Using next generation simulations to prevent bushfires

Wednesday, 16 November, 2016

News Using-next-gen-sim-to-prevent-bushfires SPARK-Defence

Our Bushfire Team have recently developed models for use with CSIRO’s next generation bushfire simulator SPARK to predict fire spread, impact and protection from bushfire at numerous sites across Australia.

This exciting new software accurately simulates fire spread under varying site, weather and ignition scenarios. Whilst fire spread models have been used in the past for real-time fire suppression, the models developed by Eco Logical Australia take this a step further. With our innovative modelling approach we can help our clients better prepare for and prevent bushfires.

Numerous “what if?” scenarios are now run in minutes; compared to what previously took days or weeks and therefore were rarely done. The new models are widely applicable in bushfire planning from how best to control ignitions, through to analysing feasibility of fire control at various points in the landscape to evacuation planning.

The fire spread and intensity modelling is revolutionising Bushfire Management Plans with the more accurate and comprehensive predictions already resulting in major shifts in management practices.

Some specific examples of how we are applying this cutting edge technology include:

  • Determining when and where the risk to life of bushwalkers, campers or military personnel is too high.
  • Accurately prescribing the time required to safely evacuate and by what routes.
  • Relocating potential ignition sources to sites with lower risk outcomes.
  • Identifying optimal locations and standards for fire trails or fire breaks.
  • Demonstrating when prescribed burning is effective for life and property protection and the environmental impacts of such design.
  • Testing the likely effectiveness of firefighting based on expected response times and feasibility of appropriate levels of firefighter safety.

The flexibility of the SPARK models has also allowed us to conduct stakeholder workshops with rapid testing of new fire scenarios in real-time. The output fire spread and intensity models are already receiving high praise from major land managers across the nation including the Department of Defence.