SA aerial mapping specialist, Aerometrex, has developed technology able to determine the exact fuel load densities in any bushfire prone region in three dimensions.
The move is expected to bring a critical new pre-emptive fire-fighting tool in time for emergency and government authorities to use during the imminent 2020-2021 fire season.
Fuel loads are one of the primary causes behind the intensity and scope of evolving bushfires, along with prevailing weather conditions.
Quantifying bushfire fuel loads and overall fuel hazards is a fundamental step in bushfire management and planning and for better understanding of the risks posed by bushfires to the community, the economy and the environment. Additionally, of all the factors that govern the severity of a bushfire – the fuel load is the only one that humans can influence through management practices.
The new technology surpasses current and historic methodologies through delivering and visualising data not possible to be collected or “seen” from conventional satellite, aerial or drone imagery fire-fighting tools.
It provides real-time insights and ultra-high data capture density at critical times, into fuel loads and their location underneath tree canopies – regardless of location, terrain type, ground cover or accessibility.
The process was developed during exhaustive new work by Aerometrex this year, in close collaboration with bushfire experts within state and local governments, in the wake of the calamitous 2019-2020 bushfires that particularly swept SA, NSW, Victoria and Queensland last December-January.
The research follows detailed recommendations of the Bushfire Royal Commission, state-level bushfire inquiries and the final reports published by the Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC.
Many of these reports highlighted remote sensing technologies such as LIDAR as critical resources that have the potential to revolutionise bushfire management and response practices following the 2019/2020 Australian bushfire season.