Identifying water sources for aerial firefighting - final report | Natural Hazards Research Australia

Identifying water sources for aerial firefighting - final report

Final report

Dr John Bates
Research theme

Situational awareness

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Author Caitlin Adams , Madeleine Seehaber , Fang Yuan , Roshni Sharma

During active fire events, aerial firefighting units are dispatched by members of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC). NAFC members use a variety of data sources to help identify locations for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft to access water. For effective decision making, current and accurate information is critical.

This project identified how existing Geoscience Australia (GA) Digital Earth Australia (DEA) satellite-based data products could be tailored to suit the needs of NAFC. This project aimed to identify additional attributes that would add value to the existing DEA Waterbodies product for users in the emergency management sector and create the associated framework for implementation by Geoscience Australia. FrontierSI hosted an interactive user needs workshop with emergency management agencies from across Australia. This workshop provided insight into how current waterbody datasets are being used and what additional waterbody attributes are needed by users for pre-planning decisions.

A localised prototype workflow was developed, which implements and updates these new attributes. The prototype was developed with the intention that this workflow is implementable by GA. Through communication with the DEA team responsible for the data production and the Flying Hellfish team responsible for cloud services, the workflow was modified to suit the production environment. In the interim, this workflow can be run by NAFC to extract necessary information from the waterbodies product while GA works through implementing the upgrades. This project was successful in identifying and implementing user-driven improvements to the DEA Waterbodies product, and concluded with a set of recommendations for future development for both NAFC and GA.

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Identifying water sources for aerial firefighting