by Rebecca Merrett

CSIRO launches bushfire prediction software

May 06, 20152 mins
Data Mining

The CSIRO has created prediction software, dubbed Spark, that gives advanced warning on where and when a bushfire will break out.

With bushfires being a major problem in Australia, the software allows firefighting agencies to act on bushfires before they occur.

It also predicts how an already occuring fire will spread and the severity to help firefighters decide how best to make use of resources and tackle the problem more effectively.

The CSIRO used geospatial data such as vegetation types, topography; un-burnable elements such as roads and bodies of water; and weather data such as air temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind direction, to do the predictive modelling. It combined this with state of the art simulation science.

“We have had the capacity to model the spread of bushfires for more than 20 years. Spark takes that technology into the 21st century by marrying the foundation of our fire behaviour knowledge with the state of the art in simulation science,” CSIRO’s bushfire behaviour expert, Dr Andrew Sullivan, said in a statement.

“The next step is to work with the rural fire authorities and land management agencies to incorporate Spark into bushfire planning and management processes,” CSIRO’s computational modelling researcher, Dr Mahesh Prakash, added.

The software has been developed as an open framework for fire fighting agencies to easily incorporate into their existing systems. This also makes it easy for scientists to collaborate and keep adding new fire behaviour knowledge to the predictive modelling.