Bushfire prediction technology developed at The University of Western Australia will receive an almost $3 million boost as part of a Federal Government Digital Regions Initiative that will benefit regional communities across Australia.
The Federal funding has been allocated to WA to provide families, communities, organisations and emergency service agencies in rural, regional and remote areas with bushfire alerts (via SNS and email), access to bushfire simulation maps, fire-fighting technique testing, a bushfire planning tool, and the improvement of bushfire resilient infrastructure.
UWA Winthop Professor George Milne from the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering will work with the Fire and Emergency Services Authority of WA and Landgate to further develop technology that will help predict and even prevent potentially disastrous bushfires.
Professor Milne has conceived an evidence-based fire-spread computer model of extreme, fast-spreading fires. When incorporated into a fire-location forecasting system, the model will give agencies early warning of the future, predicted location of bushfires, enabling early responses that could prevent the loss of lives and reduce the impact on property and the environment.
Professor Milne's project was also awarded a $220,000 Australian Research Council grant earlier in the year.
"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," he said.