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The Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) program is redesigning the forecasting of fire danger in Australia. It aims to improve public safety and reduce the impacts of bushfires by improving the way that fire danger is calculated and communicated.

As one enters the second quarter of 2021, the AFDRS Program is approaching major design milestones that will allow states and territories to trial the new system in parallel with current fire danger ratings. The trial of the AFDRS is a key step in demonstrating that the AFDRS will support the needs of both emergency services agencies and the community.

Emergency services agencies

Key products currently being finalized include:

  • Fire Danger Viewer (FDV): The FDV is a centrally hosted, interactive and common visualization tool for states and territory emergency services agencies to view and interrogate fire danger information.
  • Fuel State Editor (FSE): The FSE is a centrally hosted, interactive and common tool that allows fire and land management agencies to capture field information and update maps relating to the fuel component of fire danger.
  • Fire Danger Calculation Engine: This combines the various fire behavior models (eight models rather than the two used in the current system) with fuel, weather and climate data sets to derive fire danger ratings, a fire behavior index and other outputs.
  • New BOM products: A range of centrally hosted and purpose-built tables and other products that will provide more in-depth information about fire danger.
  • Operational Testing Plan: The AFDRS Implementation Project is working with the Operational Build Project and Implementation Coordination Group on an operational testing plan to support the trial of the AFDRS.
  • AFDRS Rating Framework: The program is finalizing key components of the AFDRS public-facing fire danger rating framework that will support effective communication of fire danger to the community.

The trial of the Fuel State Editor and Fire Danger Viewer will commence in the Northern Territory and parts of WA and Queensland from June 2021 to take advantage of the northern fire season, before testing in the rest of Australia from October. Outcomes of the various rounds of testing will enable key refinements to be completed prior to the new AFDRS being launched in time for the 2022-23 fire seasons.

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