Stage 4

Stage 4 Design Challenge –
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 only 40% accurate whilst the new reporting system is now more than 60%, but there is room for improvement.

Design Brief

Utilising STEM technologies and local environmental insights to enhance your community’s bushfire danger rating system.

Get ready to be tech heroes for your town!


1. Design folio

Students are to complete a design folio that captures their journey through the iSTEM engineering design process in developing digital solutions related to making the Australian fire danger rating system more accurate. Students have two options:

  • Custom folio
    Create your own, focusing on sketches, milestones, and decision-making.
  • Guided template
    Use the worksheets provided in this document for a more structured approach.

2. Prototype design solution

Students are to produce a digital design solution prototype that can be used to improve the accuracy of the Australian fire danger rating system. This could include modifying the Fire-Ed Up kit or may involve the development of new or different technologies.

Digital technologies

Gear up to use Raspberry Pi microcomputers to recreate and improve how we predict bushfires with the Australian fire danger rating system.


  1. Tweak the Code
    Modify existing code to get better at predicting fires using local data.
  2. 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!

Field Measurements:
Becoming a Fire Researcher

Just like the real fire authorities in Australia, we’re going to become
field researchers for a day. Our mission is to gather important data from the great outdoors to help us understand the risk of bushfires in
our area.

Your Mission as a Field Researcher

Step into the shoes of these experts. With a keen eye and precise instruments, you’ll collect data that’s vital for predicting a simulated local FBI and AFDR.

Here’s what we need to know:

  • Temperature: How hot is it outside? Fire loves heat, so this is a big one.
  • Wind Speed: Strong winds can whip a small flame into a raging fire.
  • Humidity: Dry air means plants dry out, and dried-out plants burn faster.
  • Fuel Load: This is all about how much stuff could burn in an area.
  • Fuel Moisture Content: Wetter fuel doesn’t burn as easily, so we need to know how dry it is.
  • Land Slope: Fire climbs uphill quickly, so the steepness of the land matters.
  • Vegetation Type: Different plant types burn in different ways. Knowing what’s around is key.

You might be gathering this data at our school, a nearby field, or another interesting environment. Keep your eyes open and your instruments ready!

Using Your Data

Once you’ve collected our measurements, we’ll use this data
later in our program to simulate what the FBI and AFDR might be for our local area. It’s like creating a mini fire forecast station right in our classroom!

Get the Stage 4 Fire-Ed Up Student Folio

Download the PDF brief of the Fire-Ed Up Challenge
PDF Link Here