Victoria, Australia: Victoria Premier John Brumby has announced USD 21.5 million to build a fire prevention system that can provide authorities with detailed information about a fire within minutes of it being discovered. The new computerised digital mapping system will bring together the existing FireWeb system with PhoenixWeb, a fire simulation and mapping system developed at the University of Melbourne.
The new and improved FireWeb has been trialled for the past 12 months and during the last fire season. The software will be able to provide up information such as direction, speed and intensity of a fire within minutes of it being discovered.
Brumby said, “This new technology is a world’s best-practice computer system that integrates critical fire, Bureau of Meteorology weather data, topographical information and on-ground fuel data and maps it immediately in digital format for use by fire authorities to predict the path and intensity of fires.”
The system will vastly improve the ability of firefighters to determine which communities will be hit by fire and issue early warnings to them, the premier said. “It will also assist fire incident management teams in delivering information to firefighters on the ground to assist them in their suppression efforts,” he said.
FireWeb is available to all fire authorities who will then be able to use the information from the system to warn the general public through the traditional methods such as the Country Fire Authority website and the regular media outlets.
The USD 21.5 million investment includes speed improvements on the system, backup servers, a training program for controllers and improved tracking for firefighting staff and vehicles.