In October 2013, several large bushfires happened in the Blue Mountains in NSW. At the same time, a small Facebook group (Facebook log-in required) grew into a valued information source, used by community members, local Councillors and media to stay up to date in fire emergencies.
Two years later and the Blue Mountains Firewatch and Recovery group is still going strong, with over 6,000 members, and is run by a group of volunteer admins. A research project was begun in 2014 to examine what were the features that made the group successful. Those features may be of use to other communities who want to use social media in emergency situations.
This website contains a selection from research conducted to explore what made the group successful in order to assist other communities who may want to reproduce this kind of group.
The research was jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State Governments, under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, and auspiced by Mountains Support. El Gibbs carried out the research, with valuable assistance from the volunteer admins of the Firewatch and Recovery groups.