NAFI’s Practical Mapping Tools: Fire History: Planning

NAFI data, particularly burnt area fire history, is very useful for ‘planning’ strategic burning before the start of the fire season. Recent fire history can provide a guide to grassy fuel levels, particularly where rainfall is reliable and there is limited grazing.

Create a custom area

It can be helpful to add custom areas so that you can quickly revisit a particular area of interest simply by clicking on that area in ‘My Areas’. Below is a demonstration of how to use this tool followed by a step-by-step guide.

  1. Navigate to an area on NAFI that you want to set as a new custom area and then click the green ‘plus’ button in the ‘My Areas’ list in the menu on the left of the NAFI site. A ‘Create a Custom Area’ pop-up will appear.
  2. Insert a meaningful name for your area in the box beside ‘Area name’.
  3. Hit the ‘Add Area’ button and your new area will appear in the “My Areas” list with a red button as shown below.

To delete the area simply click on the red button with the minus symbol next to the area’s name and follow the prompts.

Set a Hotspot Alert

You can set up an alert to receive an email if hotspots are detected within a custom area. This can be a useful tool if you have infrequent but significant fires and so do not want to monitor the NAFI site all the time, but do want to know when a hotspot is detected. Below is a demonstration of how to use this tool followed by a step-by-step guide.

Step 1

In the ‘Fire Maps’ tab you can reduce the menu by clicking on the ‘Areas’ Button and select ‘Hotspot Alert’.

A drop-down menu will appear. Select the ‘Set up alert’ button.

Another pop-up box will appear.

  1. Insert your email address
  2. Insert a password – if this is the first time you are creating a NAFI log on profile; check the ‘No, I need to create one’ otherwise check the circle next to the ‘Yes, my password is’ and enter your NAFI password onto the box on that line. Note: you do not need to use your personal email password – create one specifically for use in NAFI.
  3. Select the ‘Log on’ button
  4. If in the future you forget your password; click on the ‘Forgotten your password?’ button and follow the prompts.

Step 2

Once logged on another pop-up box will appear like the one below. It will provide you with a list of your custom areas. In this instance we have only one area set but if you have multiple you can chose which ones you wish to receive email alerts for simply by checking the box next to the alert.

Once you have selected the areas you wish to receive hotspot alerts for; click on the update button and a notification will appear to advise that your email alerts have been updated.

Note: you will be alerted for any hotspots that fall within your custom area – if you find this area is too large; simply:

  1. Create a new custom area
  2. Log back into the ‘Set up alert
  3. Uncheck the custom area that is too large
  4. Check the new custom area
  5. Click ‘Update’

Viewing Fire History

1. The ‘Fire History’ tab

The ‘Fire History’ tab groups tools associated with displaying maps of burnt area history. These maps allow you to view patterns of fire frequency or time since burnt across the period 2000-present year. These maps are useful for seeing what long term fire patterns country has had, and what fire management it might need.

The ‘Fire History’ menu offers four groups of fire history patterns as well as a series of Hi-Resolution Fire Histories and historical hotspot data.

2. Fire Histories

Years Burnt 00-21’, or ‘Fire Frequency‘, displays the number of years a given area of land was detected as being burnt from 2000 to the present year. The higher the number of years burnt, the warmer the colour. These maps can be useful for identifying areas susceptible to high fire frequencies – and areas protected from frequent fire.

Late Burnt 00-21’, or ‘Late Dry Season Fire Frequency’, displays the number of years a given area of land was detected as being burnt after July 31, from 2000 to the present year. These maps can be useful for identifying areas frequently burnt by more intense fires.

Last Burnt 00-21’, or ‘Year Since Last Burnt’, displays the last year in which a given area of land was detected as being burnt between 2000 and the present year. In this case the warmer colours indicate areas that were last burnt more recently. These maps can be useful if you have areas of country that need a certain period free from fire.

These metrics are also available in a timeseries of just the past 10 years.

Standard Map Tab & Button

To restore the map back to the current year fire scars at any time; simply click the ‘Standard Map‘ tab in the top right of the NAFI screen. This tool has been added as a button in the ‘Fire Histories’ and ‘Recently Burnt Areas’ menus for convenience.

3. Recently Burnt Areas

Recently Burnt Areas allows you to see what country has been burnt in the last two to four years. These layers are useful for estimating grassy fuel loads, particularly in the far north where fires occur frequently. These layers are also available under the ‘Track Fires’ tab which houses layers for the ‘Assessment’ and ‘Response’ phases.

4. Fire Scars by Month

Fire Scars by Month allows you to see the seasonality of fire in past years and how it may have changed back to 2000.

5. Fire Scars By Year

Fire Scars by Year allows you to view burnt area by the year back to 2000. Each years’ burnt areas are displayed with a single colour.

Other Fire History Tools

Hires Fire Histories

High-resolution mapping provides more 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. The NAFI system uses moderate resolution satellite imagery to map fires. Providing this data on-line through the North Australia Fire Information (NAFI) service allows users to undertake near real time assessments of fire spread risk.

High-resolution burnt area mapping is available for select years in the North Kimberley, Pilbara and Desert regions of Western Australia; the Vernon , Katherine and Arnhem Land regions of the Northern Territory and for the majority of Queensland.

The Arnhem Land and Kimberley mapping is produced by NAFI and the Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research mappers using the same standards and similar methodologies to NAFI’s MODIS mapping products. The Northern Territory’s Darwin and Katherine regional mapping is produced using a robust semi-automated methodology provided by NAFI which is manually edited and verified by the Northern Territory Government’s Bushfires NT mappers for the reliable production of high-resolution burnt area mapping. The Queensland mapping is provided by the Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) using machine learning and specialised operational mapping technology to produce a monthly burnt area mapping product.

Hotspots by Month

Full-year hotspot layers are available from 2004 onwards. The hotspots from May-October are coloured by month with the earlier and later months (January-April and November-December) grouped.