Research leader

Musa Kilinc Research Leader

End User representatives

Nick Bauer End-User

This project was commissioned and funded entirely by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria.

Major bushfires in Victoria (1983 Ash Wednesday fires, 2003 Alpine fire, 2005/06 Grampians fire, 2006/07 Great Divide Fires and 2009 Black Saturday fires) burnt approximately 2.9 million hectares, and caused total social, economic and environmental impacts of $ 9.5 billion (in 2008 dollars).

Long term data records of fire weather, fire ignition points and fire perimeters have played a useful role in improving fire agency capabilities in managing bushfire events. Such data is also extremely important for research purposes - particularly when associating the occurrence of ignitions and fire area to fire danger indices and climate variability.

Maintaining, and improving the quality of such data is a critical aspect of data management, and as such, benefits fire agency and research needs.

Overall, nine datasets have been collected and managed by different organisations and research groups in Victoria – these include:

  • DELWP dataset (on Fireweb) of fire ignition point from 1972 to present
  • CFA dataset of fire ignition point from July 1997 to June 2009
  • Combined CFA/DELWP dataset of fire ignition point from July 1997 to June 2009
  • Fire history (Fire100) of fire perimeter from 1903 to 2010
  • Blackout List of major fires from 1851 to 2009
  • Fire reconstruction dataset of fire perimeter, origin, area of spread from 1944 to 2013 (Monash University/DELWP)
  • Rail sector fire project (includes Rail sector and CFA/DELWP on and around easements)
  • Social, economic and environmental impacts of major fires (RMIT/DELWP )
  • Victorian bushfire history (DELWP )

These datasets were created from using post survey information on past bushfire events and include information on fire ignition, fire areas, fire behaviour, fire weather, house loss and survival as well as the economic losses from bushfire events.

Each dataset varies in spatial and temporal scale, as well as by the recorded attribute data. Discrepancies and quality of these datasets have not been systematically assessed. There is a lack of interoperability and integration in these datasets as they were intended for different purposes.

The overall aim of this project was to incorporate the nine datasets in an integrated bushfire database. To achieve this aim, the project was designed in two phases. The 1st phase aimed to integrate two historic bushfire datasets: fire ignition points and fire perimeter (fire 100).

The objectives of this project were to:

  1. Conduct a study to integrate three historic bushfire datasets: DELWP ignition point, CFA ignition point and DELWP fire perimeter data.
  2. Define process for repeatedly and reliably updating a core database support fire ignition, risk modelling and management.
  3. Define next steps for integrating other sources of fire data including impacts.