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Grassland curing award win
The New and Emerging Technology Award at last week’s Fire Awareness Awards was won by CFA’s Grassland Curing and Fire Danger Rating project.
The award focused on the development of an automated online system that combines ground based curing observations and satellite data to create a curing map product that is used operationally in Victoria.
The four-year project finished in June and is now part of business as usual operations based out of the SCC.
That Grassland Curing team received national funding to trial the newly developed curing map in NSW, SA, ACT, Queensland and Tasmania.
“Some of them are already using the curing map operationally and we’re getting very positive feedback,” says Research Officer Susan Kidnie, one of the CFA members accepting the award on the night.
“We’ve also received excellent feedback on the online system from our volunteer observers and ops staff who are regularly using the online system.”
The process involves a NASA satellite sending a once-a-day feed through to the Bureau of Meteorology which then shares it with all states and territories.
That data is then combined with data collected online by our 200 grassland curing observers and input by district operations staff to produce a final weekly map.
“That data helps determine much more accurate Fire Danger Indexes which, in turn, determine Total Fire Bans,” continues Susan.
“We previously had point data which meant that conditions in one spot would determine the rating for the country surrounding it.
"Now we have more accurate information that’s also more spatially representative and takes account of a range of factors.
“It’s a win for us, for all our observers and our ops staff.”
And, of course, for all those living, working and travelling in Victoria.
The winning team were also finalists in the Fire Service Award category for their continued work with CSIRO bushfire scientists to improve our understanding of grassland curing on fire behaviour.