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The Prescribed Burning Atlas: a new system to plan effective prescribed burns

Photo Credit: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Australia

Prescribed burning is a central feature of contemporary fire management around the world, yet a quantitative basis for understanding and comparing its effectiveness at mitigating risk across different regions is lacking. New Australian research about the complexities of prescribed burning across varied landscapes and weather conditions is supporting the critical decisions on how and where to use fire to protect communities.

Drawing on cutting-edge science, the Prescribed Burning Atlas assists Australia’s fire agencies and land management departments by presenting options for their prescribed burning strategies. The Atlas is the product of the Bushfire and Natural Hazard CRC’s From hectares to tailor made solutions to risk mitigation project and was launched by the CRC in July 2020, in partnership with the University of Wollongong, the University of Melbourne and Western Sydney University. It is a website that incorporates thousands of fire simulations, comparing the level of risk reduction achieved from different combinations of prescribed burning strategies – such as smaller edge burns close to homes, or large landscape-scale burns – across different landscapes in south east Australia.

The Atlas compares the costs of different mitigation options and their effect on reducing the likelihood of life loss, property loss and environmental values, as well as reducing the likelihood of effects of climate change on prescribed burning effectiveness.

Learn more about the Atlas here and access the tool here. You can also watch a recording of the launch of the Atlas here.


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