The origins of this study tour arrangement date back to 1951 when Harry Luke, Fire Control Officer, Forestry Commission of New South Wales; and R. Torbet, Fire Protection Officer, Forests Commission of Victoria, undertook a study tour to the United States, with sponsorship assistance from the Forest and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The development of Australia’s Forest Fire Danger Rating System resulted from recommendations in Harry Luke’s study tour report. Another such tour occurred in 1958. Beginning in 1971, formal study tour exchanges among fire management specialists were established.
Comprehensive reports, including recommendations for consideration, compile the knowledge and information gained on study tours. Through these study tours, a strong networking and system for cooperation has evolved between the fire communities in Australia and New Zealand and Canada, Mexico and the United States. Many important tools and technologies have been adopted based on information exchanged on these study tours, including the use of the Incident Command System (ICS) in Australia and New Zealand, the exchange of research, and emergency operational assistance during severe fire seasons between the United States and Australia and New Zealand.