Modelling fire weather interactions using the ACCESS-Fire model | Natural Hazards Research Australia

Modelling fire weather interactions using the ACCESS-Fire model

Research theme

Learning from disasters

Project type

Commissioned research

Project status


This project is part of the Black Summer research program funded by the Commonwealth Government through the 10-year extension of funding into natural hazard research in Australia.


Project details

The 2019-20 fire season resulted in unprecedented fire activity across multiple states. Climate drivers and extended drought producing dry, flammable fuels were a key mechanism driving the broad spatial extent and prolonged nature of the campaign fires. However, on several high-end days embedded in the season, when Severe to Catastrophic fire danger was forecast, fire behaviour occurred that first responders and communities were unprepared for.

This project simulated five of the most impactful events from the 2019-20 fire season using the coupled fire-atmosphere model ACCESS-Fire to investigate the processes and impacts of fire-atmosphere interactions. The fire case studies were: Yanchep (WA), Green Valley Talmalmo/Corryong (NSW/Victoria), Kangaroo Island (SA), Stanthorpe (Qld) and Badja Forest (NSW). The project conducted a preliminary analysis of all simulations, and following discussion with stakeholders, a deeper analysis of the scientifically most interesting. This further progresses the development and awareness of ACCESS-Fire capability. Continued application of the coupled model is consistent with growing international interest in understanding and prediction of fire-atmosphere feedbacks in a changing climate with increasingly frequent extreme fire events.