GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

21 September 2001

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 (55 KB)

Fire Detection Map for Australia for 21 September  2001 overlaid on a pan-Australian vegetation cover map.
Source fire coordinates (manual): 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 TOMS Global Aerosol Hot Spots Page provides screened close-ups of regions with active fires and smoke emissions, displayed in the following table.

5 September 2001

6 September 2001

7 September 2001

8 September 2001

9 September 2001

10 September 2001

This is the fire season in Australia, and we’ve started seeing smoke over that country.
NOTE: The surface background image used here is NOT part of the TOMS aerosol index retrieval.
(Source: TOMS Global Aerosol Hot Spots Page)

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

Fire danger:

Northern Territory High throughout

Western Australia
Town of Port Hedland
Shire of Roebourne
Shire of Ashburton
Shire of East Pilbara


For more information on Australia see the IFFN country notes and have a look at the Austalian and New Zealand links.

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