Australia will develop a nationally consistent bushfire modelling and prediction capability under an agreement announced between CSIRO, AFAC and the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services.
The partnership involves the development of Spark Operational, a cutting-edge bushfire simulation tool based on CSIRO’s ‘Spark’ fire prediction platform.
Fire and emergency services agencies across Australia will be able to use Spark Operational, opening bushfire prediction opportunities across borders and over different landscapes.
CSIRO’s Spark platform combines current fire behaviour knowledge with state-of-the-art simulation science to produce predictions, statistics and visualisations of bushfire spread, as well as simulating hours of fire spread across a landscape in a matter of seconds.
AFAC’s Fire Prediction Services Group will work with CSIRO to improve existing technology and build a national system that allows for consistent bushfire predictions to support emergency service and response teams across borders.
Phase one of the technology’s implementation commenced January 2021, with further developments over the next three years.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the innovation built on decades of expertise. “Our solutions from science have protected Australians from the threat of bushfires for over 70 years, from roadside fire danger signs to advanced burn over protection materials,” Dr Marshall said.
“But 2020 changed the game forever. So, we have changed our game too, by unleashing new science and technology to protect our firefighters and Australian communities.
“We believe this advanced system will help firefighters outthink fire, to anticipate its actions, and to get ahead of it, so they can beat it.”