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Managing bushfires: opportunities for technology to support decisions, from the fireground to the IMT and beyond

Contact Information

Dr Comac Purcell

EMSINA's 5 Capability Questions

Q1: What is the Project Scope / What is trying to be solved?

This project is a user-driven Concurrent Design Workshop for a future bushfire management system. The workshop took place in February 2021 with the goal of 1) recording current best practice on fighting bushfires, and 2) identifying the technological user needs that, if addressed, are most likely to have greatest impact.


Q2: What will be available to the EM community / decision makers at the end of your project?

A formal report is being prepared in consultation with the rural fire services in multiple states. This document follows on and meshes with the report from the Bushfire Data Quest 2020 (here), which applied artificial intelligence and Earth-observation data to firefighting challenge questions.


Q3: How will the EM Sector access the results?

The report will be completely open and published online by Trillium Technologies and UNSW. We hope that it will complement the recent top-down reports, such as the once by cross-agency task force led by the ASA.


Q4: What are the main hurdles faced in completing your Project?

The main hurdle was synthesising and assimilating the large amount of information communicated by the ACT RFS and AFAC, with whom we were deeply engaged. We are very grateful for their efforts during the workshop.


Q5: What input data / work do you need from jurisdictions?

The report will be released in mid-April, so we would like to use the EMSINA meeting to get feedback on our initial findings. We are seeking to capture the diversity of practices in fighting fires, and to build a consensus on key needs for the future.


Other Information

Other information provided by the presenter.

This new report is part of a larger effort to build better tools for managing disasters, incorporating remote sensing data and making use of machine learning technology. In mid-2021we will be running two research challenges on bushfires in Australia as part of the Frontier Development Lab program (see

Question and Answers

The following are overflow questions that the presenter was unable to answer during the meeting.

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