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Welcome

Welcome to the North Australia & Rangelands Fire Information service (NAFI) newsletter.

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This newsletter covers the latest developments for NAFI. We are building our mailing list for future mail-outs so please share this with anyone you think might be interested. 
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NAFI Funding

The basic NAFI service is now funded by the Australian Government's National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA). This covers NAFI’s data acquisition, 250m resolution burnt area mapping, validation, some research and development and our general operational costs. We are hopeful the Federal Government will soon commit to longer-term funding in the next funding round with a commitment of minimum 3-5year funding; fundamental for our ongoing operations and valuable not only for staffing security and retention but future planning, upkeep and development.

HiRes Mapping on NAFI

High resolution (20m per pixel) burnt area mapping is now available on NAFI across large areas of north Australia. Based on imagery from the Sentinel 2 satellites, this mapping covers as far back as 2020 in some areas and can be viewed by going to the “Track Fires” tab and the “Recent HiRes Fire Scars” menu:
The areas covered include Western Australia's north Kimberley, the Darwin, Katherine and Arnhem Land regions of the Northern Territory and all of Queensland.
2021 HiRes burnt area mapping across the Northern Territory, Western Australia and a sample from Queensland.
Click Here to Explore on NAFI
The HiRes mapping displayed on NAFI is produced in a number of different ways by a number of different groups across the regions. For example, the Kimberley and Arnhem Land HiRes mapping for the is produced and manually edited by mappers at Charles Darwin University; funded by groups within those regions. For the Darwin and Katherine regions; the HiRes mapping is produced by the Northern Territory's Fire agency (Bushfires NT) using imagery and segmentation provided via a NAFI web mapping service tool. Meanwhile in Queensland, the mapping is produced using more automated methods by Queensland's Department of Environment and Science.

The frequency of mapping updates also vary. The Kimberly mapping is updated once a year, the Darwin, Katherine and Arnhem Land mapping is updated as often once a fortnight (depending on conditions - cloud cover can interrupt the availability of clear imagery) and the Queensland mapping is updated monthly.

The current years HiRes burnt area mapping for NT and QLD can also be viewed using the 'Quick Links' menu as shown below.
Click Here to Explore on NAFI
Currently the Darwin and Katherine region 2022 HiRes mapping to date is available for download. This can be downloaded from the NAFI website in either geo-tiff or shapefile format. Last years data is available for the Darwin region only.

Go to the 'Data' tab on NAFI and then select 'HiRes fire scars' in the left-hand menu. A download box will appear where you can make your selection.
Click Here to Explore on NAFI

A Curing Display for NT

Did you know you can view a regularly updated map of the curing (dryness/flammability) level of vegetation across the NT? 

As shown below, this map can be accessed under the “Track Fires” tab and the “Current Curing” entry in the left menu.
The map displays curing or dryness levels of the landscape ranging from 1-100 with 100 being more cured. These are just relative values however; 100 does not mean 100% cured.
Using the same imagery used to map the hotspots and fire scars on NAFI (MODIS (Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer)), a measure of landscape “greenness” is determined across the landscape. Using a 4-day rolling maximum Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and comparing against a stack of all previous images with fires and water logging removed; a 250 meter resolution, pixel by pixel value of vegetation greenness is produced. Pixel values range from 1-100 with 100 being less green/more cured.

Note burnt areas will appear fully cured so this layer should be used in conjunction with the burnt area mapping.
Click Here to Explore NAFI

So Many Hotspots!

You may have noticed we have reduced the number of days of hotspots displayed on the NAFI mobile app from seven days to four. The reason for this is because this year has seen a large spike in the number of hotspots produced by a combination of the timing of early burning and by increased access to hotspot satellite data. In a lot of instances, we are finding that a large number of hotspots recorded are stacked on top of each other likely due to slow moving fires over small areas. As people scroll across the app, the large numbers of hotspot data downloads with each swipe which takes time to process. 
We have removed duplicated hotspots and/or hotspots with only a few minutes timestamp difference however, a large number still remains. By reducing the number of days hotspots are displayed on the mobile app can reduce the amount of data the app needs to process as people scroll across the regions and allow the app to perform to the users requirements and expectations. 

You may need to update of the NAFI App to see the revised 4-day hotspots legend. Your feedback is important to us. If you are having any issues with the app; please let us know. 
Contact Us

Historical Hotspot WMS  

Some of you may have also noticed we have suspended NAFI's historical web map service. For the same reasons above and with increased usage of the service; we are finding that the system has been struggling to keep up with the data being used as people scroll across the landscape. This suspension is only temporary while we make some changes to how the data is delivered, we hope to have the web map service back up and ruining shortly.

The Trouble With Cloud

Cloud cover prevents satellite sensors from capturing information on the ground and is a constant issue for providing comprehensive burnt area and hotspot coverage.
Fortunately in Northern Australia, during the dry season when most fires occur, we often get cloud free days and issues related to cloud cover are generally more common early and later in the dry season during build up and build down times.
This year has proven to be a bit tricky in some areas where we have had persistent cloud cover. During these time you may notice that hotspots are not appearing where you know there is fire or there may be delays in burnt area mapping uploads in your region. 

Important to consider - sometimes the sky directly above may appear clear however; the satellite may be blocked by cloud several kilometers away depending on the angle to the satellite's sensor. Fortunately though, due to the high frequency of MODIS images and other hotspot sensors we are generally able to capture most data during gaps in the cloud.

Without hotspots however, burnt areas can be missed (especially if there has been cloud around as cloud shadow and burnt areas can be difficult to differentiate between). If you feel there has been a significant burnt area missing from your region you can let us know by clicking the button below. 
Email Us

NAFI site upgrade coming

The NAFI site is being upgraded with a new design and upgraded software. A prototype version is shown below.
The basics of the hotspot and burnt area displays will remain the same, however the site will feature simpler menus and a larger map display and newly upgraded software under the bonnet will make the site easier to maintain.

The menu design is still under development and will rely heavily on user feedback.

A protype site will be available for user testing soon. 

Out & About with NAFI

NAFI staff have been delivering a number of workshops to a range of land managers across Northern Australia. Our workshops provide attendees with an overview of the NAFI platform, how burnt area map information can be utilised for fire management activities such as planning, mitigation, assessment, response and evaluation and the tools available within the NAFI platform to assist in these activities.

Below are some of the events we have been attending.
Peter Jacklyn at one of several of Queensland’s Cape York NRM Grazing Forums.
A demonstration of a 4D simulation display projecting NAFI mapping used for modelling fire in the landscape. This display of the Kimberley is being used by fire agency staff in Kununurra, WA. 
Another 4D simulation display being viewed at the Cape York Fire Forum in December 2021.
QGIS for fire managers training provided at the annual Dampier Peninsula fire meeting in Broome, WA.
Funded by the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) the NAFI team provided a series of workshops with Indigenous Ranger groups across top end NT as part of a wider outreach project where NAFI will soon be providing NAFI-based micro-credential materials for these and other land managers to utilise.
Attendance at these workshops not only provide opportunity to get people thinking in a more complex way about how they manage and report on fire in the landscape; it also provides valuable opportunity for NAFI users to provide feedback which in turn allows us to identify areas in which NAFI can improve.

NAFI Help

For information on how to use NAFI you can also access help documents on:
  • viewing current fires
  • viewing fire histories and downloading data
  • creating fire reports
  • creating hotspot email alerts
  • viewing NAFI on a mobile phone
  • viewing your own maps on NAFI
  • installing the QGIS NAFI plug-in
A full guide on how to use NAFI can also be downloaded.
Click here to access NAFI's help documents

Find us on YouTube

You can tune into the North Australia and Rangelands Fire Information YouTube channel for hotspot animations such as the North Australia fire season 2021 animation (below) and to access ‘How-To’ demonstrations for NAFI tools.
Check it out here

Darwin Rural Fire Simulation

Developed in collaboration with Bushfires NT this online rural block fire simulation allows people to explore the interaction between fire weather, weeds and fuel load.  Thinking through play. The fire simulation tool is aimed at improving landholder knowledge of bushfire planning and mitigation strategies and the increasing fire risks associated with the spread of Gamba grass.

The tool mimics some of the fire mitigation design principles illustrated in the NTG Bushfires graphic shown here:
This online fire simulation “game” allows you to play with fire weather conditions and add in fire breaks and Gamba grass.
Click here to have a go!
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North Australia & Rangelands Fire Information (NAFI)
C/O Charles Darwin University
Ellengowan Dr
Casuarina NT 0810

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