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Better firefighting tools – a national first

In a national first, authorities and the community will be able to use satellite data to identify fires as small as 375 metres in length using cutting edge technology available on Landgate’s FireWatch-Pro and Aurora websites.

Landgate Chief Executive Mike Bradford said until now, authorities could only use satellite imagery to see fires one kilometre or larger.

The breakthrough was made by staff at Landgate’s Satellite Remote Sensing Services (SRSS) who fine-tuned data provided by United States’ owned satellites.

Mr Bradford said the advancement was an example of Landgate’s innovative culture.

“Staff at the SRSS worked hard to adapt the software to better meet the needs of fire authorities in Western Australia and across the nation,” Mr Bradford said.

“This improved technology means emergency workers and the community will be getting better definition of a fire front at a smaller scale.

“They’ll be able to detect fires twice a day as small as 375 metres, which is about two football fields in length and up to four times more sensitive than any previous satellite-based fire detection system.

“This is just one way that Landgate is joining other agencies in helping to combat the threat of bushfire to the Western Australian community.”

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Country Assistant Commissioner Graham Swift said the development was a positive step in supporting the gathering of intelligence about fires.

“Fires can start without warning in unexpected and remote areas and it is a challenge to ensure that the thousands of fires that occur each season are identified, reported and tracked,” Assistant Commissioner Swift said.

“Having this data twice a day, is a step in the right direction and may help us identify more fires in the future before they become uncontrollable.

“Even with the very best technology in place, however, we expect a tough bushfire season this year and warn the community that in certain conditions fires can be simply unstoppable.

“We urge the community to ensure they are ready for a bushfire to occur in their area, visit the Are You Ready website and make a plan tonight to guide you and your family in the event of a fire.”

FireWatch Pro is the second generation of Landgate’s original FireWatch program and is Australia’s premier online bushfire information system.

It is primarily used by fire authorities in remote areas such as the Kimberley, Pilbara, Midwest-Gascoyne and Goldfields to track fires over vast geographical areas.

Landgate’s award winning Aurora website also provides emergency services with access to bushfire simulation maps and prediction tools.

For more information about how to prepare for bushfires, visit

Contact: Karen Waring, Media and Ministerial Adviser

Phone: +61 (0)8 9273 7514