Bushfire Data Challenges

The ARDC’s Bushfire Data Challenges program is creating a bushfire data commons to help researchers and authorities share life-saving information.
A bushfire at night
Who will benefit
People involved in bushfire research, development, planning and response — ultimately, all Australians

The Challenge

The unprecedented 2019/2020 Australian bushfires showed in full force the devastating impact bushfires can have on the natural landscape, the built environment and human health.

To protect our environment and communities, respond effectively to bushfires, and recover from them in the future, the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements (2020) recommended supporting better decision making through the sharing of data.

The Approach

In partnership with the bushfire community, the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) is investing in developing innovative digital infrastructure solutions with the aim of improving Australia’s bushfire resilience, response and recovery.

We’ve taken a participatory design approach to developing projects within the Bushfire Data Challenges program. This has facilitated collaborative partnerships between government agencies, industry, research institutes and other relevant stakeholders.

The Bushfire Data Challenges program has been established as part of the ARDC’s Translational Research Data Challenges initiative to provide innovative and high-impact digital infrastructure solutions to real-world problems.


Over 14 months we conducted targeted consultations including a series of facilitation meetings and participatory design workshops with 151 stakeholders. This process captured priority areas for national digital research infrastructure to address data challenges around Australia’s resilience and response to bushfires, and aid our recovery.

The ARDC convened key national stakeholders from the research and public sectors to design a national data capability that spans research, development and operational planning, response and recovery.

Our systematic consultation process identified areas for national digital research infrastructure, including Bushfire Data Commons for:

These projects will benefit people involved in bushfire research, development, planning and response and, ultimately, the Australian citizens.

Target Outcomes

Thirteen projects are now underway to build those comprehensive national data assets and create a shared bushfire modelling environment to support research, development, planning and response.

These projects are:

  • establishing new or improve existing data collections
  • adopting platform solutions (or elements of) that enable researchers to collect or generate data, analyse data and produce FAIR output data
  • using underpinning infrastructure to store, access and analyse data
  • creating legal, governance, policy, technology, collaboration and participation frameworks to enable success.

Key Resources

Contact the ARDC

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