NORTHERN TERRITORY RISK REDUCTION PROGRAM

Supporting risk reduction through the provision of on-line high resolution burnt area mapping for Greater Darwin and Katherine.

Background:

The Darwin and Katherine rural areas are highly fire prone, with over 50% of available landscape affected by fire every year. The introduction of high biomass weeds, such as Gamba, has increased the risk of the effects of fire to Life, Property and the Environment. The NAFI fire mapping system provides fire mapping from past years, describing ground fuel age and therefore fuel loads. Fire mapping for the current year, illustrates existing fire breaks, whilst active fires are also highlighted.

The NAFI system uses moderate resolution satellite imagery to map fires. Fires in Darwin/Katherine are much smaller than can be detected by this moderate resolution imagery.

Aim

The project seeks to provide high resolution mapping of burnt areas through the active fire season in the Darwin region to support strategic fuel reduction activities and emergency response planning. A detailed and up-to-date picture of fuel loads based on recent fire history information provides a more sophisticated and reliable way to plan reduction burns and asses risks during active fires. Providing this data on-line through the North Australia Fire Information (NAFI) service and leveraging the mobile NAFI app under development will allow users to undertake near real time assessments of fire spread risk.

Project activites

The project implementation can be broken up into two streams; 1) the development of a robust, semi-automated method for producing reliable burnt area mapping using high resolution satellite data by NTG agency staff and 2) development of a simple uploading and data servicing method within NAFI, supporting seamless and timely mapping updates.

The fire mapping method will build on existing skills within DCBR Bushfires NT, and NTFRS to create a set of simple techniques and tools to support a rapid mapping approach. This will leverage freely available online Satellite image services and Open Source mapping tools. In tandem with the mapping process a field validation program will be developed for quality assurance.

Development within the NAFI spatial data-base and server will link new high-resolution mapping within the current NAFI interface and be incorporated into the NAFI mobile app currently under development by Gaia Resources. The backend development will allow NTG-based mappers to easily and remotely update the high resolution mapping.