Building on 16 years of Seasonal Bushfire Outlooks

After 16 years the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is handing the Seasonal Bushfire Outlook over to the end-user community as a mature and successful product.

As Natural Hazards Research Australia develops its new research program, the Outlook now joins a suite of research outputs that have been successfully adopted by the wider emergency services sector, government agencies and community organisations for use and application. The CRC has now handed the production and distribution of the quarterly Outlook to AFAC, with the first of the new Outlooks to be released in late August.

Strategic decisions on firefighting resources, prescribed fire management and community warnings have been underpinned by the CRC’s Seasonal Bushfire Outlook.

The Outlooks began in 2006 as part of a Bushfire CRC research project with Dr Graham Mills from the Bureau of Meteorology, with the intention being to provide a map of ’bushfire potential’ alongside expert commentary on state and territory conditions and climate conditions and forecasts. The first Outlooks were produced with the expertise of Dr Tim Brown from the Desert Research Institute who developed a similar product in the United States.

The development of the Outlooks has been an ongoing process between the CRC, the Bureau, emergency service agencies in each state and territory, and in recent times AFAC’s Predictive Services Group – demonstrating the power of collaboration at a national and local level to create a meaningful and useful product that can be used by all states and territories, media and a wide variety of government and community organisations.

The first Outlooks were released prior to the southern fire season, around September. Later, a northern Outlook was added to the annual cycle, released around June, which captured the unique fire season across northern Australia. A Bushfire Outlook for New Zealand authorities was also developed around that time. In 2020, the CRC shifted the publication of the Outlook to a regular national quarterly release to better reflect the year-round nature of fire management and operations across Australia. 

Read more here.