GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia, 11 September 2000

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

11 September 2000

Record dry continues in southeast Australia
SYDNEY, September 11, 2000

“Australia’s August rainfall was generally below average in regions that had been affected by deficiencies at the end of July, the National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology said. In particular there was no improvement in the southeast of the country where deficiencies had been present for nearly four years, it said. Rainfall for the past 47 months in southern Victoria and in the southeast of South Australia were the lowest for the region since at least 1900, it said. For the seven months to August 31 this year, the rainfall deficient region of southeast Queensland expanded into the northeast corner of New South Wales following below average August rainfall, it said. A small area of rainfall deficiency also persisted to the southeast of Perth in Western Australia, it said.”

(Source: Planet Ark)

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 (30 KB)

Fire Detection Map for Australia for 11 September 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 mainly represents fire events from Western Australia and Northern Territories)

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is the National Meteorological Service for Australia and provides essential meteorological services to all sectors of the Australian community.

Northern Territory
Very high north of Elliott and high elsewhere north of Tennant Creek.

Western Australia
Town of Port Hedland – High
Shire of Roebourne-  High
Shire of Ashburton- High
Shire of East Pilbara- High to very high
Kimberley – High to very high

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 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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