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Dr Marta Yebra conducting a grassland fire experiment. Photo: Carolina Luiz
Dr Marta Yebra conducting a grassland fire experiment. Photo: Carolina Luiz
Release date
29 Mar 2017
More information:
Dr Marta Yebra
Researcher

Can we predict bushfires from space?

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC research has received a boost, with CRC researcher Dr Marta Yebra awarded a prestigious award from the Australian Academy of Science. 

Dr Yebra, based at the Australian National University, is one of the first two recipients of the Academy’s Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award. The Max Day Award provides up to $20,000 to support early-career researchers working on the conservation of Australia’s flora and fauna, ecologically sustainable use of resources, protection of the environment and ecosystem services.

Australia’s forests are among the most fire-prone in the world and satellite monitoring could greatly help to predict and mitigate bushfires before they occur. This space-based monitoring will be one step closer thanks to Dr Yebra's research in the Mapping bushfire hazard and impacts project.

Dr Yebra will use her Max Day Award funding to conduct experiments at the National Arboretum Canberra to determine the moisture content of Australia’s native forests. Moisture content is particularly important to predicting bushfires on a large scale as it affects the likelihood of ignition occurring, as well as the severity and spread of the fire. This real-world data will be incorporated into new models that can be used to predict bushfires.

“I can't express how much the Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award means to me," Dr Yebra said.

"This acknowledgement is something that I will cherish for all my life. It opens new doors for me to achieve that personal and professional motivation by contributing to the cost to collect an essential data set as an important step towards comprehensive fire risk monitoring in Australia. I feel honoured and excited on receiving this award which signifies the importance that Australia places on the bushfire research I do,” said Dr Yebra.

CRC CEO Dr Richard Thornton said the award was fantastic recognition for the work of Dr Yebra.

"To win the Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship is a wonderful achievement. On behalf of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, I'd like to congratulate Dr Yebra," Dr Thornton said.

Along with fellow award recipient Nick Leseberg from the University of Queensland, Dr Yebra will receive her award at the Academy’s annual signature science event Science at the Shine Dome on 24 May 2017. 

  

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