Understanding Bushfire Impact

Nationally aggregating data and models on the impact of bushfires on people and our environments.
bushfire research,Bushfire Data Commons,Understanding bushfire impact
The following projects are being/were developed as part of the ARDC’s Bushfire Data Challenges.
Project
Assessing the impact of bushfire smoke on health
Project lead
National Air Quality Technical Advisory Group (NATAG)
Partners
NATAG (representatives from all states-related agencies), Curtin University, University of Tasmania, The University of Sydney, Australian Space Data Analyses Facility, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Timeframe

April 2022 to June 2023
Description

This project will deliver a federated Australian air quality data system and a bushfire-specific air pollution exposure dataset that’s consistent throughout Australia. It will bring together the vast amount of air quality data collected in Australia into a common architecture and provide air pollution exposure mapping, processing and analysis that links this data with population health data. The project supports capability uplift in smaller jurisdictions so that the maximum value of Australia’s investment in air quality monitoring and modelling can be realised. Importantly, by standardising and codifying the air quality data ecosystem in Australia, the project lays the foundation for ongoing improvement of air quality data services.

Project
Aggregating and integrating data on health outcomes associated with bushfires at a national scale
Project lead
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
Partners
AIHW, FrontierSI (Australian Environmental Health [AusEnHealth]), QUT, Centre for Air Pollution, Energy and Health Research

Timeframe

2022 to June 2023
Description

The aim of this project is to develop an accessible data asset of bushfire-related health service use, over an extended time period, and by small geographic area. This will help researchers to study the immediate and longer-term effects of bushfire on human physical and mental health. This project will focus on the impact of bushfires on health service use. However, it is envisaged that the data asset will have wider applications, and could act as a proof-of-concept for designing future data assets across other aspects of environmental health.

Project
Curated biodiversity data for rapid assessment of bushfire impacts
Project lead
Atlas of Living Australia (ALA)
Partners
ALA, University of Melbourne, National Research Collections Australia (CSIRO), Invertebrates Australia

Timeframe

April 2022 to June 2023
Description

In this project, the ALA will collaborate with experts to create a curated biodiversity dataset that can be used off-the-shelf for bushfire impact modelling. This will also incorporate edits and annotations by expert users back into the main ALA dataset, enriching the data resource. Knowledge from different research teams will also be aggregated to implement best-practice data cleaning workflows at the ALA, allowing improved data cleaning at scale. Finally, ALA will establish mechanisms to capture and share common analysis methods from bushfire research, including Species Distribution Models. 

Project
Establishing an Australian Reference Genome Atlas and a Leadership Application in Bushfire Data
Project lead
Atlas of Living Australia (ALA)
Partners
ALA, BioPlatforms Australia, Australian BioCommons

Timeframe

April 2022 to June 2023
Description

To create tools that allow conservation managers to protect species and their genetic diversity, this project will locate and aggregate descriptions of all relevant genomic data in one place (for example, genome assemblies, genome annotations, barcodes, raw data, and other omic data). This enables searching across these data based on a variety of contextual aspects around the organisms (for example, taxonomic grouping, functional classifications — such as fire tolerance/drought/salt/ conservation status — and geographical location). Genetic information has a substantial impact on improving conservation outcomes by providing answers to important questions on species populations recovery and rebound after major catastrophic events.

Project
Development of a traits database and vulnerability framework to assess fire susceptibility of Australian invertebrate species
Project lead
Invertebrates Australia
Partners
Invertebrates Australia, University of Melbourne, Australian Museum, UNSW, University of Sydney, Atlas of Living Australia, EcoCommons Australia, Australian Entomology Society, Australian National Insect Collection, Charles Darwin University

Timeframe

February 2022 to June 2023
Description

This project will build an enduring living database of fire-relevant ecological and life history traits for Australian invertebrate species. Such information is crucial to help rapidly identify the species likely to be most imperilled by future comparable fires, and to guide targeted management where it is needed. The project will align the invertebrate database with existing model databases for Australian plants and vertebrates (notably AusTraits). The project will expand the existing database from 1200 species (1 per cent of Australia’s described invertebrates) to at least 10 per cent of that biota, and develop or adopt protocols to allow ongoing inputs (by experts or supervised volunteers) to the database.

Project
Bushfire data access and impact modelling platform
Project lead
University of Melbourne
Partners
University of Melbourne

Timeframe

March 2022 to June 2023
Description

This project will provide a secure platform for researchers to access diverse bushfire related datasets, together with a suite of analytic and visualisation tools to perform a variety of bushfire related simulations and analyses. Wherever possible, these data sets will be programmatically accessed from targeted government and related agencies responsible for monitoring bushfire related information, including fire history, fuel, health, air quality and ecosystem and biodiversity at a national level. The platform will support access to data at finer-grained disaggregated levels wherever possible. The platform will support flexible access rights that restrict access to the data sets and tools as deemed appropriate by various government and related agencies providing data.

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