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. 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.
As part of the project Albert van Dijk and his team are developing a model-data fusion framework to provide best possible estimates on historic fire impacts, current real-time fuel loads and flammability, as well as landscape values such as water resource generation, carbon storage and habitat.
To assess the value of alternative airborne and remote sensing observations in a model-data fusion framework a case study for the western Australian Capital Territory was conducted covering the period 2000 to 2010. For this purpose they used Landsat satellite imagery, Shuttle radar topography mission derived data and daily gridded climate data for Australia including Queensland’s 0.05° SILO (Scientific Information for Land Owners) data, the Bureau of Meteorology 0.05 climate data set and eMAST’s high-resolution (0.01°) climate grids as input for the landscape water balance model (AWRA-L).
Although the model-data fusion system already successfully demonstrated the feasibility of high-resolution fuel, water and carbon modeling, van Dijk and his team are going to concentrate on defining and exploring a few more practical applications such as real-time fuel moisture mapping, fire spread modeling or even real-time fire risk forecasting at high-resolution.
Overall, the outcomes of this study including the model-data fusion framework will not only be of high interest for planners, land managers and emergency service to assess fire hazards and impacts, but are also crucial to when building a bridge between research, technology and industry solutions.