Australia — Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland, New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services Steve Whan and Victorian Minister for Emergency Services Bob Cameron have released an independent report into the trial of bushfire detection cameras conducted earlier this year.
The report, Remote Fire Detection Trials Evaluation of Three Fire Detection Systems’, by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), undertaken by the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO), examines whether the critical time between a fire starting and it being detected could be reduced by the use of remotely controlled bushfire detection cameras.
The trial conducted between February and April in the Otway Ranges in Victoria and near Tumut in New South Wales aimed to: assess the ability of bushfire detection cameras to detect fire outbreaks; assess the technology’s potential to integrate into fire service systems and processes; provide information for situational awareness; and examine whether remote cameras would avoid detecting events that were not fires.
The report finds that all camera systems tested were able to observe and locate fires during both day and night.
However, detection by the camera systems was slower and less reliable than by a trained human observer in a fire tower.
Accordingly, the report states that it is not possible to rely on the cameras as a sole primary detection method; however, they could be used to supplement other detection methods, particularly at night, or in remote locations.
The Commonwealth has agreed to conduct a national workshop to discuss the outcomes of the trial and to review the report in detail to consider the use of fire detection cameras in Australia.
The workshop will bring together senior representatives from the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, emergency management agencies, as well as key members of the scientific and research community.
The three companies that participated in the trial, FireWatch Australia, Eyefi and Fire Fighting Technologies International, have also been invited to present on their products.
A report on the outcomes of the workshop will be provided to the National Emergency Management Committee for consideration.