Bushfire and Natural Hazard Risks

Lake-Mountain-post-2009.jpg

Lake Mountain landscape post Black Saturday fires
Lake Mountain landscape post Black Saturday fires
This project will develop methods to produce the spatial information on fire hazard needed by planners, land managers and emergency services.

Government agencies, individuals and businesses need accurate spatial information on fire hazard to prevent, avoid and manage impacts. Bushfire hazard depends not only on weather but also on landscape conditions.

In Australia, fire hazard monitoring involves fire danger indices that consider mainly meteorological conditions, although a simple algorithm is used in the MacArthur Forest Fire Danger Index to calculate the ‘Drought Factor Value’ from antecedent weather data, intended as a rough estimate of litter moisture content.

To date, there has not been much emphasis on routinely providing and using spatial information on landscape-related hazard factors in determining fire risk. Partly, this is because of a lack of reliable, consistent, accurate and long-term information. This situation is changing, however. Several relevant satellite, airborne and mapping derived products and prediction models are now readily available to estimate important landscape variables that determine fire hazard.

This project is developing methods to produce the spatial information on critical aspects of fire hazard including fuel load and flammability. This is needed by planners, land managers and emergency services. The relevance and added value represented by these new information sources will be compared to the practical feasibility and costs of their use.

Adam Leavesley and Marta Yebra planning field work. Photo by Geoff Cary
14 April, 2015
Over the last few months the Mapping bushfire hazard and impacts team has been undertaking a number of activities with our end users, including involvement in prescribed burns to gather data.
25 Aug 2014

Little accurate and timely spatial information is currently available on bushfire hazard and impacts.

Key Topics:
18 Aug 2015

Australia is a dry continent, with high climate variability, and is continually vulnerable to natural hazards like bushfires. to better evaluate and reduce the risk of bushfires, fire management agencies and land managers need timely, accurate and spatially explicit understorey fuel metrics along with climatic and other spatial topographical information. The Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data and technology is a proven alternative to traditionally time consuming and labour intensive fuel assessment methods.

18 Aug 2015

A good understanding of fire risk across the landscape is critical in preparing and responding to bushfire events and managing fire regimes, and this will be enhanced by remote sensing data. However, the vast array of spatial data sources available is not being used very effectively in fire management.

This project uses cutting edge technology and imagery to produce spatial information on fire hazard and impacts needed by planners, land managers and emergency services to effectively manage fire at landscape scales

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