When fire agencies are planning to undertake prescribed burns, they need to consider the level of risk of the burn escaping as well as the likelihood of nearby residents being impacted by smoke.
To make that process and decision easier ahead of the coming prescribed burn season, ACT Parks and Conservation have developed a tool that will quickly take into account the many factors that need to be considered before a burn takes place.
The Prescribed Burning Decision Support Tool (PB DST) is a tool to support incident controller decision making when carrying out burn implementation. The tool is designed to be used before each day of a burn, to assess the relative risk of proceeding based on current and the predicted weather.
The tool complements the burn plan, and includes automated weather and predicted fire behaviour data.
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ACT Parks and Conservation’s Senior Fire Management Officer Brian Levine said the tool is designed to be used before each day of a burn.
“It factors in information including fuel levels, land features, surrounding assets such as houses and stock and the most up-to-date and detailed weather forecasts available from the Bureau of Meteorology.”
“Within 30 minutes the tool can assess all this information and produce a report identifying the risk of the burn escaping, the risk of smoke and the actions that should be considered to reduce those risks. It has quickly become an essential tool in ACT Parks and Conservation safely conducting burns whilst also minimising the impacts on surrounding residents,” Mr Levine said.
“The beauty of the tool is that the process is very clear, easily documented and able to be repeated.”
“As we look to implement large-scale prescribed burns across the ACT in the coming weeks, the Canberra community can be comforted there’s a high level of planning and care that goes into implementing burns. Every burn we do now undergoes an assessment using the tool which is a big help to fire officers in their decision-making,” Mr Levine said.
For more information on bushfire management in the ACT visit www.environment.act.gov.au