Queensland scientists help in bushfire battle

Queensland scientists help in bushfire battle

19 December 2013

published by www.mysunshinecoast.com.au

Australia — Queensland fire fighters have a new first line of defence with satellite imaging providing them with the latest intelligence on where dangerous blazes might happen next.

Science and Innovation Minister Ian Walker said Queensland scientists have developed fire scar mapping which show a 27 year history of where fires have burnt, how many times an area has been impacted and how long it’s been since a fire broke out.

“This is important information that gives insight into fuel load build up and fire risk,” Mr Walker said.

“The newly developed computer software maps the extent of past bushfires from NASA’s Landsat satellite imagery and is already attracting interest from stakeholders in Queensland as well as other states and territories in Australia.”

Developed by the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA) scientists at the Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane, fire scar mapping provides detailed information to emergency services, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, councils and property managers.

Mr Walker said unlike Labor, the CanDo Government is working hard to rebuild Queensland’s practical scientific capability to boost the four pillars of the economy.

“While Labor’s decisions were based on political whims, the Newman Government is committed to supporting good science that meets the challenges and demands of a modern environment,” Mr Walker said.

“These data sets are available to the public for the first time and will benefit a large range of conservation and resource management objectives, including ongoing scientific research.”

DSITIA Principal Remote Sensing Scientist Dan Tindall said Landsat satellites have captured more than 60,000 images of Queensland over the past 27 years at a resolution ideal for regional and local mapping.

“We are releasing annual fire scar maps from 1986 to today which will contribute greatly to the ongoing development of fire management plans and risk assessments and allow government agencies to focus resources where they are needed most,” Mr Tindall said.

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