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Photo: Nathan Maddock, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Photo: Nathan Maddock, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Release date
18 Dec 2017
More information:
Dr Matthew Hayne
Research Utilisation Manager

Carbon abatement through better fire mapping

Australia’s tropical savannas are extremely fire prone, with many millions of hectares burnt every year, contributing greatly to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Sophisticated fire mapping and modelling of fire severity, undertaken by the Tools supporting fire management in Northern Australia team, led by Adjunct Prof Jeremey Russell-Smith and Dr Andrew Edwards at Charles Darwin University, is helping fire and land managers assess greenhouse gas emissions and develop carbon abatement plans.

Previously, fire seasonality was used to assess emissions, with fires occurring in the latter part of the northern fire season (after 31 July) releasing double the emissions into the atmosphere than fires occurring earlier in the dry season. This calculation is based on years of data. But research has developed a new greenhouse gas emissions abatement methodology, using actual fire effect, leading to improved accuracy of the calculations of greenhouse gas emissions.

With the emergence of new industries such as carbon farming, bushfire management is rapidly changing in northern Australia, requiring decisions to be prioritised based on risk. With such large areas to cover, web-based mapping is integral.  

Andrew Turner, Director of Strategic Services at Bushfires NT, says the organisation uses the savanna mapping tools daily.

“They are crucial to all aspects of fire management – planning, mitigation, suppression, monitoring, and evaluation and reporting,” Andrew says.

It is only through the extensive collaboration process undertaken by the research team that this fire severity mapping process has been possible.

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