Fire-Ed Up Scenario 2:
Welcome to the Australian Fire Danger Rating System supplementary page for the Stage 5 iSTEM, Fire-Ed Up Unit of Work. This is a resource site setup to support teachers to implement the Fire-Ed Up Program.
Fire-Ed Up is funded by the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer, developed from Central Coast Council’s Award Winning program and produced by the Hunter Innovation and Science Hub.
Scenario Background –
Australian Fire Danger Rating System
In 2022 Australia introduced a new fire danger rating system providing clearer and more accurate information to communities at risk of bush fire. The Australian Fire Danger Rating System brings together the latest science and knowledge of fire behaviour, is supported by extensive community research, and is the most significant change to the fire danger rating system in more than 50 years.
The previous fire danger rating system was found to be approximately 40% accurate whilst the new reporting system is now more than 60%, but there is room for improvement.
Utilising STEM technologies and local environmental insights to enhance your community’s bush fire danger rating system.
Embarking on Fire Researcher
In a manner akin to professional fire authorities in Australia, we are embarking on a journey to become field researchers. Our objective is to collect critical data from natural environments to enhance our understanding of bushfire risks in our vicinity.
Your Role as a Field Researcher
Emulate the expertise of these professionals. Utilising precise measuring instruments and meticulous observation, your task is to gather essential data that will aid in forecasting a simulated local Fire Behaviour Index (FBI) and Australian Fire Danger Ratings (AFDR).
Data Collection Parameters
- Temperature: Measure the outdoor temperature. High heat is a significant factor in fire behavior.
- Wind Speed: Assess how strong winds might escalate fire intensity.
- Humidity: Evaluate air dryness, as low humidity leads to faster burning of dry vegetation.
- Fuel Load: Quantify the potential combustible material in a given area.
- Fuel Moisture Content: Determine the dryness of the fuel, affecting its flammability.
- Land Slope: Observe the terrain steepness, which influences fire spread speed.
- Vegetation Type: Identify and categorize the vegetation, understanding the varying combustion characteristics of different plant types.
Your research may occur at our school grounds, a nearby field, or another relevant location. Stay observant and ensure your measuring tools are always at hand.
Application of Gathered Data
Upon gathering this data, we will utilise it later in our program to simulate the local FBI and AFDR. Effectively, we will be creating a miniature fire forecast system within our educational setting.
Gear up to use Raspberry Pi microcomputers to recreate and improve how we predict bushfires with the Australian fire danger rating system.
- Tweak the Code
Modify existing code to get better at predicting fires using local data.
- Explore the tech
Discover how digital twins, satellites, and drones can help in bushfire safety.
You’ll become mini tech experts, using cool gadgets to make a difference in keeping our community safe from fires!
Video Based Resources
The following are a mixture of Fire-ED Up original video resources and others that you might find useful.
Unpacking the Fire Danger Rating System
Dr David Clarke, Fire Behaviour Analyst at the NSW Rural Fire Service explains the science behind the AFDRS (14:53 minutes)
Why the Fire Danger Rating System was updated?
Dr Meaghan Jenkins, AFDRS Manager at the NSW Rural Fire Service discusses the reasons for the update of the AFDRS (14:03 minutes)
Fire 101 – Ben Newsome Fizzics Education
Ben Newsome from Fizzics Education demonstrates some scientific experiments that explain the basics of fire and a fun and educational video. (15:27 minutes)
How to use an Anemometer (Kestral)
How to use a Kestral to measure wind speed, humidity and temperature, thanks to Rumbalara Environmental Education Centre (0:45 minutes)
How to use a clinometer
How to use a clinometer to determine the slope of the land, thanks to Rumbalara Environmental Education Centre (0:15 minutes)
Australian Fire Danger Rating System
Core Electronics Fire-Ed Up Guide
NSW RFS – Fires Near Me Website
Bushfire Prepare WA Government
CSIRO Guide to rate of fire spread models for Australian Vegetation
Australian Bureau of Meteorology
NSW Rural Fire Service – Neighbourhood Safer Places
NSW Department of Education – Bushfire and Grassfire Risk Ratings Categories
Mindtools – Brainstorming
Online RFS Bushfire Survival plan
Bushfire Survival Plan PDF version
NSW RFS Firefighter Pocketbook – Android
NSW RFS Firefighter Pocketbook – IOS
Hazards Near Me – Android
Hazards Near Me – IOS
Himawari-8 Satellite Viewer Introduction Video
Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Satellite Viewer Site
Spatial Information eXchange
NSW Department of Education – Digital Learning Selector