Australia– The future of reducing fires in Tasmania is in the palm of our hands, literally.
A new smartphone app being developed locally,takes the responsibility of fire fuel management and puts it in the hands of everyone.
The first to trial the data sampling techniques behind the Cradle Coast Natural Resource Managements (NRM) app were the keen students of Penguin District School.
Scrambling through the bush, clipboards in hand, 50 Penguin District School students worked with NRM staff to test the assessment tools that will be used in the app.
Cradle Coast NRM executive officer, Richard Ingram said developing the app came from looking at the vast array of complex ways used to collect fuel load data and picking the ”consistencies” between them.
Mr Ingram said that simple steps were being proven to be accurate when collecting data.
”It is something simple and everyone can do it.
”The whole community can look after their backyard,” he said.
As a public issue, Mr Ingham said that fuel reduction management is the responsibility of the whole community.
The three step data gathering process involves walking into the bush and making an assessment of elevated fuel loads, taking random measurements of the structure of fuel loads by throwing a frisbee and measuring how high it sits on the matter and making a subjective assessment of the area.
”There are much more scientific ways to measure fire fuel but these are intensive, lengthy and too complex for most people who dont have a lot of spare time,” Mr Ingram said.
Developed by Dr Ernst Kemmerer, strategic implementation manager at the Cradle Coast NRM, the app will ideally be used by landowners, government bodies and emergency service to collectively report on potentially high fuel hazard areas.
”Tasmania is a fire landscape and fire has been a natural way of life for the indigenous people for thousand of years,” he said.
The app is a Citizen Science Project that could be launched as soon as April.
Funding was secured under a grant by the National Bushfire Management Program, the Tasmanian Bushfire Management Program and the State Government.