Fire Risk Management
for the Emergency Services Sector
Managing fire risk in a changing climate is of paramount importance due to several interconnected factors. Climate change is altering the patterns and behaviour of wildfires, making them more frequent, severe, and challenging to control.
The Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) is partnering with Eratos & ICT International to improve access to IoT sensor data, public data and modelling to prepare and improve fire planning, management and response.
Management of fire risk is crucial in the context of a changing climate for reasons including:
Increased fire frequency and severity due to increasingly warmer and drier conditions
An increasing length of the fire season and an increasing number of extreme fire danger days.
Increasing threat to human lives and assets
Air quality and health Impacts on the community
Economic Impact through loss of property, commercial forestry assets and agriculture crops with the consequent interruption to economic stability
Ecosystem Health and Biodiversity impacts all species.
Water quality and supply issues
Climate change is amplifying the risks associated with wildfires, making fire management even more critical. Effective management strategies, including controlled burns, fuel reduction, early detection and suppression techniques, improved fire behaviour modelling and community preparedness, are essential to protect lives, property, ecosystems, and the environment in a rapidly changing climate.
FCNSW is conducting discovery research project to understand how to better manage fire risk across coastal forest landscapes, under the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) which is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.
The research project is aware that local surface and near-surface fuel conditions and vertical forest structure are significant factors that influence fire ignition, spread and intensity.
In collaboration with Eratos and ICT International, FCNSW is deploying IoT sensors in multiple locations to measure soil moisture, temperature, relative humidity and vapour pressure deficit (VPD) The objective of the proof-of concept project is to determine if it is feasible to autonomously collect these data in remote locations so that these could be potentially be used as the ground-truth observations to validate and calibrate satellite-based vegetation moisture estimates. These new sensor deployments will potentially be used to develop models that will better inform fire behaviour models and improve the understanding of fire conditions that can occur within the native forest estate.
Fuel Moisture and Microclimate Sensor Dashboard. (Source: Eratos)
Eratos is a Data and AI Platform solving the way organisations and individuals make informed decisions about the world we live in. Eratos makes finding and accessing disparate data at scale effortless, with interoperability and reusability built into its DNA.
ICT International are IoT hardware manufacturers and environmental sensing specialists and have partnered with Eratos to provide an easy and intuitive way for sensor owners to access, manage and share their real time data feeds. This improves their capacity to unlock the latent value held within these deployed sensor networks, even allowing them to more easily share information with emergency services in times of need.
On Eratos, you can access, build, collaborate and share data, models and solutions. Particular focus to date has been on research, education, federal and state government, agriculture, financial services and smart cities. With Eratos, relevant data from remote and distributed sites are combined with research models on the platform and, using Senaps (more below), workflows were constructed to operationalise climate risk mitigation solutions.
The ICT International Fire Hazard and Environmental Monitoring Station consists of sensors to measure 10Hr Fuel Moisture (lower image), Soil Moisture (upper right image), Air Temperature, Relative Humidity, Vapour Pressure Deficit (VPD), Solar Radiation and Rainfall (upper left image). (Source: ICT International)
Eratos’ expertise in geospatial data applied to fire risk mitigation in the forestry sector has enhanced the capacity of ICT International and is expected to assist Forestry Corporation NSW and the RFS to achieve their fire planning and management goals.
The proof-of-concept project has been set up to investigate the feasibility of combining IoT sensor data with public and private data sets to enable emergency services to better assess and plan for increasing fire risk and changes in fire behaviour.
Fire management practices can significantly reduce the risks and impacts associated with wildfires and offer several benefits including:
Mitigation of wildfire impacts by reducing fuel loads through planned hazard reduction burns
Improvements in fire behaviour modelling through a better understanding of local scale fuel characteristics
Reducing Carbon emissions by reducing the frequency, scale and intensity of wildfires
Scientific Insights for research and innovation in fire ecology and fuel management techniques, leading to better understanding and more effective strategies.
Combining point-location data using autonomous devices with remotely sensed data offers a significant opportunity to improve knowledge and models that guide fire management planning and response. This, in turn, offers the chance to reduce the negative impacts of fire on the environment and the community. and contributes to the sustainable management of natural resources.
ICT International Sap Flow (Plant Water Usage) Dashboard. (Source: Eratos)
Leveraging AWS to scale solutions
The Eratos Platform utilises Amazon Web Services (AWS) to leverage best in class cloud scaling architecture, including Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (AWS EKS), Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
Senaps is a cloud-based IoT (Internet of Things) management system developed by CSIRO enabling easy delivery of data driven products. Senaps is scalable, secure, efficient and supports the delivery of real-time data and complex analytics from SME's through to Enterprise solutions.
Senaps allows you to connect your sensor network to ingest and work with the related data. Build your own customised workflows, combining multiple datasets, models and outputs.
Eratos has the exclusive licence to commercialise and operate Senaps and it is now a fully integrated component of the Platform.
Combined with the vast catalogue of geospatial data available on the Eratos Platform, you have access to powerful insights and a competitive edge.