Powerlink QLD – Fire Hazard Assessment

Integrating international risk management standards, state government policy, latest bushfire mitigation research and custom-designed GIS technology Biotropica Australia has developed a standardised data collection protocol and software to guide land management activities under transmission lines for Powerlink Queensland.

The aim is to identify areas under power lines that are prone to wildfires, so management action can be taken to minimize potential wildfire risk. Identifying potential hazard areas is prudent risk management, so the effects of wildfires can be considered prior to their occurrence.

A simple but highly integrated user interface was created to ensure consistent quality standards of data collection, producing standardized datasets to inform subsequent decision making.  At first the assessment process identifies the potential for a site to pose a fire hazard. The next step determines actual site conditions by assessing the fuel load below and adjoining the line, taking height and density of fine and coarse fuels into consideration. By means of the algorithms developed by Biotropica Australia potential hazard and actual fuel load ratings are integrated in real-time, providing the assessor with a single priority ranking value.

Subsequent steps involve analysing the risk (examining the likelihood and consequences of an asset-relevant wildfire), evaluating that risk to determine required management decisions, and taking action to minimize or reduce the risk.