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Fire Extent and Severity Mapping

Featured dataset: Fire Extent and Severity Mapping

Published on Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Fire Extent and Severity Mapping (FESM) is part of ongoing work with scientists of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and collaborative research being undertaken as part of the NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub. This work is vital to improving fire management strategies and reducing the risk bushfires pose to people, property and the environment.

Remote sensing scientists from the Department developed the semi-automated approach to mapping the extent and severity of fires using satellite imagery and machine learning, in collaboration with the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Leveraging satellite imagery and machine learning, FESM rapidly delivers maps of fire extent and severity. Through FESM, users can classify and model fires, interpret how a fire has changed the landscape, and support on-ground actions, fire management and conservation planning. The system can assess a fire on the ground as soon as the fire is out and will classify the area into one of five severity classes.

This is an exciting development as previously fire severity information at a landscape scale was not routinely captured in NSW. FESM supported a range of key decisions during the 2019-2020 Black Summer fire season, when it was launched as a prototype. Now, it will help researchers better understand the impacts of fire on the environment and provide an important tool for decision support for fire management and post-fire recovery.

The first annual report and summary data for fire extent and severity mapping (FESM) has now been published.

FESM data for the past three fire years (2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2019/2020) is now available on SEED. Access the dataset here.

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