NAFI’s Practical Mapping Tools: Evaluation

At the end of the year, it can be useful to access fire data and evaluate the burning that occurred throughout the year, the impacts, the management successes and failures. This may be required for formal reporting, or simply to help with your understanding of fire on your state, to inform improved management in coming years.

NAFI has a number of tools available to assist with evaluation and reporting.

Creating Reports

NAFI currently has two reporting sites available for your reporting:

  1. NAFI Infonet Reports’ and
  2. the ‘Savanna Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting Framework (SMERF)’

You can create Portable Document Format (PDF) reports that produce tables and graphs that analyse and summarise fire history patterns within a user-defined area. The reporting sites are quick and easy to use and don’t require any GIS skills.

1. Creating Infonet Reports

The infonet site can be accessed through the NAFI website or independently at The Infonet site also provides NRM information for areas of land in the NT. The burnt area data used to compile these reports comes from NAFI and the rest from NT Government records. The results are presented as either Portable Document Format (PDF) or CSV downloads.

Two types of fire-related reports can be generated for download on the NRM Infonet website (Fire History or Fire Scars by Year).

Fire History Report

You can choose from three date ranges for your fire history report:

  1. 2000 – 2014 (the entire range),
  2. 2000-2009 (the earliest 10 year period), and
  3. 2005-2014 (the most recent 10 year period)

Comparing fire history reports from the two ten year periods allows you to see how fire histories have changed over time in an area and to gauge fire management progress.

Fire history reports on your selected area feature a detailed profile of recent fire history including fire frequency, frequency of area burnt late in the year and the time since an area was last burnt. Climate profiles are also included in the fire history report. This report shows:

  1. The Fire Frequency experienced by various areas within your selected area period since the year 2000. These reports can be useful in identifying areas within a property that are subject to either very frequent fires or very few fires – and in measuring progress in changing or maintaining fire frequencies in those areas. The report provides a table, map and graph.
  1. The Late Fire Frequency: Similar to the fire frequency report above, but showing only the frequency of fires in the late dry season (occurring after July 31) affecting your area of interest.
  1. The Year Last Burnt: showing the years in which various parts of your selected area were last burnt, again as a table, a map and a graph. These reports can be useful in identifying how long areas of country have been free of fire which can be important for fire sensitive plants and animals.

Fire Scar by Year Report

This report lists the areas of country burnt in each month for any of the years since 2000, (including current year – month to date), as well as areas not burnt in the selected area. You can select multiple years in your report.

The results are displayed as a table showing the area burnt in each month, for each requested year, based on measuring the area of the relevant fire scars. An average amount burnt for each month for the years requested is also provided.

This report also graphs the monthly distribution of fire for each year. By creating a report on a group of recent years and comparing them to a report on a group of earlier years, you can see if the seasonal pattern of fire in your selected area has been changing.

For the purposes of this exercise; we will be looking at creating Fire History Reports, which can be generated for all of northern Australia.

Below is a video demonstration of how to use this tool followed by a step-by-step guide.

Step-By-Step Guide: Creating Infonet Reports

  1. To generate a report, you must first select the area which you want to profile. When you enter the reporting (Infonet) site from NAFI; the area you were looking at on NAFI will be already selected as shown by the pink boundary. Using the ‘Fire Maps’ menu, the homepage’s ‘Satellite Image’ or the ‘My Areas’ menu:
  2. Select your area of interest.
  3. Select the ‘Reports’ tab.

This will take you to a new page.

  1. Select ‘Go to reporting site‘.

This will take you to the Infonet site with your area of interest highlighted pink. Infonet will report on the highlighted area.

  1. Click on the report type you desire – ‘Fire History’ as shown in the example below or ‘Fire Scar by Year’.
  2. Click on your desired time-series.
  3. A pop-up box will appear – select where you would like to save the file to.
  4. Click save.
  1. Navigate you where you saved your file and explore the report. The report below was created using the area of interest highlighted in pink above.

Other options for selecting custom and pre-set areas

Other options for selecting areas of interest from within the infonet site include:

1. Drawing a custom Boundary

The NRM Infonet site allows you to draw the following area types:
Any shape: selecting this option allows you to draw a boundary of any shape with the cursor – e.g. around a property boundary. Once you have completed the shape just double-click and the area will be highlighted. You can also make the report area include a buffer of a set width in kms around your initial drawn line.
Point/Circle: this option allows you report on a circular area of a set radius.
Box: this option allows you to drag out a rectangular area on the map. You can set a buffer around the rectangle.
Line/Path: this option allows you to draw a line or path – for example along a road or river – and then set a buffer area of a given width (in kms) around this line.

  1. Click on the ‘Draw Boundary’ button to draw your own area with the cursor on the map viewer (so you can select any area you want). This will expand the menu.
  2. Select the type of boundary you want to draw from the drop-down menu.
  3. You can set a buffer area around your shape/box or line – or set the radius of your circle.
  4. You can name your area by typing in the box.

Once you have selected the type of shape and buffer, click on the map with your cursor (which will have a blue circle at the end) and click around the boundary you want. You can draw the boundary clockwise or counter clockwise. When finished, double-click and the area you have selected will be highlighted in orange on the map.

  1. You can clear the area drawn using the ‘Clear’ button.

HINT: The buffer is not reset when you draw a new shape so that you can draw the same shape again with the same buffer if you
make a mistake. To reset the buffer, just enter 0 at Step 3 above.

2. Selecting a pre-set area

It can be useful to have the exact boundaries of some areas stored as a menu option. Preset boundaries are good for areas with complex boundaries that use rivers and coastlines –and for areas that you need to report on regularly and that you want a consistent boundary for. These are available as pre-set areas using the ‘drop-down menus’ that display ‘From linked area‘ (useful for consistent reporting). You can choose from a range of pre-set area types such as Indigenous Protected areas, grazing properties and parks and reserves.

  1. Click on the ‘Choose a pre-set area’ drop-down icon and choose a category from the drop-down menu. Apart from the area linked from NAFI you can choose to select a State/Territory or the boundary of the displayed map.
  2. Select area type‘ this drop-down menu lists the types of areas available for that State/Territory. Click on the type desired.
  3. Another box will appear with pre-set areas for that type of area. Using the ‘Select area‘ drop-down menu, click on the area you want. This will produce the area highlighted on the map in pink.
  4. Select your report type and another box will appear.
  5. Select your desired report.

2. Creating SMERF Reports

The Savanna Monitoring & Evaluation Reporting Framework (SMERF) is an on-line reporting tool developed by the Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research designed to assist land managers to evaluate the effects of fire on individual properties or regions across northern Australia.

Using NAFI’s moderate resolution burnt area mapping a suite of fire metrics have been developed providing burnt area maps, graphs and tables of data that provide capacity to evaluate the effects of fire, either from prescribed burning activities or wildfire, at property and regional scales.  The data is reported and displayed for multiple years over time to allow the user to identify trends and changes over time online and in a printable report.

The SMERF dashboard is found at

1. Using the drop-down menus, filter by:

a. State

b. Area Type

c. Property

2. Seven different metrics are available: Explore each metric.

Yearly Fire Seasonality: These data show the total area burnt each year as a % of the total project area, for the EDS and LDS.  Wildfires dominate in the LDS, causing massive destruction to biodiversity in most but not all habitats. Under improved fire management, the area affected by LDS wildfires should decrease.

Fire Frequency: The calculation of the proportion of the number of times an area has been burnt in a 10-year period.  The higher the proportion of high fire frequency the worse the effect on biodiversity. Mean fire frequency should decrease through time with improved fire management.

LDS Fire Frequency: Using LDS data only.

Time Since Last Burnt: The calculation of the proportion of the number of times an area has been burnt in a 10-year period.  The higher the proportion of high fire frequency the worse the effect on biodiversity.  Mean fire frequency should decrease through time with improved fire management.

→ Time Since Last Burnt (LDS): Using LDS data only.

Unburnt More Than 2 Years: The calculation of the proportion of the number of times an area has been burnt in a 10-year period.  The higher the proportion of high fire frequency the worse the effect on biodiversity.  Mean fire frequency should decrease through time with improved fire management.

→ Unburnt More Than 5 Years

3. Select the relevant year or time series you are interested in

The graph on the bottom-right hand side of the dashboard provides data over the past 10-years. Using the drop-down menu in the window on the top-right hand side of the dashboard select the relevant year or time series you are interested in.

4. Save or print your report

To save or print your report simply select the ‘Print Report’ button and follow the prompts.

Downloading Fire Data

It can be useful to display the NAFI fire maps alongside your own map data, (eg. locations of tracks, fence-lines, or significant areas), for planning or reporting on your fire management. One way to do this is to download the NAFI maps into a mapping program like Google Earth, QGIS or ArcGIS. Under the ‘Data’ tab the NAFI site provides tools to download NAFI fire maps in the correct format for these programs. We discuss and work through downloading and using this data in our ‘QGIS for North Australian Fire Managers’ course.