A researcher at The University of Western Australia has been awarded $220,000 to develop technology that will help predict and even prevent potentially disastrous bushfires.
Professor George Milne, from UWA's School of Computer Science and Software Engineering and Professor John Dold, from the School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester, will work in collaboration with research partners Fire and Emergency Services Authority of WA and Landgate to develop the model.
Professor Milne said incorporating an evidence-based fire spread model of extreme, fast-spreading fires into a fire location forecasting system would give agencies early warning of potentially disastrous fires and enable early response to prevent the loss of lives while also reducing the impact on property and the environment.
"As we saw with the terrible Victorian bushfires earlier this year, extreme fires cause immeasurable damage to communities through loss of life, destruction of homes and damage to infrastructure," he said.
"Large, highly intense fires also have a detrimental effect on biodiversity, increase greenhouse gas emissions and reduce carbon storage capacity while it takes decades for the affected areas to recover.
"Climate change is likely to increase the frequency of extreme fire weather, which in turn will increase the need for reliable fire spread prediction under extreme conditions."
The project is one of a number of linkage projects funded by the Australian Research Council.
UWA received $2.1 million or 53 per cent of the money given to WA, with the remainder shared by two other State universities.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson said the latest funding allocation would ensure research at the University continued to advance important benefits for both the national and international community.
Further information can be found at: http://www.arc.gov.au/