Our bushfire research is improving the understanding of fire, and improving technologies and strategies to save lives and limit damage.

Bushfire has been part of the Australian landscape for millions of years. Much of our vegetation has evolved with fire, and like the vegetation in other harsh and dry environments, it has developed characteristics that promote the spread of fire.

Australian scientists are developing reliable tools for predicting bushfire behaviour to save lives and limit damage.

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Narrator: Bushfires are part of life in Australia,

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and when they burn out of control near populated areas can cause significant loss of life and property.

CSIRO has been conducting bushfire research for over 60-years.

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Bushfires can start in a variety of ways, but there are three factors that contribute to the behaviour of a bushfire.

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The weather, the vegetation and the terrain.

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Fire Danger Ratings for Australia’s two predominant types of vegetation, grasslands and forests, 

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are based on wind speed, air temperature, relative humidity and rainfall.

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By analysing observations and forecasts of these variables CSIRO can estimate the likelihood of fire weather and potential severity of bushfire occurrence anywhere in Australia, now and into the future.

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Over recent decades we’ve seen an increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather in Australia.  We predict that many regions will see a significant increase in the probability of the highest levels of fire danger in the years ahead.

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CSIRO is developing the science and tools to enable communities to better understand the changing profile of their bushfire risk and help them develop effective, locally relevant plans to protect property and life.

[CSIRO logo appears on screen with text: To learn more about bushfire prevention and response in your area, contact your local fire authority.]
 

Predicting and preparing for bushfires

We undertake work on advancing fire spread prediction and bushfire suppression systems by using sophisticated data analysis techniques and computer modelling. Working with state land management, rural fire agencies and other research agencies, our scientists apply knowledge of bushfire dynamics to real events and help predict risks.

We have been involved in bushfire research for more than sixty years. This has focused on:

  • development of fire data analysis tools
  • understanding and predicting bushfire behaviour
  • the impact of bushfires on infrastructure
  • ecological responses to fire
  • the impact of climate change on bushfire risk
  • pollutants and greenhouse gases as a result of bushfires.

Research results have been used to respond to bushfire threat through weather warnings, fire location information, fire-fighter training, predicting fire behaviour and informing fire safety policy.

A summary of CSIRO's key bushfire research findings.

The three factors that contribute to fire behaviour are:

  • Weather
  • Terrain
  • Vegetation

The four main attributes that fire danger warnings are based on:

  • Wind speed
  • Air temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Recent rainfall

The frequency and severity of fire weather has increased over recent decades.

We predict many regions will see a significant increase in the highest levels of fire danger in the year ahead.

CSIRO is developing the science and tools to enable communities to better understand the changing profile of their bushfire risk and help them develop effective locally-relevant plans to protect property and life.

To learn more about bushfire prevention and response in your area, contact your local fire authority.

Key insights from CSIRO's bushfire research.

Download a copy of the Bushfire Research infographic [png · 4mb].

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