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Improved Fire Scar Mapping for Queensland
Digital state-wide maps of fire scars (areas of burnt country) and hotpots (locations of active fires) derived from satellite images and delivered via the North Australia Fire Information (NAFI) website, www.firenorth.org.au, are an important tool for Queensland graziers particularly those in northern regions. The maps allow graziers to better monitor fires on large properties, to better protect their infrastructure and fodder from wildfire, and to better plan their fire management. Many graziers see these maps as being as vital to their operations as the weather information from the Bureau of Meteorology site.
The 2009 fire season saw the use of these maps increase dramatically in Queensland and extend into central and southern grazing regions - there were 376,639 map requests in 2007, 471,649 in 2008 and 988,887 in 2009. As the geographical extent and use of these remotely-sensed map products has increased, issues have emerged around the accuracy of the fire scar mapping. Reports from users suggested that some fires were missed (omission errors) with estimates in some southern and eastern regions indicating that such errors represented up to 25% of the area actually burnt.
Conversely, there were reports that extra 'fires' were being mapped in some regions (commission errors) but the areas involved in these cases were relatively small. The NAFI fire scar maps (250m resolution from the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer - MODIS - sensor) were seen as superior to the earlier remotely-sensed maps (1km resolution from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer - AVHRR - sensor) by end users, but little work had been done in validating this perception. Nor was much known beyond anecdotal reports of how the accuracy of the mapping varied across different landscapes and why such variation occurred. Without this information it was difficult to improve the accuracy of the mapping in a systematic way.
This page was last updated on 24/07/2017
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