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Mapping Burnt Areas in NSW


This project aims to map burnt areas within NSW in a way that is useful for bushwalkers. When vegetation is burnt in a bushfire, it generally removes scrub and makes the area easier to travel through for a few years. Knowing where these recently burnt areas are can then assist in route planning for bushwalks.

ResourceExampleUsed for
RFS Fires Near MeKnowledge of fires occurance
Satellite ImageryEOS Land ViewerIdentifing extent of burnt area
GISQGISCreating burnt area polygons
??????Viewing burnt area polygons
NPWS Fire History
DEA Hotspots72 hrs of fire activity


  • Obtain knowledge for bushfire occurrence - both time and location
    • RFS Fires Near Me will detail any active fires, with either a point or rough polygon indicating its position
    • Looking through old imagery can also lead to burn area identification
  • Capture imagery of burn area
    • Best done with EOS Land Viewer
      • Free service (with some restrictions), account required
      • Provides Landsat and Sentinal imagery (only Landsat 8 and Sentinal-2 are of interest)
      • Limit of 10 'scenes' per day - these are the big tiles of satellite imagery
      • Unlimited downloads of 'scene' data, but resolution reduced to <10mb file
      • Provides individual bands, including IR and NIR, along with pre-set band combinations - use Shortwave Infrared
    • An alternative is the USGS LandLook
      • Free service, no account required
      • Also has Landsat and Sentinal imagery
      • Unlimited image views and downloads (need to select geotiff format and geographic spatial reference)
      • Only provides true-colour images, no use of IR or NIR bands
  • Create burn extent polygons
    • Load imagery into QGIS and name file as layer in format of “[yyyy-mm-dd of capture] [Area]” for reference
    • Add polygon by visually inspecting burn area image and capturing full extent within boundary
    • Add field data to polygon such as fire name, area, date of image capture


An example can be found through the link below, where a geojson file has been imported into an online map. Burnt Areas Map - 20181113

To Do

  • Investigate RFS RSS Feed data
    • It appears that they supply multiple feeds relating to fires
    • Their Current Incidents Feed (GeoJSON) feed appears to be a geojson file of all current fires, which includes points or polygons
    • See if it's worth collecting this data on a regular basis (say weekly) and then compiling into one big database for reference and / or later analysis
bushfire.txt · Last modified: 2019/11/13 20:24 by allchin09

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