The Inspector-General for Emergency Management recommends that the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (or the single entity referenced in Recommendation 4) lead the development and distribution of evidence-based land and fuel management tools for use by all legislated fuel management organisations to ensure a common approach to fuel management.
DELWP and CFA are currently improving how weather conditions are reflected in bushfire risk modelling, improving data on house loss and asset location, and improving understanding of the likelihood of ignition events. This work will improve understanding of bushfire risk in a broader range of circumstances, providing an evidence base for the development of more sophisticated fuel management tools.
DELWP, in collaboration with CFA, has been working with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the University of Melbourne to update bushfire risk models to include locally specific weather streams, suppression effectiveness models, and climate change data.
As part of the Risk 2.0 Project (refer to Action 7.3), DELWP has made improvements and enhancements to the following datasets and models that underpin bushfire risk modelling:
- Weather streams – DELWP's previous approach to modelling weather used a single weather scenario, based on similar conditions to those experienced during Black Saturday (2009) to model bushfire risk. Through this sub-project DELWP can now model multiple weather scenarios representing local conditions ranging from the worst-case scenario to an 'every year' type of weather event.
- Likelihood models – DELWP in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, has developed ignition likelihood predictive models for human and lightning causes for strategic fire planning. These models are used to predict spatial variability of ignition likelihood across the landscape for a given weather and fuel scenario. This sub-project improves existing information about the likelihood of a fire starting and spreading (depending on the weather, landscape dryness, and ability to suppress the fire).
- House loss models – DELWP has updated the house loss model to include risk factors that influence how well a house can withstand fire, such as nearby vegetation. The house loss model was independently evaluated by a data scientist from DELWP. The University of Melbourne has also prepared a report on the calibration of house loss models for use with Victoria's simulation system Phoenix RapidFire .
- Asset location – DELWP has completed the asset location dataset which depicts building locations, building classifications (houses and outbuildings), and the number of buildings on a given property. This is a key upgrade from the previous approach which used address points as asset locations.