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New web application improves fire danger prediction

Digitising complex fire management calculations and supporting land managers’ decisions.

Traditional fire danger prediction requires complex, time-consuming calculations. The risk is that the difficulty of making predictions could result in poor decisions about fire danger and attendant management practice. This risk is unacceptable, particularly when it can be mitigated through the use of digital analysis of the relevant factors to produce an easily interpreted prediction.

Ranger Scott completing some fire management backburning in the Queensland bush.

Land managers in the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service identified the need to improve accountability and integrity in decision-making for fire management operations. They saw the opportunity to use digital technology to aid calculations for bush fire danger predictions over seven days in advance.

Seven Day Fire is an initiative that digitises the calculation process and makes it available on mobile devices.

Phase one is underway and involves software engineering and testing within government. If successful, this tool could be made available for all land managers across the country. Users could include state land managers, rural fires staff and volunteers, as well as the agricultural sector.

Improving the reliability of data used in fire management operations will provide enormous value by reducing the potential for poorly planned fires to escape.

Video credit: ABC Capricornia

Managing fire risk is about to become a whole lot simpler.

A smartphone app is being developed to predict fire danger. So authorities and government agencies can be better prepared.

Scott Brook, ranger and app creator—speaking

"It uses the Bureau of Meteorology’s 7-day forecast and applies the CSRIO’s fire danger algorithm to show what the fire is likely to do for the next 7 days."

It saves time and helps direct resources where they’re needed most.

Scott Brook, ranger and app creator—speaking

"It takes about 5 minutes to do one-point predictions using one of these tools (holding a McArthur Mk5 Forest Fire Danger Meter). Whereas this idea will do 56 calculations in a matter of seconds."

The app will also be available for farmers and landholders. And could change wildfire management around the country.

Read the lessons we learnt from this initiative (internal).