Accurate information about water sources for aerial firefighters | Natural Hazards Research Australia

Accurate information about water sources for aerial firefighters

Release date

13 December 2022

New research will help aerial firefighters locate accessible water sources as close as possible to an active bushfire, using reliable and recent water data.

During a bushfire, members of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) use a variety of data sources (through an online system called Arena) to find water sources for firefighting helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. It is critical that the most current and accurate data about the location of water is available as quickly as possible.

The newly commenced Identifying water sources for aerial firefighting research project is a collaboration between Natural Hazards Research Australia (the Centre), FrontierSI, Geoscience Australia and NAFC, extending initial research completed through an earlier Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Black Summer project.

This new research will deliver a prototype spatial product that enhances the reliability and currency of information about water bodies by improving how recently the data was collected. The research will support NAFC by tailoring Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Australia data products to better identify water sources, including combining existing data created from Digital Earth Australia with new information, such as the latest date that water was observed. Researchers will also demonstrate the product’s use when integrated with NAFC’s web mapping applications. 

The research team comprises lead researcher Dr Fang Yuan, Roshni Sharma, Dr Caitlin Adams and Madeleine Seehaber from FrontierSI. Key end-users are Sandra Whight and Anthony Gallacher from NAFC, and Norman Mueller and Bex Dunn from Geoscience Australia.

The project will finish in May 2023.

Learn more about this research here.