Bushfire information database - scoping study | Natural Hazards Research Australia

Bushfire information database - scoping study

Project type

Core research

Project status

In progress

This scoping project meets the need for a consolidated understanding of the quality, purpose and availability of bushfire datasets in Australia. It responds to findings – from the 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and the 2020 NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry – that Australia does not have a national centralised bushfire information database.

Researchers are now seeking information about bushfire data and datasets. Submit information here. 

Examples of the types of bushfire-related data researchers are looking for includes: 

  • environmental (e.g., vegetation, climate related, topography, etc.)
  • social (e.g., travel/daily activity diaries, demographic information, mitigation behaviours, preparedness/risk assessments, etc.)
  • economic (e.g., economic impacts of disasters, mitigation costs, etc.)
  • emergency (e.g., evacuation/public response behaviour, emergency response logistics, etc.)
  • built environment (e.g., building damage, building and planning, utility and infrastructure access, post-bushfire surveys, regulations, etc.)
  • bushfire (e.g., extent, ignition, etc.)
  • any other data you think might be relevant to understand bushfires.
Project details

The 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and the 2020 NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry both found that Australia does not have a national centralised bushfire information database that can be used to understand trends, including in bushfire intensity and extent, and the extent and efficacy of mitigation activities. This means that policy and decision-makers currently do not have access to all the credible information required for evidence-informed practice. 

This project is aimed at scoping the knowledge gaps and data needs and availability for this database, building an understanding of the bushfire data landscape in Australia and providing guidance to assist with the development of a national plan to improve data collection. 

The project will include:

  • an audit of current datasets
  • a sector needs analysis to inform a comprehensive gap analysis
  • a comparison of current datasets and systems with international practice
  • development of recommendations to inform the development of a National Bushfire Information Database and a plan for achieving this. 

The four main outcomes of this interdisciplinary study include:  

  1. a holistic understanding of bushfire information databases across Australia, including the characteristics, limitations, use, and stakeholders associated with the data.

  1. a systematic understanding of gaps as well as system integration challenges that will collectively provide the knowledge necessary for future development of a nationally consistent bushfire information database.

  1. strengthened collaborations and knowledge transfer between emergency management professionals within and outside of Australia.

  1. a guideline that can be used by federal and local agencies to prioritise future initiatives for efficient and impactful investments in moving towards bushfire analytics in Australia. 

With the involvement of wide range of stakeholders, the outcomes of this project will be delivered as a report to provide the context of bushfire data in Australia, depicting the potential alternatives for a national database as well as unique characteristics that can be considered in this consolidated approach. Providing a comparative framework with international examples, the guideline and communications pieces will be presented to the stakeholders for implementation in practice. 

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