Towards national fire danger ratings

Created date

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:42am

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days in July in the delightful surrounds of Mt Macedon at the Australian Emergency Management Institute, with jurisdictional representatives and researchers of the National Fire Danger Rating Science working group.

The Bushfire CRC has received funding from the Federal Attorney General’s Department to manage the delivery of the new national fire danger rating system during the 2010-11 financial year and has subsequently appointed a project manager.

The meeting was focused on the progress to date and the projects that were likely to be funded during the 2011-12 financial year. It is hope that these projects will help to provide an initial framework, to better understand the impact and the weather and fuel conditions where fatalities have occurred, and also an examination of new fire weather indicators. It is hoped a number of complementary projects will be undertaken by the states.

The second half of the meeting examined the broader projects required to develop a new system, including a new fire behaviour model, and impact models. It is now hoped that there will be a new bid prepared for funding from the National Emergency Management Committee to develop these further parts.

The meeting provided a good opportunity to test new ideas and examine integration issues. A critical need was determined in that there needs to be a concerted effort on data collection to ensure that there is high quality information with which to validate and verify any new models. The Bushfire CRC has taken the lead in working with the States and Territories to develop common data definitions and collection methodologies.

Watch this space to see the next steps in this exciting and important national project.