Research leader

Dr Andrew Dowdy Research Leader
Dr David Jones Research Leader

This research conducted a needs analysis for the development of seasonal fire forecast products that can be implemented in Victoria. This project aimed to calibrate and assess long range Forest Fire Danger Indices (FFDI) forecasting models for use as a seasonal fire forecast product, develop a proof of concept and experimental seasonal fire forecasting products, fuel availability and compare season types. Through this research, long-range fire weather predictions were developed and service established as a new capability for Australia.

Factors providing long-range predictability for this system include the pre-existing moisture content of vegetation, large-scale modes of variability, sudden stratospheric warmings, and long-term climate change.

The guidance products were designed with a user-driven approach, based on strong end-user engagement throughout the project. These long-range predictions are part of broader efforts to deliver seamless guidance over a wide range of time scales. Fire weather predictions and data are now available in a consistent form for long-range predictions out to several months ahead, historical records back to 1950 and future climate projections throughout this century. A seamless service across different time scales is intended to enhance planning capabilities from short to long time-scales, leading to enhanced resilience and disaster risk reduction for natural hazards. These fire weather outlooks have been described as a step change in improved capability, developed through user engagement, including for supporting risk reduction in prescribed burning and operational planning requirements.

This research was funded through the Victorian Government’s Safer Together program.