Bush and Forest Fires in Australia: 9 February 2000

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

9 February 2000

The Satellite Remote Sensing Services Department of Land Administration (DOLA) routinely evaluates the NOAA AVHRR satellite sensor to detect and locate vegetation fires and high-temperature events. In Australia hot events depicted by the satellite can represent wildfires or prescribed fires as well as industrial activities (e.g., gas flares, smelters) and hot surfaces (e.g., rocks heated by solar radiation during the daytime overpasses of the satellite). Thus, DOLA displays two products of hot spot maps: the automatically generated high-temperature event maps (which include false alarms) and the manually generated fire maps. All hotspot locations are geo-referenced and where required as Australian Map Grid. On some days up to four NOAA-AVHRR passes are used to identify hot events.

The manual method (human operator) provides greater accuracy however it takes longer. Thus, the issue of the manually generated fire maps is delayed (not real-time). Hot spots are located using NOAA-AVHRR channel 3 on early morning (0050-0340hrs) and mid morning (0450-0630hrs) images.

click here to enlarge (54 KB)

Fig.1. Fire Detection Map for Australia for 9 February 2000 overlaid on a pan-Australian vegetation cover map.
Source fire coordinates: Satellite Remote Sensing Services Department of Land Administration (DOLA)
Source of vegetation and fuel type map: Luke and McArthur (1977)
(Please take into account, that this presentation represents mainly fire events from Western Australia and Northern Territories)

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is responsible for the management of fire prevention and suppression on public lands in Victoria. The last updated bushfire statistic of 8 February 2000 shows 7 going, 1 contained and 17 controlled fires. The locations of these fires are displayed in the statewide fire situation map below.

click here to enlarge (32 KB)

Fig.2. Statewide Fire Situation Map of Victoria, 9 February 2000
(Source: National Ressources   and Environment)

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued on 9 February 2000 an updated forecast for Northern Territory:

Top End, Victoria River and Alice Springs regions…
Areas of rain and scattered storms. Heavy falls may lead to localised flooding and significant river and stream rises. Generally cloudy with moderate north to northeast winds, fresh at times in the Alice Springs region.

Roper-McArthur and Barkly regions…
Isolated showers and storms. Moderate northeast winds.

Fire Danger
Low to moderate throughout.

As fire restrictions apply during the fire season, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology/South Australian Regional Office issued on 9 February 2000 a fire ban advice for following districts. In the list below the fire danger ratings for these districts are described in detail.

Fire Ban District Fire Danger Rating

Northwest Pastoral

very high

Northeast Pastoral

very high

West Coast


Eastern Eyre Peninsula


Lower Eyre Peninsula

very high



Mid North


Mount Lofty Ranges


Adelaide Metropolitan

very high

Yorke Peninsula


Kangaroo Island

very high




very high

Upper South East


Lower South East


Australia has rain deficiencies in southern areas:
(published by Planet Ark, 8 February 2000)
“Areas of serious to severe rainfall deficiencies in Australia remained in parts of southern Victoria, the central highlands of Queensland and Tasmania, the Bureau of Meteorology’s National Climate Centre said yesterday. Rainfall deficiencies persisted in some coastal districts of Victoria following a month of average to below average rainfall, it said in its latest drought statement.
Deficiencies around Portland in western Victoria had intensified due to January totals amounting to only around 60 percent of average there, it
said. … . The 40 months from October 1996 to January 2000 had been very dry in an area extending from the southern Eyre Peninsula in South Australia to Sale in eastern Victoria and also into the northeast of Tasmania. Some of these regions had had the lowest rainfall on record for the
period. …”

Please have also a look on a list of links for information on Australian Fire Management Agencies:

Australasian Fire Authorities Council

The home page of the Australasian Fire Authorities Council coordinates the diverse range of activities of the different australian agencies concerned about fire


The firebreak newsletter provides a very extensive homepage with information about fire fighting in Australia, downloadable java scripts for calculating fire weather and various links to related sites

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Victoria

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Victoria offers a very comprehensive web site with information on fire management. In their web site   current reports are provided with statistics on the fire season. Extensive background information is included along with several links to related web sites.

Satellite Remote Sensing Services Department of Land Administration (DOLA)
The Satellite Remote Sensing Services (SRSS) of the Department of Land Administration provides near real time hot spot detection and burned scar mapping for western Australia. In the Firewatch project the SRSS detects hotspots throughout Western Australia using the thermal channel of the NOAA AVHRR sensor on a daily basis.

For more informations on Australia go to the IFFN country files.

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