Bush fires

Project Info

The Digbys thumbnail

Team Name

The Digbys

Team Members

Byron , Reuben and 3 other members with unpublished profiles.

Project Description

The challenge selected involves becoming ‘Bushfire Ready’ relating to what can we do to prevent or prepare for bushfires and other extreme weather events on the Sunshine Coast. This is an important, relevant issue due to the social, economical and environmental strain caused by the 2019–2020 Australian bushfire season which devastated large portions of the country. Months of severe drought and record-breaking temperatures leading up to these fires along with an abundance of litter/fuel all combining to make these fires one of the most significant in recorded history. Furthermore, in accordance with climate change forecasts, the frequency and intensity of fires is expected to increase, hence imposing a greater risk on society. Therefore, it is essential that a comprehensive live bushfire propagation model be developed to improve the response time and evacuation procedures of citizens.

Data Story

This project was aimed at enhancing preparation and prevention measures for bushfires in Queensland. This is an important issue due to the social, economical and environmental strain caused by the 2019–2020 Australian bushfires which devastated large portions of the country. Using the data made available during the Govhack 2020 hackathon, the team was able to combine different datasets that could collectively create a useful fire alert system. Essentially, the desired product was created for the purpose of improving the evacuation speed and efficiency of residents by alerting them early and illustrating the bush fire’s forecasted trajectory. This app has been created for members of the public to inform them of recommended fire prevention methods, general information, emergency contact information, and a live fire radar for their given region. To ensure that the members are informed of potential fire hazards that are encroaching on their suburb/location, the website requires their primary phone number to allow an automated text messages which will be sent out when the fire is 25km upwind (1st precautionary alert), 10km upwind (2nd alert), and 2.5km upwind (3rd alert – emergency and immediate evacuation). In addition to the alert system, the website also allows users to engage in the identification of fires which will be registered into the ‘Bushfire incidents’ dataset. This will assist government and local authorities to respond to hazards and will immediately contribute to the bushfire propagation model in QLD Bushfire Ready.
We addressed the issue using datasets that are the primary dictators of fire behaviour. These factors include topographical slope, vegetation, bushfire location, and wind speed/direction. We therefore found datasets that contained this type of data and combined them using a Geographical Information System (ArcMap) software. This aimed to produce a primary direction of the bushfire path according to wind and vegetation and was used to create the fire radar for the specific situation. For future reference, it would be advantageous to consider the live traffic datasets and add a tab in the website that contains the optimal evacuation route for the user given their location based on the bushfire location, predicted trajectory, and the current road traffic conditions.

Evidence of Work



Team DataSets

Digital elevation model - 3 second - Queensland

Description of Use QLD Digital elevation data was used to show elevation changes so that slope could be incorporated into the fire propagation model

Data Set

QLD Suburb/Locality Boundaries - PSMA Administrative Boundaries

Description of Use We used this data to create bounding box's for suburbs such as 'Sippy Downs'

Data Set

Bushfire prone area - Vegetation hazard class - Queensland series

Description of Use Categorized fire prone local vegetation so that residents can determine if their localized area poses a high risk when there are active fires in the region.

Data Set

Bushfire incidents

Description of Use Data was used so that the website created shows current fires burning in real time (updated every 30 minutes)

Data Set

Latest Weather Observations for Queensland

Description of Use This data was used to show the vectors of fire and how it potentially will travel

Data Set

Challenge Entries

Bushfire Ready

What can we do to prevent or prepare for bushfires?

Go to Challenge | 12 teams have entered this challenge.

Understanding the impact of climate change on extreme weather events on the Sunshine Coast

From bushfires to rain and flooding, weather events are increasing in number and strength due to climate change. How might we provide policy advisors and researchers with the keys to communicate the increasing risks and drive change in government policy and public behaviour?

Go to Challenge | 8 teams have entered this challenge.