government and Emergency Services as a key element to be addressed as part of post bushfire clean-up and redevelopment works.

A.S. Miner Geotechnical (ASMG) was onsite within two days of the bushfires to perform an initial assessment of the extent of damage and the risk of instability, and was subsequently heavily involved over the >1 year duration of the clean-up works. Golder Associates (Golder) was engaged by Grocon (the contractor engaged by the State to undertake clean-up of the bushfire damage) to advise on the management of slope stability risk associated with their clean-up works and later to provide geotechnical advice for the construction of new retaining walls and other slope stabilisation works. This presentation by Tony Miner (ASMG) and Stuart Colls (Golder), describes the key slope stability challenges encountered and experience gained as the project evolved from disaster management, through clean-up and rebuilding phases over the course of more than a year.

About the speakers

tony-minerTony Miner has over 35 years’ experience in a diverse range of projects in geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, engineering geology, erosion management and planning. He has focused on risk management techniques and landslide studies over the past 20 years and has been a member of the various Australian Geomechanics Society’s taskforces on landslide risk management and education programs

Stuart_CollsStuart has over 15 years’ experience as a geotechnical engineer working primarily on building and infrastructure projects in Australia and overseas. In recent years he has worked mainly on quarry and landfill rehabilitation projects and slope stability assessments in and around Melbourne, and completed a PhD focussed on the design of ground heat exchangers for direct geothermal energy systems.

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