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Helping Victoria Deal With Bushfires

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Australia bushfire

Credit: Glen Lodden Homes

The University of Melbourne and Bushfire CRC have designed Phoenix RapidFire, a simulation program that can predict the movement of fire. "The program will provide detailed information on the spread of fires and is intended for use by fire agencies, land managers, town and land planners, and policy makers," says the Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science's Kevin Tolhurst. "It's designed to show the progression of fire across an entire state, and not just a local area and therefore the fire fighting resources can be most effectively allocated."

Phoenix RapidFire generates a colored map of the state with a visual representation of the bushfire moving across the landscape. The program uses environmental details such as the height and slope of the land, vegetation type, road proximity, and fire history of an area to predict the movement of the fire. Phoenix RapidFire also uses fire characteristics and the values and assets of the landscape, such as houses and agricultural areas, to estimate the impact of a fire.

The program can provide warnings within minutes of the discovery of a fire, and can account for changing factors in the environment such as weather and fuel.

From The University of Melbourne
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